NEWS

Hybrids Not as Environmentally Friendly as Thought

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A study by an Oregon automotive research company details vehicles’ energy costs per mile — from inception through production right to your garage. The results are surprising and could put a damper on environmentalists’ support of hybrids. Because the study takes into account every aspect of the production process, hybrids like the Honda Accord Hybrid have an energy cost of $3.49 per mile. Compare that to a regular Accord, at $2.18, or a Hummer H3, at $1.98, and that green vehicle taxes the environment more.

The study has actually been out for some time, but we hadn’t read it before and thought it might spark an interesting discussion.

Now, these results don’t impact mileage at all. Buyers looking to save at the pump get better mileage with efficient hybrids. This study simply highlights the hidden environmental impacts of these new technologies — mainly the additional batteries and electric motors a hybrid requires. Of course, over time — with more research and development — the environmental impact should decrease. For now, though, don’t be so quick to frown at the Hummer H3 driver next to you at the stoplight.

[Look Beyond Gas Mileage When Making an Environmental Choice, 37signals.com]

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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