A road map to climate friendly cars

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    I just ran across this nice little map showing whether, in your locale, a pure-electric, or, hybrid, is better for the environment. I haven't checked their methodology, but, based on the map, the states where hybrids are better use a lot of coal for electricity generation. Makes sense.


    The only thing that seems odd about it is that the two ownership options are "50,000 miles" and "100,000 miles". No "150,000 miles"? Since 1984-1985, when they finally figured out how to do low-emissions correctly, every car I have owned has gone at least 150,000 miles before wearing out.
  2. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

    Aug 11, 2008
    How about you stop telling me what kind of car I can drive/what is "good" for me. Thanks.
  3. Dulcimer macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    That's the kind of selfish and arrogant attitude that screwed the planet for the next generation.
  4. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Reading comprehension isn't one of your strong points is it? Nobody told you to do anything.


    Great article, thanks. An alternative to charging electric cars from dirty power is to charge at home with solar, or to buy your electricity from a green supplier.
  5. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    How about you understand that it's not all about you. Thanks.
  6. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Please supply quote indicating where you were "told what kind of car" you can drive and what is "good" for you.

  7. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Would you have said the same thing in 1910 about your horse and carriage? Methinks you are a member of the "Know Nothing" party.
  8. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030


    Sep 11, 2006
    Sacramento, CA USA
    Actually, today's gasoline (petrol) and diesel fueled automobiles are WAY more friendly to the environment, thanks to modern fuel delivery systems, better valvetrain design, computerized engine controls and improved exhaust systems. It's these vehicles that meet the American EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 standard that explains why the air in Los Angeles is vastly cleaner in 2013--extreme smog alerts, which were common in Los Angeles during the summer, are rare nowadays.

    Now, if we can just get the City of London to start cleaning up the diesel exhaust from their double-decker buses and taxicabs....
  9. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    You're one of 7 billion. It's not all about you.
  10. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    Fact: most hybrid and electric vehicles today will not pay off economically.

    Until that changes, I'm going to stick with conventional.
    Blame it on the government, if you will.

    But please, don't charge me for the "privilege" of saving the planet.

  11. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

    jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    So, according to this article, the hybrid "premium" ranges from -$1415 (yes, the hybrid is cheaper for the Buick Lacrosse) to $0 (that's right- the Lincoln MKZ hybrid is exactly the same price as its conventional twin), to +$6160 for the Lexus RX450h. The median seems to be about +$2600 or so.


    Most hybrids will be at least 10 mpg better than conventional on average -- much more for stop-and-go driving. At $4/gallon and 15,000 mi/year, that is going to be around 250 gallons/year = $1000. So, it will pay for itself in 2 1/2 years or so. If you know your own driving profile and what type of car you would buy, look at the article and figure your own numbers.

    How about if you can "save the planet" with a payback of less than three years? Does that work for you?
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    The last time I read a "real-world" study of this - which admittedly was several years ago - that figure is optimistic. The study I read had a Honda Civic hybrid performing about 4.5 mpg better than the conventional engine model and a Honda Accord hybrid only about 2 mpg better than its conventional counterpart. Again, I'm talking about real-world testing, not what the EPA or the sticker on the window says. And like I said, that study is old by now, I'm sure.

    The end result was that at the time, there was no hybrid that would ever financially pay for itself over the life of the vehicle - even if you drove it for 15 years or so, the replacement of the main batteries would offset any savings you might eventually make up in that time.

    Perhaps hybrids have gotten better since then, but I'd like to see another "real world" test rather than hypothetical numbers.
  13. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    The last I read a couple years back it the hybrids couldn't beat VW diesels. US VW diesels aren't as efficient as their European counterparts. Hybrid has always been a bridge technology, diesel and bio diesel should be the bridge technology.
  14. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    So, I sometimes travel quite a bit on business, and, San Francisco has an ordinance requiring taxis to convert to hybrids (or CNG).


    The taxi drivers have more experience with side-by-side comparisons than anyone, and, I have asked a number of them about it. They all love hybrids. In stop and go driving, which is most of what they do, it makes a huge difference in cost. One of the drivers gave me detailed numbers (which I don't recall); he said they are all aware of the numbers because it directly affects their bottom line. The reason the difference is so large is that in stop-and-go driving, conventional cars are often much worse than their EPA ratings.

    Moral of the story: if all of your driving is on the highway, it won't make much difference for many models. But, most people do a lot more city/stop-and-go driving than they like to admit, and depending on how much you do, it can make a very large difference.
  15. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Having driven a Prius before...no thanks. I wouldn't want a hybrid if you gave it to me for free.

    There are plenty of cars out there that get decent gas mileage and aren't a complete bore to drive.
  16. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    I drove my mother's Prius for about a week in the city, and I was getting around 50+ mpg, which is a bit better than what she normally gets with it. Compared to my Focus, which gets about 30 or less on a good day in city driving, that is a pretty huge improvement, it could pay for itself for me in rather short order.

    I have heard somewhere that if we replaced the lion's share of our traffic lights with roundabouts, we could see a net improvement in fuel usage as much as 40%, so there are ways of making things better besides just making more efficient cars (and roundabouts, scary as they can seem, are safer than open intersections).
  17. lannister80 macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2009
    Congratulations on being short-sighted and selling out future generations so you can save a few bucks.
  18. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    I've found that people in North America don't really comprehend roundabouts. One was put in near my house last year and I still see people either just flying into it without checking both sides or stopping unnecessarily.
  19. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    He has a very good point, as electric and Hybrid cars have very low numbers of production, they don't make sense for most people.

    Owning a Hybrid car? Or Putting food on the table? Not a hard choice.

    Added to the fact that most hybrid and electric cars have MASSIVE carbon footprints due to the toxic battery in most of them.

    The only electric car maker that has any hope is Tesla, if their innovations in battery tech and drive ably make it to most major car makers, they'll be able to change a whole lot of things.
  20. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    It's unusual to find a single design that solves every problem, so I'm not sure why every argument about cars goes toward discovering the one true automobile that will work for everyone.

    Ideally, we get to test different technologies to see which can work best in cooperation with a sea-change in energy development and distribution and in the needs of modern car owners.

    For instance, the Volkswagen XL1 is a plug-in diesel hybrid. It's a limited production vehicle, but we could see some version of this vehicle on future roads.

    In the Ariz. desert, a plug-in hybrid combined with a solar array would produce nearly free energy, but I wouldn't expect that same system to work for a truck driver in Barrow.

    The aim should be to find best of breed technologies, not some unworkable silver bullet.

    And, as for the Know-Nothing crowd. The same technological pressure has given you safer trucks with more powerful engines and muscle cars with faster 0-60 times. So, stop flipping out the minute someone mentions fuel efficiency guidelines.
  21. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Times have changed. The Prius was the third most popular car worldwide in 2012:


    True of any new car. I normally buy used cars. Note that in an article cited previously, the premium for a hybrid is much lower now than it used to be and will typically pay for itself in less than 3 years (assuming you do city driving).

    Every new car has a carbon lien against it. As shown in the article, it is worth it for most hybrids that are driven 50,000 miles. By the way, am I the only person here who drives cars for 10-12 years and 150,000 miles?

    I am perfectly content with boring cars myself; I express myself in other ways than my driving. But, for those who can't live without acceleration, the 85 KWH Tesla model S performance model does 0-60 in 4.2 seconds.
  22. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    hybrids are only good for city driving, and even then only if you drive like 30,000 miles per year. highway they are about the same as other cars
  23. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Is it just me, or did anyone else read this with a grumpy old man voice in your head? :D
  24. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Aug 17, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013

    jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Sorry, I'm not sure exactly what you are saying, or, where "only" fits in? If, as you say, hybrids are good for city driving, and, they are also good at highway driving ("about the same as other cars") then, it is all good, right?

    Here is a chart at Consumer Reports that has both EPA city and highway mileage. There are hybrids near the top of both charts. There are also lightweight diesels (e.g. Passat TDI) near the top of the highway chart, making a lightweight diesel a good choice for people who drive long distances across Nevada or Kansas. Unfortunately, most people spend most of their time in cities, stop and go, or, just, stopped, using 0.5-1.0 gallons per hour just sitting there moving very slowly.




    Edit: We all know that EPA estimates often don't match reality, especially the city estimates. CR does its own fuel economy testing. Here is a comparison showing some of the numbers for cars that don't match the EPA ratings very well. The headline is about how Ford handled the C-Max numbers, although apparently lots of other companies have done the same (perfectly legal) thing over the years (lumping similar models together with significantly different weight/drag, using formulas rather than testing):


    Interestingly, in real life, many vehicles, including VW TDI models, although they have worse city mileage, have better highway mileage in CR's tests than the EPA numbers.
  25. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    As a general rule, most people don't take good care of their cars and many people are under the impression that when the car hits a certain mileage that is reliability goes to crap. If you are getting 150k+, it means you are probably researching which cars are most mechanically sound and you maintain the vehicle to keep it in optimal condition. A lot of people don't even do things like using the correct fluids or abiding by service intervals. I do 20-25k service intervals on my cars between changing oil...most people don't even realize petrol vehicles can do that, let alone that the oil I use greatly slows the most common wear that cause major component failure on GDI engines and it equates to half the cost of more frequent changes. The internet has helped some, but all sorts of idiocracy exists surrounding correct vehicle service. From both an economical versus environmental standpoint, if people took certain actions, it would be a win-win in that they would reduce waste and save money.

    I'd be interested to see how standard high-efficiency cars compare on the list...I think it would help a lot more people looking to purchase environmentally-friendly vehicles, but are looking for petrol/diesel. There are quite a few cars now that are traditional petrol but getting over 40mpg with low emission output...some of which you can buy new for under 10 grand (add a few for an auto transmission and more basic options). For many (myself included), they are more economical in that their base prices are often significantly lower, there is more selection, and there are a lot of options in which the cars get free service through 100k+.

    Also, I'd like to see many of the high-efficiency diesel cars, too. While they may produce slightly more emissions, the service life of high-efficiency diesel engines often means vehicles that last longer, potentially avoiding waste production which may very well make them the most environmentally friendly. Most of the vehicles you hear about with 400, 500, 600k+ are diesel...hypothetically that means less waste producing a new vehicle, and less landfill waste and energy needed to dispose/recycle/transport/maintain waste.

    My biggest reservation with electric/hybrid-electric would be the limitations we have with battery technology. Until battery technology hits a point in which batteries become less toxic, higher capacity relative to size, lighter, more recyclable, and with longer service lives, they are a pretty big waste issue. They are also a cost issue. Most batteries today range from pretty toxic to incredibly toxic. And while lithium cells have come a long way, we have quite a ways to go and issues like those with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner show that even the new LiFe PO batteries still have some major service issues. While more of a service issue than a safety one thanks to polymer encasement, they are generally expensive to service and it is difficult to predict their service lives given they are exposed to the conditions that batteries tend to despise on a frequent basis.

    I also think traditional petrol engines can become many fold more efficient...the amount of energy that a gallon of gasoline contains is just absolutely incredible and we can use that energy better. Christian von Koenigsegg builds the fastest car in the world...it can go over 270 MPH. What is most incredible tho is the efficiency his engines have obtained. He believes standard gasoline cars should be able to get over 500 miles to a single gallon...part of the reason he has explained is because the ability of our current cars to convert potential energy into actual energy is surprisingly inefficient. And when I say "surprisingly inefficient", would you believe me if I told you most gasoline cars lose around 80% of the energy that gasoline makes? (diesel is a bit better but still the loss is huge!) They laughed at him when he said he would produce the world's fastest car as some novice from Sweden in a barn couldn't beat out major corporations with so much more funding. He did. He now owns a successful supercar company and that barn is now an airfield with a huge factory, and he is considered to be one of the top minds in the world of car and has numerous patents on new types of technology. So they stopped laughing... And if he says a car can get 500 MPG, I take that to be fact. But more importantly than anything else, awesome would it be to drive from DC to CA and back to DC without filling up?

Share This Page