Patterico's Pontifications

9/14/2010

Obama wants to grade your car and your lifestyle

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:28 am



[Posted by Karl]

The blogosphere was concerned with war-related issues during the past few weeks, but the federal leviathan grinds on along all fronts:

The government proposed labeling each new passenger vehicle with a letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions, part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to promote electric cars and other advanced-technology vehicles.

The proposed new rules, released jointly Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, would be the most substantial change in 30 years to the familiar price-and-mileage labels affixed to the windows of new cars at dealerships.

Currently, the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel cost. Under the proposed changes, a new label design would carry a large letter grade assigned by regulators.

Under the system, the only cars that would receive an A-plus, A or A-minus would be electrics and plug-in hybrids, the government said.

Even USA Today can see some of the problems with this proposal:

Why exactly would consumers want to accept some bureaucrat’s judgment about the best balance to strike between fuel efficiency and emissions? People’s priorities vary.

Assigning grades would be a departure from other government-mandated information practices. National Weather Service forecasts don’t come with value judgments. (Farmers might give a rainy day an A, golfers an F.) Nor do nutritional labels on food, or those useful new boxes on credit card statements showing how many decades it will take to eliminate your balance if you pay only the minimum.

In the case of cars, letter grades don’t necessarily reflect how a vehicle is used. An SUV that is consistently used to ferry around seven passengers can be more fuel efficient and traffic-friendly than a pair of sedans. So why should it automatically get a lower grade?

Indeed, why should green cars like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI get a lower grade?

Who benefits? Government Motors and their electric lemon, the Chevy Volt — “a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car.” Even in the Obama administration’s ill-advised (and thus seemingly politically-motivated) IPO, the US government is selling only enough equity to relinquish its controlling stake. That the EPA gives no weight to the purchase cost in its grading system tells you that the proposal is not about consumers making more informed choices. That the enviro-friendly Obama administration does not propose labels informing consumers of the environmental impact of the (typically coal-generated) electricity used to charge electric cars helps stack the deck further.

Of course, there is more than an exercise of shabby state corporatism at work here, as George Will noted last year:

For many generations—before automobiles were common, but trolleys ran to the edges of towns—Americans by the scores of millions have been happily trading distance for space, living farther from their jobs in order to enjoy ample backyards and other aspects of low-density living. And long before climate change became another excuse for disparaging America’s “automobile culture,” many liberal intellectuals were bothered by the automobile. It subverted their agenda of expanding government—meaning their—supervision of other people’s lives. Drivers moving around where and when they please? Without government supervision? Depriving themselves and others of communitarian moments on mass transit? No good could come of this.

In response, Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood admitted that the administration was indeed interested in coercing people out of their cars. This is a long-term project of the Left, but in the short-term it’s a (tail)pipe dream. The archetypal soccer mom is still going to buy a minivan, because her family needs it. Farmers and ranchers are still going to buy their pickup trucks, because they need them. In this larger context, the proposed labels are not grades so much as sneers directed at those who have escaped the heavy hand of the big city government machines.

–Karl

115 Responses to “Obama wants to grade your car and your lifestyle”

  1. Whether you drive a Hummer or a Prius, most of the pollution your car will produce was emitted before you bought it, during production. And this is much worse for cars requiring parts from all over the world and nasty battery materials.

    For this reason, an honest appraisal of emissions would rank cars with the batteries of a Prius or a Volt as F. They are bad cars.

    It’s obviously a coincidence that our government in invested in a Hybrid car maker that is about to launch, and changing our laws on car labeling at the same time the car is launched.

    It’s a complete coincidence that Toyota and Honda’s hybrids have been out there for a decade and this change in ratings wasn’t deemed necessary. Either that or our government is acting like a punk.

    I doubt GM will be making Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars, which function like a hybrid in that the hydrogen is like a battery, but without the pollution of a battery. Fuel cell cars show the inefficiency of the energy transfer instead of hiding it behind a production line and a toxic junk yard, but they are the future.

    And we’re setting ourselves up for a time when the more environmentally safe and efficient cars are rated worse than the less. Honestly, we’re already there.

    If you want to help the environment, but a used car instead of a new one. Fix your old car instead of replacing it. Even if it gets half the mileage (even if it got 1% of the miles per gallon!) you are saving the world from some pollution and waste.

    If our government was serious about the environment, they would simply stop manipulating the market, because the financial rewards for buying used line up very well with the societal benefits. That idiot with a shiny new Volt might look down on the older Civic in his neighbor’s yard, but that doesn’t make him any less an idiot.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  2. sorry ’bout this Barry, but i’ll buy whatever i damn well please, consistent with my needs, as I see them and with what I can afford to spend.

    you and the rest of the nagging nanny busybody socialist overseers can go attempt unprotected aerial intercourse with the rotating no fat, no sugar, low carb soy based rotating pastry of your choice.

    no love,
    America

    redc1c4, who won't be making the Dean's List (fb8750)

  3. Shorter trollish stalkerish thingies – Karl hates the environment, green jobs, American, women, children, old people, and minorities.

    JD (fbd113)

  4. Adding to Dustin’s comment, electricity does not magically come from the wall. Someone has to build a power plant and burn something (or let the electrons do their thing!)

    The emissions are simply shifted to other locations (where they pour in concentrated form out of smokestacks.)

    If environmental kooks are going to be running things around here for a while, we’re in for a long two years.

    ukuleledave (4e6cbb)

  5. On November 2nd, the American people will grade Obama on his performance so far.

    I predict he’ll get a “D”.

    MarkJ (42fe5b)

  6. I was 4-F cuz my feet are flat..and stinky

    pdbuttons (25ef24)

  7. My sentiments exactly, #2, redc1c4, except that if this proposal goes through, the next step will be to levy a huge tax on sub-A cars…say based on the sticker price. If that happens you won’t be able to afford a car that fits your needs.

    sam (1a8310)

  8. Whether you drive a Hummer or a Prius, most of the pollution your car will produce was emitted before you bought it, during production. And this is much worse for cars requiring parts from all over the world and nasty battery materials.

    For this reason, an honest appraisal of emissions would rank cars with the batteries of a Prius or a Volt as F. They are bad cars.

    Well, even granting your premise, an honest appraisal wouldn’t give a Prius or Volt an F. What would you give the Hummer? Production of a Prius creates less pollution than a Hummer, and then, once produced, it still is more environmentally friendly.

    That said, I don’t see the problem with giving customers some more information. Nobody will feel (or should feel) compelled to use it.

    Kman (d25c82)

  9. Haven’t there been numerous studies that show the environmental impact of the production of hybrids and electrics is actually much greater than evil combustion engine vehicles?

    JD (fbd113)

  10. When the government scores an “A” I’ll start taking their advise

    Neo (7830e6)

  11. Production of a Prius creates less pollution than a Hummer, and then, once produced, it still is more environmentally friendly.

    That’s not correct. Confirmed by various economic analysis, not your imagination, though.

    You just made that up because that’s what you want to be true. The hummer may be much larger than a Prius, but it doesn’t require products from all over the world to make, including some of the nastiest and environmentally damaging processes in car manufacturing today, and the enormous problem of eventual disposal.

    Sorry, but this ‘information’ is coming from the government, which is tilted to favor the Volt, not the environment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  12. JD

    Yes, there are significant problems with the extraction of the massive amounts of materials not normally used in car manufacutring –

    If production goes from small thousands to millions – the effects on mining techniques, disposals, lead , fluids, as well ae the labor to manually dissasemble the cars instead of crushing and melting in the scrapping process

    The latter has not been factored in

    grabbed this from some lefty

    Prius Versus Hummer: A Nickel for Your Thoughts:
    http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200711/…
    Battery Toxicity: http://www.hybridcars.com/battery-toxici…
    Hummer versus Prius: “Dust to Dust” Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science:
    http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_…
    Prius Versus HUMMER: Exploding the Myth:
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_New…
    Giving Directions: No, the Hummer Actually Isn’t More Energy Efficient Than A Prius, Let’s Put This “Debate” To Rest:
    http://www.betterworldclub.com/articles/…
    Heard the One About the Hummer?:
    http://www.toyota.com/html/dyncon/2007/s…

    Usually the mythic “article” from The Mail on the nickel in the hybrid cars’ NiMH batteries is quoted from a now retracted article. The retraction that clears up this bit of misinformation is at: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live…

    EPWJ the agast (17f94c)

  13. The hummer may be much larger than a Prius, but it doesn’t require products from all over the world to make, including some of the nastiest and environmentally damaging processes in car manufacturing today, and the enormous problem of eventual disposal.

    First of all, I’m not sure the video to which you link supports anything that you claim.

    Secondly, just because a Prius (or some other car) might require components “from all over the world” doesn’t make it more environmentally damaging over the life of the car in comparison to a Hummer using (you assume) domestically-made components.

    Thirdly and most importantly, the proposed rating is about fuel efficiency, which consumers might care about regardless of how much pollution was or wasn’t generated in the production of their car. The letter grade goes to issues beyond the environment, but also touches on issues such as dependence on foreign oil, as well as one’s own wallet.

    Kman (d25c82)

  14. Of course, my larger point is that the used car is drastically more environmentally sound than a Prius or a Volt or a new car that isn’t a hybrid.

    That’s the real ‘green’ option. Every single one of these new GM cars is more harmful to the environment than getting a used reliable car and keeping it fixed for a long time.

    And this hurts the bottom line for the UAW and Government owned GM, so they have to intrude into the marketplace and destroy the used car industry as much as they can, while spending wealth our nation doesn’t have to develop cars that make the environment worse but carry a neat A+ rating for the environment.

    If it were up to me, I’d just keep the government out of this matter. I’ve proven the ‘information’ they are giving us is actually not true, but if the government wanted to ensure the car purchaser had more information about the cars he is considering I would be OK with that to some extent.

    For example, they should know how much of our tax dollars went into the production of the car, and how much tax from profits the car company is contributing to America. You could give Toyota and Honda A+s and GM a huge red F.

    I think the financial benefits of a used car would be reflected in the pricetag, so long as Uncle Sugar stayed out of it, but a little information in the cost of making a new GM car would also be helpful info.

    On the other hand, it’s none of my business if someone wants to spend their money on a new car, even if it’s not the most efficient use of his money. That’s freedom. Both of my cars I bought new, because that’s what I like. It’s supposed to be a free country, not a country where the rulers lie to the people to get the results they like (better pensions for unions and more democrat contributions).

    I agree that phase two of this process will be to tax cars that don’t get these dishonest As. Likely democrats will moan that it’s not fair for people to have to pay extra for a hybrid that is really the ‘right’ choice. They decided it was right the same way kman did, but maybe we should just get these people out of the car business altogether.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. kman, if you want to actually back up your assertion, which has been refuted with evidence, you need some evidence other than ‘I’m not so sure’.

    You made a claim that just isn’t correct, and you’re not backing it up with anything.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  16. Secondly, just because a Prius (or some other car) might require components “from all over the world” doesn’t make it more environmentally damaging over the life of the car in comparison to a Hummer using (you assume) domestically-made components.

    Yeah it does.

    Since most of the pollution and environmental cost of a car is in production, not in its emissions.

    But I guess you’re just ignoring my entire argument. Bought a Prius, eh? Should have bought an old Civic if you gave a crap about poor Gaia.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. Dustin – That is only the tip of the iceberg with the huge batteries required, and the ongoing use of coal-fired electricity through the life of the car, replacement and disposal of batteries, etc … Plus, this trollish thingie seems to think that all Hummers get bad mileage. The H3 is not at all horrible, and from what I have seen/read, the Prius miles per gallon rarely meets their claims.

    JD (fbd113)

  18. “The government proposed labeling each new passenger vehicle with a letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions”

    OMG it looks like he wants to grade my car EVEN BEFORE IT IS MINE!

    “That the EPA gives no weight to the purchase cost in its grading system tells you that the proposal is not about consumers making more informed choices.”

    Something tells me that consumers are quite informed about the price of the car they are buying.

    “And long before climate change became another excuse for disparaging America’s “automobile culture,” many liberal intellectuals were bothered by the automobile. It subverted their agenda of expanding government—meaning their—supervision of other people’s lives.”

    Do people really imagine that suburbanization came despite of, rather than because of, policy decisions?

    imdw (53b665)

  19. That’s a good point, JD. I’m not mentioning the power going into plug in hybrids, but that’s a good point against the Volt and the Nissan blob car.

    Kman insisted a few facts. I want to see what evidence he has. He put scare quotes around my claim the Prius requires production processes all over the world (North America, Europe, Asia), and shipping for materials, and replacement of that huge battery, too. I’d like to see him show his evidence, but I know he just made that up.

    Further, Priuses often use more gasoline than other cars because they are driven more. Instead of taking the bus, or a planeride, someone takes the Prius. The MPG rating is a little deceptive. Each subsequent MPG number is less valuable than the one before. Gallons per mile tell a more accurate tale, but aren’t as good marketing. I’ve got a relatively big truck, and I consistently get 20MPG with it. That’s extremely efficient when you consider what the car is actually doing (not so great if I was just going to the mall, I admit).

    And I’ve seen tests putting a Prius on a track to drive hard… the car is less efficient in many driving conditions to a Toyota Corolla or a Camry.

    Anyway, I’m still waiting for Kman to show me his evidence that a Hummer is more damaging to produce than a Prius. That’s a complete fiction.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  20. Kman – What is your native language?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  21. Oh, it was because of bad policy decisions, to be sure.

    How many names have you used here, imdw? I am curious.

    Dustin – They also ignore usage, size, capacity, etc … Were a family to use 2 Prius instead of 1 SUV, any perceived positive effects would be more than negated.

    JD (fbd113)

  22. kman, if you want to actually back up your assertion, which has been refuted with evidence, you need some evidence other than ‘I’m not so sure’.

    “I’m not so sure” was my polite, respectful way of saying that a link to a Youtube video of some British TV chat show host quoting a stat from some unnamed and unknown study — followed by him saying “no, no, it’s true” — doesn’t strike me as very hard economic analysis “evidence”.

    The problem with making blanket statements like you do — as well as some of the studies that compare the environmental impact of hybrids vs. regular cars — is that they don’t include certain considerations. For example, if hybrids became wildly popular, the mechanisms used to mine minerals and transport components would become more streamlined, and not only lower costs to the manufacture but create a small environmental footprint (on a per car basis). For example, if hybrid cars became more popular, more factories might pop up closer to the sources of raw materials. So there’s a little guesswork in those kind of studies as well.

    I’ve proven the ‘information’ they are giving us is actually not true, but if the government wanted to ensure the car purchaser had more information about the cars he is considering I would be OK with that to some extent.

    Well, the information they intend to give is a bit more subjective, that’s true. But I still think it is helpful, and I understand where the notion comes from: the whole “MPG per city/highway” system is becoming increasingly outmoded as a consumer aid when it comes to car purchases.

    Kman (d25c82)

  23. So, we should make hybrids more popular by giving them “A’s”, tax breaks, and disincentives for buying evil combustion engines. Problem solved. My kingdom for an honest troll around here.

    JD (fbd113)

  24. Kman, let’s just go back to your initial claim. What was your evidence for that? I think you just want that to be true.

    Did you base your claim on something factual? Have you seen an analysis of the prius’s production cost compared to an SUV or any other car? What’s your source? Got a link?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  25. And Top Gear said the Prius is built by mining nickel in Canada, shipping that to Europe for refining, shipped to China to be made into a compound, and shipped to Japan. You say that’s not true because it was on youtube? Why?

    It’s the truth. I could post links to more detailed explanations, but the youtube link makes the case in a few seconds. You put in scarequotes my claim that he Prius’s production involves work all over the world. Why?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  26. “Oh, it was because of bad policy decisions, to be sure. ”

    Bad? I wouldn’t be so quick to give them a grade. But it was no accident.

    “Were a family to use 2 Prius instead of 1 SUV, any perceived positive effects would be more than negated.”

    So it looks like the problem is the grade won’t include lifestyle, unlike the headline states.

    imdw (150cd7)

  27. http://www.hummer.com is a fun site. I happen to love those trucks. Love ’em. The 2009 and 2010 Hummer H3 claims nearly 20 mpg on the highway, which is very competitive with vehicles in its class.

    JD (fbd113)

  28. imdw – How many names have you posted under?

    JD (fbd113)

  29. Another interesting point is that, while the grade for effeciency won’t take the size into account, for some dumb reason, the grade for crash safety does.

    I think F-150s, Accords, and Priuses should all be graded for crash safety on the exact same scale. Let consumers decide if gaining a few MPGs is worth putting their lives at risk. Consumers benefit from this information far more than they do from the Obama rating for lifestyle. In fact, I’ve seen reports that government intervention in efficiency has killed thousands of Americans in accidents they would have survived in heavier cars. I’ll post a link as soon as Kman backs up his original assertion.

    Let’s see how the Volt stacks up as a car, not as a political demand.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  30. You put in scarequotes my claim that he Prius’s production involves work all over the world. Why?

    They weren’t scare quotes. They were actual quotes. I recognize that components of Prius come from all over the world.

    But the notion that the environmental impact of the production of a Hummer is less than a Prius is ludicrous on its face. For one thing, the Hummer is a much bigger vehicle, requiring more steel, plastics, etc. Therefore, more mining, processing, etc.

    Kman (d25c82)

  31. “I think F-150s, Accords, and Priuses should all be graded for crash safety on the exact same scale. Let consumers decide if gaining a few MPGs is worth putting their lives at risk”

    Or conversely, putting other lives at risk. But maybe insurance companies already take that into account.

    imdw (0275b8)

  32. I was 4-F cuz my feet are flat..and stinky

    my feet were flat and stinky, so i went 11B.

    man up, buttercup.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  33. But the notion that the environmental impact of the production of a Hummer is less than a Prius is ludicrous on its face.

    So, you believe it to be true, therefore it is?

    JD (fbd113)

  34. “the mechanisms used to mine minerals and transport components would become more streamlined”

    Kman – Right, cuz nobody has every mined minerals or transported automotive components in any kind of mass quantities before?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  35. Or conversely, putting other lives at risk. But maybe insurance companies already take that into account.

    Comment by imdw

    Wow… a rare IMDW point that is on topic?

    Cool. I agree with your point. Insurance and even crash ratings should consider the risk to other cars.

    This is a two way street. I was hauling a half cubic yard of sand and was cut off by a Smart car that slammed on the brakes (they were trying to beat the light at a bad intersection). I think I came very close to killing the young lady driving the car. The risk to society of that move was similar to driving without a seat belt. People in little cars should be as responsible with the risk as people who drive commercial vehicles, for the same reason.

    An analysis of the risk from large vehicles would benefit everyone, and I believe it already has. Most large cars have crush zones that greatly improve the odds of surviving injury if your car is hit by one.

    A smart car has no crumple, but is rather designed like a very hard nut. If you’re hit by one at speed, your car will absorb far, far more energy than if you’re hit by a normal car.

    This is an exception to the rule, and I’m all for a fair analysis.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  36. Do people really imagine that suburbanization came despite of, rather than because of, policy decisions?

    morbid curiosity compels me to ask why you think suburbanization came about…

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  37. But the notion that the environmental impact of the production of a Hummer is less than a Prius is ludicrous on its face.

    It’s not. You’re completely wrong. Hummers may seem outrageous to you, but they are normal cars, similar to a truck or a Tahoe or a minivan in impact.

    The Prius is special, and you need to back up your repeated claim instead of just insisting you’re right. The reason you won’t is because you’re wrong. The reason you think the truth is ludicrous is that you have been misinformed by fake environmentalists. Perhaps when you realize just how disgusting a Prius really is, you will open your eyes and stop believing myths.

    In all honestly, the case for banning Priuses altogether is a lot stronger than the case for penalizing a car that gets a few MPGs lower than optimal.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  38. people should simply be told of the crash risks inherent in driving smaller vehicles, and then be allowed to decide which they value more; the cost of fuel or the increased risk of serious injury or death. insurance companies certainly do the calculations in deciding on policy rates. that’s shy different cars will have different rates for the same driver.

    even if we were to force all large cars off the roads, and somehow magically, the trucks too, there are still all the fixed structures, and those aren’t going anywhere. smaller = more risk.

    its basic physics, and even Ear Leader can’t ignore the laws of physics.

    look for yourself at the search results

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  39. Hummers may seem outrageous to you, but they are normal cars, similar to a truck or a Tahoe or a minivan in impact.

    The Prius is special, and you need to back up your repeated claim instead of just insisting you’re right. The reason you won’t is because you’re wrong. The reason you think the truth is ludicrous is that you have been misinformed by fake environmentalists.

    I’ve been misinformed by fake environmentalists that a Hummer contains far more raw materials — and therefore requires more raw materials extraction, processing, etc — than a Prius?

    No, I figured that one out all by myself.

    Kman (d25c82)

  40. I’ll tell you the truth, this doesn’t offend me very much. I mean they aren’t suddenly going to hide the mileage estimates from me, right? As long as I have that information what do I care if the government gives it a Grade A. When you plop down that much money, you are going to ask the dealer, “why does it get a grade A?”

    I think of all the things involved in the auto bailout boondoggle, this has to be the least boondogglish of it all.

    Call me crazy, but I am more concerned about sebelius’ recent thuggish comments. This is a knat of irritation.

    But I also think it is funny that Obambi apparently thinks that sticker price is irrelevant. Who here is shocked. And of course we the taxpayer are already paying a huge chunk of the cost for them. Every time someone buys a volt everyone else loses money.

    Dustin

    I always say, how smart are you if your car causes your brains to be splattered all over the place. You’ll never get me in one of those death traps.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  41. So, in order to maintain its position, kman simply ignores all evidence to the contrary, and changes the metric by which he measures his original statement. Now it is just talking about net raw materials, not environmental impact of production and operation, which conveniently leaves the eco-not-friendly batteries, their replacement and impact from disposal, and coal-fired electricity to charge the batteries out of the equation.

    JD (fbd113)

  42. “And of course we the taxpayer are already paying a huge chunk of the cost for them. Every time someone buys a volt everyone else loses money.”

    Wait till you read about the “voluntary export restrictions” negotiated back in the day.

    imdw (043f60)

  43. LOOK BUNNIES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    JD (fbd113)

  44. JD:

    So, in order to maintain its position, kman simply ignores all evidence to the contrary…

    “All the evidence”? A British chat show hosts from several years ago?

    Now it is just talking about net raw materials, not environmental impact of production and operation, which conveniently leaves the eco-not-friendly batteries, their replacement and impact from disposal, and coal-fired electricity to charge the batteries out of the equation.

    First of all, we’re talking about production, not “production and operation”. On the operation front, the Prius is the winner. I hope you can agree on that.

    Secondly, I don’t leave other factors out of the equation. I’m just saying that the Hummer, taking all into account, is more environmentally unfriendly to produce simply because it is a more massive vehicle. (And what — they don’t charge Hummer batteries before they put it on the lot?)

    Kman (d25c82)

  45. Do your fingers not work? There have been many studies that showed that electric battery hybrids have a greater impact than triaditional combustion engine vehicles. I think the original study compared a Prius and a Chevy Tahoe, which is bigger than the H3.

    Fist of all … what followed was unsubstantiated assertion, wishful thinking, and rank stupidity. If you do not know the difference between a battery in a combustion engine SUV and the type in a Prius, then you have no business carrying on in the manner in which you are.

    JD (fbd113)

  46. Kman, your latest isn’t a very honest way to describe my position or refute it, and it doesn’t justify your original assertion about impact.

    But if they were digging parts of hummers in various remote places, and shipping them several times around the planet, you would probably have a point.

    I’m still waiting for your evidence. by the tone you’re taking, it’s so ridiculous that a Prius would have more environmental impact than a Hummer that you should be able to prove your point really easily, and yet you refuse to show any evidence at all.

    A quick google of the issue showed me tons of articles explaining my point. And your modification of your argument mirrors a lot of the counter arguments (for example, ignoring production cost and focus just on gas, or pretending the cost will scale out instead of simply moving on to real environmentally friendly Hydrogen Fuel Cells).

    Regardless of why you won’t back up your initial claim, the truth is that you were wrong. A guy driving a Cherokee or an F-150 can rightfully look down on a Prius’s terrible impact on the environment. It’s even worse because of the piety mixed with hypocrisy. Prius drivers should have cared enough about their pet cause to do their homework rather than make a dumb fashion statement.

    And maybe some Prius drivers do not actually care about the damage to the environment, and are willing to screw the rest of us because they put so many miles on their car that they save money while looking hip.

    Well, I actually do care about minimizing the oil I consume, because of the war, so I did my homework before buying a car. That’s why I’m making points that aren’t being refutted, Kman.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  47. Since you are so intellectually incurious, and mendoucheous, I will help you out. Dust-to-dust studies.

    http://www.cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/

    JD (fbd113)

  48. btw, wholly apart from all that, you never buy a car in its first year of its model. you give it a few cycles, so they can iron out the kinks.

    anyone who knows about the full saga of passive restraints and the federal government will realize that government regulators are idiots who know nothing of the most rudimentary principles of the market.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  49. ” and therefore requires more […] processing, etc — than a Prius?

    No, I figured that one out all by myself.

    Comment by Kman “

    That says it all. You should have admitted that you made it up initially. A Prius requires more processing and different materials than a normal car does, no matter what you’ve figured out all by yourself. You sound like a global warming truther.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  50. “Hummer is a much bigger vehicle, requiring more steel, plastics, etc. Therefore, more mining, processing, etc.”

    Kman – You are aware of how much recycled steel we use these days, right, as opposed to the old methods of production of using iron ore, right? Where do the materials for the batteries in the Pruises come from? Is their production environmentally friendly?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  51. Dustin – isn’t that the “Top Gear” where they got better mileage out of an M3 than they did a Prius, pointing out the fact that it’s more how you drive, less what you drive?

    And I love that they decided on a “grading” system. Speaks to how they like to treat us like children, no?

    em (ae4747)

  52. [object] an article about the M3 vs. Prius test.

    em (ae4747)

  53. Geez…. you guys apparently think that the Prius is comprised ONLY from batteries.

    Yes, the battery from the Prius probably is more environmentally unsound, although as technology improves, so will our ability to recycle those batteries. But steel (recycled or otherwise), plastics, etc — these too are components of the Prius. And there’s a lot less of those materials than in a Hummer (which weighs 2.5 times a Prius).

    Kman (d25c82)

  54. I heard a discussion about the relative “pollution” footprint of the Prius … it does not come out well for the Prius lover. As I recall it was on par with well known eco-friendly products like the Ferrari and Lamborghini. But that was 6 months ago, perhaps things are different now. I seem to remember that the hummer was in that general range as well. Dustin’s sources agree with mine.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  55. I remember Bill Clinton once saying, “I give a hummer an A+. They are the best.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  56. Kman

    In a purchase of any asset from the early indutrial age to today

    There are several factora

    Price
    Why price – because an excessive price is also a drain on resources that were consumed to earn the funds to purchase the asset

    Materials
    To manufacture the asset

    Operations
    To operate the asset, a fossil fuel car uses much much more than its acquisition cost to maintain and operte the vehicle – so does the Prius, the conversion of the electrical grid that would be needed by the draining of its maxed out resources would be incalculateable – remember – its expensive to have excess resources – a factory isnt built to produce twice as many cars that are on order – neither are transmision grids – they just keep up with projected demand – the prius is not in their upgrade calculations – California and the east coast have experienced severe shortages – there is little excess capacity to deliver a stepped up country wide usage of electrical power in the short term

    Disposal
    Will be different, due to the high toxicity of the cells

    EPWJ inc (17f94c)

  57. Quasi:

    I heard a discussion about the relative “pollution” footprint of the Prius … it does not come out well for the Prius lover. As I recall it was on par with well known eco-friendly products like the Ferrari and Lamborghini. But that was 6 months ago, perhaps things are different now. I seem to remember that the hummer was in that general range as well. Dustin’s sources agree with mine.

    There was a “Dust To Dust” study in 2007-2008 which reached the conclusion that Priuses have a higher energy cost than Hummers over the life of a vehicle.

    Nobody has been able to replicate the study’s result in part because the people who did the study won’t reveal their methodology. However, it was based on some rather odd assumptions — like the notion that the life of a Prius is only 100,000 miles, while the life of a Hummer is 325,000 miles. I guess if you can play with the assumptions, you can make data look anyway you want it to.

    Anyway, it’s been largely responsible for creating the impression, rightly or wrongly, that Priuses are energy gobblers, or something.

    There are many who disagree.

    Kman (d25c82)

  58. Kman, you are AGAIN rephrasing the argument.

    The simple fact is that the Prius is more destructive to produce, and consumes more energy to produce, than a hummer. Your dust to dust comparison is also a good one, but that allows people like you to use whatever price for gasoline you want to justify the enormous deficit the car starts with. You’re wrong, and you admitted you made up your evidence.

    And your sources simply don’t say otherwise.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  59. “Nobody has been able to replicate the study’s result in part because the people who did the study won’t reveal their methodology.”

    Kman – That’s what the AGW supporters say!

    Can you stay around for awhile, it’s fun to have a new chew toy.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  60. “Speaks to how they like to treat us like children, no?”

    em – To them, we are, because they know what is best for us, whether we like it or not.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  61. What’s interesting is that Kman actually read and knows how terrible the Prius is for the environment at this point. He knows he’s been corrected and the way he was being informed was not a very good way.

    And yet he still wants these losers to keep on controlling the market.

    If the Prius (and we’re not really talking about the Prius, but the Volt, when we consider this stunt by the Admin, which will never give any Toyota product an A+) is a good buy, let Toyota explain that in their marketing. They did, people bought it, that’s the way it should work.

    Leave the feds out of this business. They are cheaters.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  62. I’m just saying that the Hummer, taking all into account, is more environmentally unfriendly to produce simply because it is a more massive vehicle. (And what — they don’t charge Hummer batteries before they put it on the lot?)
    Kman

    52.Geez…. you guys apparently think that the Prius is comprised ONLY from batteries.
    Yes, the battery from the Prius probably is more environmentally unsound, although as technology improves, so will our ability to recycle those batteries. But steel (recycled or otherwise), plastics, etc — these too are components of the Prius. And there’s a lot less of those materials than in a Hummer (which weighs 2.5 times a Prius).
    Comment by Kman

    Not sure if you really aren’t understanding or purposefully being stubborn and difficult.

    The point is you can’t assume anything just because one car is bigger than the other. The entire issue with the “conservatives are stuppid, anti-sceyence” stuff is that it’s the libs/dems that refuse to be fair minded and demand legitimacy in the details.

    Bothering to mention Prius batteries and Hummer batteries in the same sentence reveals there is more you need to learn about battery technology, mining practices, and a few other things.

    High performance batteries are not cheap and rely on specific materials not as common as steel for cars or lead as in old batteries. All you have to do is realize it costs $200 or more to buy a battery to keep your laptop computer running all day. And physically moving even a small car with one light passenger is a lot more work than pushing electrons around a circuit at low voltage.

    A huge problem with cost analyses, be it with cars, healthcare, or whatever, is whether the accounting is truly representative of the big picture. The big picture includes not only the use of an item, and not only the manufacture and use, but the manufacture, use, and disposal, and secondary unintended consequences of the above- such as your flex-fuel car increasing the use of American corn for alcohol that raises world corn prices that worsens hunger in Mexico when you can’t buy tortillas and increases CO2 levels, if they really were a problem, by deforestation in Brazil by people growing corn for alcohol as well, or corn or other grains for food because of the increased prices the market will bear.

    Like the big claims of how wonderful CF light bulbs are because they last longer than others. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but about 6* months after you can’t find an incandescent light bulb anymore there will be the big announcement of how dangerous the mercury contamination of landfills will be because of all of the CF bulbs and what new initiative will be needed at some big price tag to deal with that new problem.

    *6 months is just a guess. A real entreprenaur would set up odds and put it through Vegas, a new form of “energy futures market”.

    The real problem is when the demand that those letter grades become part of the license plate, so everybody can boo and his and throw things at your car that is only a B- or below. But if you try to put letter grades on cars because of safety issues, you will be called a fear-monger and an electrophobe and a new technology hater, you bad, bad people you.

    Bicycles will be given a “B”, because a person riding a bicycle works harder and breathes out more CO2 than someone sitting in a Volt. Of course, if anyone would ever take into account all of the CO2 in the form of hot air expended in trying to promote the Volt, it would never stand a chance of getting by the EPA.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  63. Guys,

    This is just how Kman is. a completely dishonest person. i think he is one of those oddballs who likes to get beat up on. it like gives him a freaky thrill. Best to do what i do and ignore him.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  64. #

    [object] an article about the M3 vs. Prius test.

    Comment by em — 9/14/2010 @ 1:23 pm

    That was a hell of a good link! I never watch Top Gear anymore, but it’s entertainment. I can only imagine how much better an Accord or Camry would have performed compared to the Prius. It’s amazing anyone buys that contraption.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. Obama can grade my car if I get to grade his date-nights, dinner parties, and recreational time, or any one of the three, actually. I don’t need to take a helicopter to go on a date with my wife, I don’t need to fly somewhere to use up land that would be better used for growing food or trees that can absorb more CO2 and contribute more O2 than grass, not to mention the fancy fertilizers and weed killer to maintain those “greens”. And I don’t need to sacrifice Black Sea sturgeon and fly in entertainment from England. But then again, I’m just a US citizen, not the emperor.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  66. Well said, MD. They don’t really act like this is a crisis. They act like they want to sell as many Volts as possible by lying.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  67. Don’t know when this first appeared in the WSJ, but I recall reading a Letter to the Editor on either 9/2, or 9/4, stating that if the Govt was going to grade cars, the writer (a woman) would prefer a Grade-D Ferrari!

    AD - RtR/OS! (d1a4d7)

  68. “And I don’t need to sacrifice Black Sea sturgeon and fly in entertainment from England. But then again, I’m just a US citizen, not the emperor.”

    And you clear your own brush too!

    imdw (043f60)

  69. We rented a “full size” car the other day, and it was a … Toyota Camry! Since when were such cars “full size”? I admit to doing this comparison in a bit of a timewarp, having a year ago spent a lot of time driving my dad’s 1998 Buick Roadmaster (which was the size of auto we expected.) It’s a good thing we left the golf clubs at home, as well as the dress-up clothes (for the four of us.)

    As far as I’m concerned, any car that doesn’t provide at least 40″ of seating headroom in all four seats, and leg room for someone with a 36″ inseam, gets a “F” for fail.

    The scheme will be ignored by customers until the additional taxes and rebates arrive.

    htom (412a17)

  70. Sooner or later, expect them to propose disease-riddled skull stickers for cars, like they did for cigarettes on “Thank You For Smoking”.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  71. htom, rental companies are the absolute worst. Camry’s a mid size (described as a wide body mid-size). It and the Accord have grown and grown over the years, but they are not cruisers.

    And I like that size, but there aren’t that many good competitors for the kind of car you want. Sadly, the government has involved itself in such a way that cars with the room you want are now mostly SUVs. The nice cruising Station Wagon is less efficient than a lighter mid-size, but it’s much better than many on-road-only SUVs that people buy now.

    Lucky for you, Buicks last if you take care of them.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. From imdw’s original comment:

    Something tells me that consumers are quite informed about the price of the car they are buying.

    No doubt, but the Heritage link (which you apparently chose not to read) discusses the gov’t failure to include purchase cost in its environmental assessment. It points out that even if you buy AGW concerns, the Prius still ends up more costly than a Ford Focus.

    Karl (f07e38)

  73. the Prius still ends up more costly than a Ford Focus.

    It was kinda annoying that the Prius is struggling to show is environmental benefit over extreme cases like a Hummer. Comparing to a Focus just makes me feel sorry for it. Let alone comparing it to buying a nice used compact car.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  74. Thanks Dustin – “Top Gear” humor makes life married to a gear head, while raising two gear heads, tolerable. That, and Car and Driver writers.

    Em (251e40)

  75. “No doubt, but the Heritage link (which you apparently chose not to read) discusses the gov’t failure to include purchase cost in its environmental assessment”

    So the consumer is the one that decides how to balance cost and the environment? That doesn’t seem like a “failure” to me.

    Or do you think the government should publish a ‘bang for your buck’ kind of assessment (like food on the store shelves has a ‘per oz’ price) ?

    Is price included in safety ratings?

    imdw (ce700c)

  76. imdw – How many names have you posted under? When do you plan on writing a non-mendoucheous comment?

    JD (814902)

  77. The whole point of the TEA Party, is that Govt shouldn’t be doing a lot of this.
    And, IIRC, the safety ratings are concocted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an NGO, and price (repair costs) is included in some of their ratings.
    And, you’re still a maroon!

    AD - RtR/OS! (d1a4d7)

  78. Or do you think the government should publish a ‘bang for your buck’ kind of assessment (like food on the store shelves has a ‘per oz’ price) ?

    Is price included in safety ratings?

    Comment by imdw

    Ah democrats. They just don’t get it at all.

    If people simply review the safety of the cars itself, they will demand more of the safer cars, sending its price up. That will lead to companies making safer cars, up to a point where the consumer doesn’t think the price justifies the control of the risk of a crash.

    The idea of the government just slapping a bang for buck on the car doesn’t make any sense, since the price changes all the damn time. When Toyotas seemed unsafe, thanks to a VERY dishonest US Government / Government Motors stakeholder, Toyota reduced the price instantly. That’s the real reason the Feds have shut up about it. They never cared that Toyotas are very safe, now or then, but Toyota fighting that hard takes all the potential profit out of GM, too.

    Democrats never get this crap. They pose as experts because they are compensating.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  79. I think I would give this Idea an unqualified F

    Quickly followed by an enthusiastic U

    Karl (f0c487)

  80. The only thing I can think of, that could be helpful, is a 75% cut in the federal budget.

    tarpon (0d210f)

  81. Kman, do you have any clue what the lifespan of a Prius battery pack is?

    Further, do you have any clue what the winter penalty on a Prius’ gas mileage is?

    The Prius is a misnamed, it should be named the Pious. Its a religion and a fraud, not a real environmentally improved car.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  82. SPQR: I can’t comment about the Prius. My husband’s civic hybrid battery failed at ~130K miles.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  83. rental companies are the absolute worst

    I regularly request a compact car when I rent; I don’t need a large car, prefer driving something small (and therefore easy to manuever in unfamiliar tight spaces), and don’t want to have to suck down lots of gas.

    I have never actually gotten a compact car. They always upgrade me to something, for free, because they have no compact cars when I go to retrieve my reservation.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  84. Those Civic hybrids were ahead of their time. Honda didn’t really move backwards… they simply resolved to pursue hydrogen instead. I expect that strategy to pay off big, but not for another several years.

    The real problem with the Civic is that it just looks like a normal car. The car has to justify itself in actual results without the bonus of being obviously hybrid from a mile away so all the neighbors know.

    I do not mind if someone wants one of these hybrids, but I think they are bad cars. Freedom to buy a bad car is something I have exercised in the past, and I wouldn’t take that experience away from anyone else.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  85. aphrael, if the battery was out of warranty, I bet he got raped on the replacement cost.

    The reality is that the most fuel efficent car out there last time I checked was a diesel VW Golf.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. SPQR – the battery was still in warranty. California has a 10 year / 150K mandated warranty on the battery.

    problem with the Civic is that it just looks like a normal car

    that’s not a problem; it’s a feature. 🙂

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  87. aphrael, I like to get a tiny car too when I rent.

    Living with a car like this, over time, is a challenge for me. I keep things in my car, and I transport people and lots of stuff all the time. When it’s not a car I have to live with, a nice efficient little car is the perfect way to sight-see a city.

    What’s a shame is that it’s hard to rent a convertible. Only time I’ve ever been able to is at LAX. Another car type I don’t want to live with, but is fun for touring.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  88. Dustin: one year I was flying into Dallas on Thanksgiving day. There was, as there often is, a Cowboys’ game.

    It was snowing as we landed.

    They offered us our choice of upgrade:

    * pickup truck
    * convertible
    * PT cruiser.

    Not wanting to put our bags in the bed of a pickup while it was snowing, and not wanting a convertible while it was snowing, we picked the PT Cruiser.

    Most. Uncomfortable. Car. I. Have. Ever. Driven.

    never again!

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  89. They offered us our choice of upgrade:

    * pickup truck
    * convertible
    * PT cruiser.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    oh, that had to be a funny moment at the counter. I don’t get how the Element can be such a good car (and ugly) while the PT Cruiser can be so bad, but I’ve been in both and their seeming similarity is just not.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  90. “The idea of the government just slapping a bang for buck on the car doesn’t make any sense, since the price changes all the damn time.”

    Indeed. All the more reason why the grade can’t include the purchase cost.

    “aphrael, I like to get a tiny car too when I rent.”

    One summer i walked into a car rental place and asked for their cheapest car — they replied “cheapest or smallest.” Turns out it was during one of those gas price spikes and the cheapest was the SUV, then next the sub-compact.

    imdw (7b0243)

  91. Actually, aphrael, that the hybrid Civic looked like a normal car was a “bug” for its sales. Didn’t give out enough “Smug Mobile” vibe for its potential purchasers.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  92. Bug for the sales, perhaps. But in my mind it’s a feature; running around bragging about how much good you’re doing is a fool’s game.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  93. no: all this green nonsense and building hybrids is the fool’s game.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  94. We were going to buy the Lexus hybrid SUV until we saw the difference in the price tag. No thanks. Pand Lexus has a pretty sporty hybrid SUV, you would never know it was a hybrid, until you drive the non-hybrid.

    JD (74f504)

  95. Redc1c4: I don’t have a strong opinion about hybrids per se. I do have a strong opinion about SULEV and PZEV vehicles – reducing emissions is a good thing.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  96. Drill baby, Drill!

    No reason for gas prices to be this high.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  97. I laugh at the hybrids while I speed past them in my S550 spewing out CO2.

    HeavenSent (e230a5)

  98. How much CO2 did it take to take the Obama’s Chef up to Martha’s Vineyard?

    Did Propeller Head go lay an organic reef at Chappaquiddick in honor of poor Mary Jo? She died to defend St Ted and his dream of Universal Health Care ya know…..

    HeavenSent (e230a5)

  99. did it take = was created

    HeavenSent (e230a5)

  100. Colonel wish he had dollar for every time he see
    Toyota Pious hauling ass at ninety miles per hour on Interstate 5!

    ColonelHaiku (3ec9fa)

  101. #100, You mean 90 KM per hour.

    HeavenSent (e230a5)

  102. Like I said, my full size truck gets 20 MPG. That’s awesome. My (old and unprestigious) 7 series got a little better than half that. I have no problem with the amazing advances in efficient use of fuel.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  103. I honestly expect that biofuels will eventually make this debate a non – starter in the near future. They just announced that they’re able to convert switchgrass at a cost of $2.49/Gallon, and the energy required to produce it is minimal enough to make it carbon – neutral. Only problem now is large – scale production and distribution, big obstacles right now.

    One thing we can all agree on is that the ratio of douchebags – to – driver is equal between Hummers and the Prius. Just kidding (well, sort of).

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  104. This is in keeping with the progressive and Obama administration tactic of “nudging” citizens through subtle and not subtle value proclamations by the all knowing ideologues and DC bureaucrats. One of Obama’s advisers stated that the government can make people tow the line through constantly reframing their existence and “showing them the right way” to go.

    Good lord where is the line going to drawn with these people?

    in_awe (44fed5)

  105. So a car gets an Aplus or Aminus if it can only drive thirty miles on a charge and deposits enough lead and toxic chemicals in the earth to last hundreds of years. What a crock.

    eaglewingz08 (74f660)

  106. Good lord where is the line going to drawn with these people?

    Question for you: what line?

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  107. 1st step is to grade them, 2nd step will be to tax them according to grade. You heard it here first.

    Gerald A (49354f)

  108. Better start buying some “F” cars, as there is a chance we’ll need the extra CO2 in the atmosphere soon

    SPQR (26be8b)

  109. SPQR, thanks for that interesting link.

    I don’t know if you followed the comments to it. There are some diehard AGW who still think those who doubt are anti-science mystics from the dark ages.

    There are posts from this fellow: Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo, a good one is:

    Thanks for having the courage to present this news story on Earth’s heat source – the Sun.

    I am especially pleased to see that a solar physicist with the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama [Dr. David Hathaway] is now aware of the Sun’s influence on Earth’s ever-changing climate.

    and

    …, I recently requested the resignation of the editor of Nature for promoting three falsehoods as scientific facts:
    Falsehoods:
    1. Man-made CO2 induced global warming.
    2. Earth’s heat source is well-behaved H-fusion reactor.
    3. Fusion powers the Sun and is our best hope for meeting future energy needs.
    Scientific Facts:
    1. Earth’s heat source is a variable star [Energy & Environ 20 (2009) 131-144]: arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704
    2. Space-age measurements showed that “The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass” [Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856]: arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0609509
    3. Neutron repulsion supplies most of the Sun energy [“The Sun’s origin, composition and source of energy”, Lunar & Planet. Sci. Conf. XXXII (2001) paper 1041] and is a far greater source of nuclear energy than H-fusion [“Neutron repulsion” (2010) manuscript under review].

    (I have no clue what “neutron repulsion” is, unless it has to do with neutrons with charmed quarks finding those without charmed quarks repulsive- IOWWOMH*)

    And there was this by somebody else:
    The overwhelming evidence of global warming is 1/2 degree F in 150 years. Yawn.

    *IOWWOMH- In Other Words, Way Over My Head

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  110. quarks are cool. What a great word.

    JD (8ded14)

  111. @dmac

    Question for you: what line?

    Oh, I dunno – maybe the Constitutional one that limits the role of the federal government. I have searched through that quaint old document and just can’t see where either elected or appointed bureaucrats are entitled to manipulate the American people to satisfy some inner urge to control society.

    in_awe (44fed5)

  112. I know my brother would agree with you here, but I’m not sure that’s accurate in all cases

    Tad Villalovos (c0997d)

  113. Yeah, definitely. I’ve been there and done that and can tell you from first hand experience that this is true.

    Spencer Moulds (3ab2aa)

  114. Well who’s to say they’re wrong? Seems like a matter of opinion to me.

    Money Slave (850f89)


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