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Clean diesel vs Hybrid research paper complete with sources of info

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by quadracer1014, Nov 23, 2009.

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  1. quadracer1014

    quadracer1014 New Member

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    Ryan C. Ronning
    AXIA College


    July 10, 2009


    How Green Is Your Machine?
    Canvas shopping bags and recycling centers. Wind turbine farms dominating ridgelines across America. Clothing made from recycled plastic bottles. Compact fluorescent light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. Energy Star appliances and recycled toilet paper. Al Gore winning a Nobel Prize for his work on raising the awareness about global warning. Bamboo “hardwood†floors. Refurbished appliances, thrift store clothing, used DVDs and CDs, and swap meets. Websites dedicated to green living, sustainable lifestyles, and organic foods.
    Truly, the green movement has become the dominant story of the first decade of this century. One cannot turn on the television without seeing commercials touting the “green†attributes of a product or promoting an anti-consumerism lifestyle while still encouraging consumerism. Beyond peradventure, the most dominant aspect of the green movement has been the large scale introduction of hybrid vehicles and their unquestioned acceptance by the media and mainstream society as a de facto symbol of the green movement. After all, what better poster child for the green movement than the second most valuable personal possession one can have? But, what if these symbols of green living are not the earth friendly saviors the media hype has portrayed them to be? Is it possible that popular hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid are not the best choices for either the environment or the consumer pocketbook? Are there better choices that have been overlooked by the media?


    By now, most people have been in at least one friendly discussion with someone over the influx of hybrid cars into the U.S. market and the truth is that hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular and politically correct. Undeniably, hybrid owners are enjoying some perks that traditional car owners can only dream about. For example, hybrid cars are permitted in the HOV lanes in both Arizona and California during rush hours even if there is only the driver in the car. Furthermore, across the country, hundreds of premium parking spaces are being reserved for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Likewise, there have often been impressive tax incentives to purchase hybrids. All these factors, as well as the certain smugness and air of superiority shared by hybrid owners, have been given ample coverage in mainstream media. What the media has failed to acknowledge on a wide scale are the problems associated with both the production and ownership of the traditional gasoline hybrids. These problems include the increased carbon footprint of production and the higher purchase pricing that effectively cancels out the savings gained through fuel economy. Yet, these problems need to be addressed and considered by anyone looking to purchase an environmentally friendly car in 2009. This is especially true considering the fact that the VW Jetta TDI --- a diesel car --- was named the 2009 Green Car of the Year (Green Car Journal Editors, 2008).


    To begin the discussion, it is important to properly define the term “hybridâ€. The eco-friendly hybrid vehicle technology of today contains a wide array of gasoline, electric, diesel, batteries, natural gas, flex-fuel, and bio-diesel configurations (Silke-Carty, 2009). However, the most commonly sold, environmentally friendly, personal vehicle in the United States is the gasoline hybrid vehicle such as the Prius, Civic Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid (Grusche, 2009). Although these cars rely on different types of drivetrains to create the gasoline and battery combination power, they are still similar enough in design to be considered as a group (Hybrid vehicle drivetrains, n.d.). Therefore, for simplification, all gasoline and battery power hybrids regardless of drivetrain will be called “hybrids†for the remainder of this discussion. Likewise, while all diesels are capable of using bio-diesel which makes them hybrids by default, for the purpose of this discussion, they will be considered only as diesel vehicles (Worley, 2006). However, it may be doubly important to remember the hybrid quality also when evaluating the overall greenness of the diesel car.


    When the Prius and similar hybrids hit the markets, there were facts missing about some not-so-earth-friendly problems these cars possess. For example, because hybrid cars involve new technologies, they “leave greater pollution when they are created primarily because of the extra components required in manufacturing†them (Hybridcarstrucksvans.com, 2008, ¶ 4). Specifically, these eco-unfriendly issues include the 30 pounds of nickel in the hybrid battery (Power, 2008) which comes from Canada but then “ships…to Wales for refining, then to China, where it’s manufactured into nickel foam, and then to…[the] battery plant in Japan. All told, the start-to-finish journey [for the nickel is] more than 10,000 miles†(Martin, 2007, ¶ 6-7). Similarly, hybrids also require the rare-earth mineral neodymium which is obtained through deep earth mining and open pit mines that are not so friendly to the environment (Margonelli, 2009).


    In addition to these environmentally unfriendly issues, there are also the issues dealing with the costs involved in hybrid ownership. For example, while most people have heard that there are tax credits available for new hybrid owners, they do not understand that these have run out on such popular models as the Prius and the Civic Hybrid (Internal Revenue Service [IRS], 2009) and they may buy the car before realizing their misunderstanding. Furthermore, the electric batteries in hybrids are costly and the warranties only range from five to eight years. After that, replacing the battery in case of failure is up to the owner and can cost over $3000 (Hodges, 2009). Finally, consumers are not told that the electrical shock from hybrid batteries poses a threat to people involved in accidents, emergency responders, and even maintenance mechanics who may not be properly trained (hybridcarchat.com, 2009).


    Of course, there is always another side to the argument and despite the eco-unfriendly problems involved in hybrid production and the underlying cost issues, hybrids still make more sense than the gas-guzzling SUVs and mega-sedan luxury cars with poor gas mileage that dominated the market not so long ago. After all, hybrids produce fewer emissions and help reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil through increased fuel efficiency. Furthermore, they can lead to tax breaks for some and a higher resell value for others (hub54, 2009) and most people will trade in their cars long before the battery ever fails and needs replaced (Hodges, 2009). Along similar lines, hybrid cars are some of the safest on the road and most emergency responders have had special training concerning hybrid technology (hybridcarchat.com, 2009). Most importantly, consumer demand for quality hybrids has pushed automakers in developing new eco-friendly, green technologies which have bled into other industries. In fact, the overwhelming media coverage of hybrids has done much to raise the awareness concerning global warming and making a social statement. As stated by in the Alternative Energy Blog (2005), “The point to be made is hybrid engine technology has encouraged a new way of thinking beyond the garage which has many applications from buses, trucks and tractors to even planes†(¶ 23). For that, we as a society owe a debt to the engineers who created, the manufacturers that built, and the consumers who bought into the hybrid vehicle technology of the past decade.


    Gratitude for raising our collective awareness aside, in these hard economic times, consumers need to consider their pocket-books in addition to their desire to travel greenly. Because of this, it is only right that they take a hard look at the higher costs of hybrids and do the research to find out if the savings truly add up in the end. Fortunately, for consumers looking to purchase an eco-friendly car that is also easy on the wallet, there are now many reliable and credible comparisons to consider as they research their decision. One comparison to consider is that between a hybrid and its gasoline equivalent such as the Civic Hybrid and the Civic LX as well as the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Corolla LE. While the hybrid models have better overall fuel efficiency, it still takes upwards of a decade to make up for the higher price at the time of purchase (Editor, Million Dollar Journey, 2008). This can also be seen in other comparison reviews such as the one done by Mitchell (2007) who considers how much money could be put toward carbon credits and reforestation programs if people would forego hybrid premiums, purchase traditional fuel efficient vehicles instead, and donate the monetary difference to organizations such as carbonfund.org. By his calculations, the traditional energy efficient cars would be far more helpful for the environment in such a scenario. Finally, one has to consider the greenness of purchasing a used fuel efficient car or used hybrid over a new hybrid vehicle. After all, as pointed out by Squatriglia, by buying a used, fuel-efficient vehicle, the consumer will eliminate creating any new carbon debt because “the debt has already been paid†(2008, ¶3). This contrasts sharply with the carbon debt created by the manufacturing of a Prius which is not paid off “until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles†(¶2).


    Providentially for environmentally minded consumers with an eye on their bank account, there is a third choice beyond gasoline and hybrid cars. As stated earlier, the 2009 Green Car of the Year is the VW Jetta TDI, a car “achieves estimated highway fuel economy of 41 mpg†and “an affordable $21,990 price tag†(Green Car Journal Editors, 2008, ¶5). Obviously, to be the green winner, it also met “emissions certification for all 50 states without the use of special additives or extraordinary measures†(¶5). While a diesel winning the eco-friendly contest may surprise many Americans, it comes as no surprise to the Europeans and Asians where “diesel engines have been vastly popular†(hub54.com, 2009, ¶ 3). In fact, of “the top 25 fuel efficient cars in Europe…all but one run on diesel†and include such makes and models as the Citroen C1, the Toyota Aygo, the Vauxhall Corsa, the Fiat Panda, and the Renault Clio (BovineBazaar.com, n.d., ¶ 1). Not surprisingly, over 40% of new car purchases in Europe are diesels where cleaner diesel “fuel has been available since 1997†while the same fuel has only been in the US since 2006 (Business Week, 2006, ¶ 4). Still, despite the fact that Ford has three of the top diesel cars in Europe, those three cars have not crossed the Atlantic yet just as the Toyota and Honda diesels have not either. But, American perceptions are starting to change and the VW Jetta TDI is leading the way as a shining cynosure of the public acceptance to come.


    Earlier this year, one of the leading automotive review companies on the web, Edmunds.com, did a side-by-side comparison of the 2009 Toyota Prius and the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (Walton, 2009). After comparing factors such as handling, braking, interior room, and performance, the Jetta was the clear winner which only adds to the awards and accolades this car has been accepting. The strongest arguments in favor of the Jetta presented by Edmunds.com were as follows:
    According to Edmunds' True Market Value (TMV®) pricing, the 2009 Prius Touring like ours is now $500 under MSRP thanks to a cash-to-customer incentive available until February 2009 and expected to continue into the spring. As it sits, our Prius tester rings the cash register at $28,933. But if you opt for a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Loyal Edition, there's a $1,300 federal income tax credit similar to the one the Prius once enjoyed. With no options added to our already well-equipped VW, the effective price of our '09 Jetta TDI is $22,890, or $6,043 less than the Prius Touring, representing a 21 percent savings from Day One.


    According to Edmunds.com's True Cost to Own (TCOSM) calculations, driving the Prius (at 1,250 miles per month) will cost $5,910 in gasoline over a five-year period. The Jetta TDI will consume $9,532 in diesel over the same period. On the face of it, the Prius will save you $3,622 in fuel costs. Hooray, the Prius wins! Not so fast. The Jetta TDI costs $6,043 less to start with, so there would still be $2,421 in the Jetta owner's pocket or bank account during those five years. Beyond the initial five years (60 months), it would take an additional 40 months to break even on fuel costs alone, so the Prius doesn't pencil out until after 10 months have elapsed, or eight years and four months (¶13-16).
    This “break-even point†is a serious consideration for the eco-consumer in today’s rough economic climate and “with a new crop of diesel vehicles poised to invade the U.S., Edmunds.com has discovered that diesels present an even better choice for fuel-economy-minded consumers than hybrids†(Reed, 2009, ¶ 1). Furthermore, “Switching just one-third of U.S. vehicles to clean diesel can save 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil per day†(Reuters.com, 2009, ¶ 1) which fits into the heart of the green movement. Not to be forgotten, all diesels “can run on biodiesel, produced in the U.S. from crops such as soybeans, with little or no modification†(Reed, ¶11). This makes the VW Jetta even more appealing as it can run on bio-diesel right off of the dealer’s lot.


    In a survey of 2009 Diesel and Hybrid cars, IntelliChoice.com reached the following conclusions:
    Clean diesel vehicles are the first real “green†alternative to hybrids. When it comes to alternative-fuel cars, gas-electric hybrid technology has ruled the U.S. market, with the Toyota Prius leading the way. Clean diesel technology, in its first year of wide availability in the U.S., poses the first significant challenge to hybrid dominance. Clean diesels are generally priced at a lower premium and still offer significant fuel economy (IntelliChoice, 2009, ¶ 6).


    Furthermore, IntelliChoice looked at five factors in determining the cost of ownership during the first five years of ownership. These factors were “fuel cost, maintenance, retained value, insurance and taxes and licensing fees†(Mack, 2009, ¶ 4). The comparison winner was the Volkswagen Jetta TDI with a “five year cost savings of $6210 over the gas burning Jetta and an MSRP premium difference of $2,070†while the Toyota Prius took second place as it only saved $4930 when compared to the comparable gas engine Camry (Mack, ¶5-6).


    Like it or not, “green†is the buzzword of our time and the trend toward green living and driving is here to stay. While technology is continually advancing and improving, the smart buy right now for a new 2009 model is the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and this should continue into the 2010 models. Better yet, if you must purchase a car this year, consider purchasing a good, used, late model hybrid, diesel, or fuel efficient gasoline combustion vehicle. Buying used is not only earth friendly, but will save you lots of green which just may make your friends green with envy.

    Sources

    References
    Alternate Energy Blog (2005). Hybrids: Hybrid Boats, Hybrid Ships, and Beyond. Retrieved July 22, 2009, from ALTERNATIVE ENERGY BLOG - Solar-Energy-Wind-Power.com: Hybrids: Hybrid Boats, Hybrid Ships and Beyond
    BovineBazaar.com (n.d.). Diesel Cars. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Diesel Cars and Fuel Efficiency
    Business Week (2006). Honda’s Green (Diesel) Machine . Retrieved July 12, 2009, from Honda's Green (Diesel) Machine
    Editor, Million Dollar Journey (2008). Hybrid vs. Gasoline Vehicle Comparison - Are Hybrid Vehicles Worth It?. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from Hybrid vs. Gasoline Vehicle Comparison – Are Hybrid Vehicles Worth it? | Million Dollar Journey
    Frank, R. (March 17, 2008). Automotive: Hybrids vs. Clean Diesels. Design News, 63, 4. p.S5. Retrieved June 24, 2009, from General OneFile via Gale:
    PowerSearch Logout
    Green Car Journal Editors (2008). VW Jetta Clean Diesel Wins 2009 Green Car of the Year!. Retrieved June 22, 2009, from VW Jetta Clean Diesel Wins 2009 Green Car of the Year! | GreenCar.com
    Grusche, P. (2009). Top Selling Hybrids, Good Luck No. 2-10. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from ...Grusche's Gray Matter: Top Selling Hybrids, Good Luck No. 2-10
    Hodges, A. (2009). 2010 Toyota Prius Maintenance Cost Varies. Retrieved July 11, 2009, from 2010 Toyota Prius Maintenance Cost Varies - Hybrid Cars 2010 Toyota Prius - NewsOXY
    hub54.com (2009). Diesel Hybrid Cars: Will They Go Mainstream?. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from Diesel Hybrid Cars: Will they go Mainstream? | hub54.com
    hub54.com (2009). Why Buy a Hybrid Car?. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from Why Buy a Hybrid Car? | hub54.com
    hybridcarchat.com (2009). How Dangerous Is A Hybrid Vehicle?. Retrieved July 19, 2009, from How Dangerous Is A Hybrid Vehicle? | Hybrid Car Chat
    Hybridcarstrucksvans.com (2008). Disadvantages of Hybrid Cars. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Disadvantages of Hybrid Cars | Hybrid Cars, Trucks & Vans
    Hybrid vehicle drivetrain. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2009, from Wikipedia: [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrains]Hybrid vehicle drivetrain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
    IntelliChoice. (2009). 2009 Hybrid & Diesel Car Survey (Source Interlink Media). Campbell, CA: Source Interlink Media Company.
    Internal Revenue Service (2009). Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
    Mack, B. (2009). Survey Says: Buy a Diesel (or Hybrid) and $ave. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from Survey Says: Buy a Diesel (or Hybrid) And $ave | Autopia | Wired.com
    Margonelli, L. (May 2009). Down and dirty: hybrid cars and wind turbines need rare-earth minerals that come with their own hefty environmental price tag. (ENVIRONMENT)(neodymium). The Atlantic, 303, 4. p.17(2). Retrieved June 24, 2009, from General OneFile via Gale: PowerSearch Logout


    Martin, J. L. (2007). Hidden Cost of Driving a Prius. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from http://www.cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/Hidden Cost of Driving a Prius Commentary.pdf
    Mitchell, R. L. (2007). Tech Check: Why hybrid car Economics don’t add up. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from Tech check: Why hybrid car Eco-nomics don't add up - Computerworld Blogs
    Power, M. (2008). Don’t Buy that New Prius! Test-Drive a Used car Instead. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from Don't Buy That New Prius! Test-Drive a Used Car Instead
    Reed, P. (2009). Edmunds Data Proves Diesel “Break-Even†Is Shorter Than Hybrids . Retrieved July 18, 2009, from Edmunds Data Proves Diesel "Break-Even" Is Shorter Than Hybrids -- Edmunds.com
    Reuters.com (2009). Video: Audi TDI Clean Diesel Paves Road to Energy Independence. Retrieved July 11, 2009, from Video: Audi TDI Clean Diesel Paves Road to Energy Independence | Reuters
    Rowley, I. (March 30, 2009). Toyota, Honda Heat Up the Hybrid War. (JAPAN).
    Business Week Online, p.NA. Retrieved June 24, 2009, from General OneFile via Gale:
    PowerSearch Logout
    Roy, R. (2009). Green Wash: How Do I Save Fuel the Smart Way? Diesel vs. Hybrid vs. Gas: Who Wins?. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from Car News, Articles and Stories
    Silke-Carty, S. (2009). Alternative fuel vehicles - A buyer’s guide. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from Alternative Fuel Vehicles- A Buyer's Guide
    Squatriglia, C. (2008). Go Green - Buy a Used Car. It’s Better than a Hybrid. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from Go Green — Buy a Used Car. It’s Better Than a Hybrid | Autopia | Wired.com
    Walton, C. (2009). Hybrid vs. Diesel in a Battle of Epic Efficiency. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from 2009 Toyota Prius Hybrid vs. 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Comparison Test
    Who Makes the Best Cars? Japanese automakers get the highest marks. (2009). Consumer Reports. Retrieved July 1, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/buying-advice/who-makes-the-best-cars/
    Worley, B. (2006). Buying an Eco-Friendly Car. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from Buying an Eco-Friendly Car - ABC News
  2. Proco

    Proco Senior Member

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    Do you have a link to the original paper? It's bad form (not to mention most likely copyright infringement) to post a full text unless you're the author.
    2 people like this.
  3. Viking Heavy Diesel

    Viking Heavy Diesel New Member

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  4. quadracer1014

    quadracer1014 New Member

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    Here's your author. I posted it with his permission
  5. Viking Heavy Diesel

    Viking Heavy Diesel New Member

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    Hopefully this wont get blown out of proportion.
  6. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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  7. quadracer1014

    quadracer1014 New Member

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    yes he has owned two honda hybrids. No we dont hold that against him:D
  8. Rhino

    Rhino New Member

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    I'll buy a diesel from VW when:

    (1) VW is ranked in reliability as highly as Toyota in N. America where I plan to drive, see threads like this one http://priuschat.com/forums/other-cars/2045-vw-vs-toyota-reliability.html from your fellow forum members and

    (2) when they let you drive on the High Occupancy Lane (HOV) lane in a diesel with one one person in the car.

    The greenest car is the one who can get you to work so you can keep your job so reliability and HOV access is absolutely necessary. Getting laid off, and not contributing to the gross domestic product is not green.

    Is it true that VW only allows the use of 5% biodiesel? And only if the Biodiesel meets ASTM standards? If that is true, your sentence "Likewise, while all diesels are capable of using bio-diesel which makes them hybrids by default" should include a disclaimer stating that some manufacturers only allow 5% biodiesel. Your local restaurant is unlikely to carry ASTM biodiesel.
  9. mbahr22250

    mbahr22250 New Member

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    If the entire paper is read start to finish, then one might come to the conclusion that Viking Heavy Diesel is not bashing the Prius or hybrid in any way. He actually encourages the reader that if you want to be "green" to purchase a good late model hybrid, diesel, of fuel efficient gasoline powered car.
  10. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    Hybrid Watchdog: Hybrid vs. "Clean Diesel" ? Tale of the Tape

    Conclusion
    Environmentally speaking, today’s diesels are a significant improvement over their recent ancestors and can offer notable fuel economy improvements over conventional gasoline vehicles. However, the exceedingly impressive tailpipe emissions and fuel economy performance of today’s most popular hybrids allow them to outperform their diesel counterparts. Nevertheless, diesels can offer global warming and petroleum reduction benefits compared to their conventional gasoline counterparts.
    Many new models of diesel and hybrids will be entering the marketplace in the coming years with varying levels of environmental performance. It will be up to the automakers to decide whether these technologies are used to their full potential to reduce emissions, or whether they’re tapped to improve vehicle power and performance. When comparing diesels and hybrids, consumers should just be aware that “performance” in the categories of air pollution, global warming pollution and oil dependence are not merely a function of the vehicle’s fuel economy, but rather also a function of its emissions control system and even of the fuel’s chemical makeup.
    Additional Resources for Vehicle Comparisons

    • The HybridCenter.org comparison chart provides comparison of different hybrid models and their non-hybrid counterparts.
    • EPA-DOE website www.fueleconomy.gov includes annual carbon footprint estimates, as well as annual crude oil consumption estimates and air pollution scores for every make and model on its site, allowing you to compare gasoline, diesel, and hybrid-electric vehicles side by side.
    • For Air Pollution and Global Warming pollution scores,
      information is available at
      www.epa.gov/greenvehicles as well as the California Air Resources Board’s website, http://www.driveclean.ca.gov/.
    1 person likes this.
  11. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    It's just not very smart and cherrypicks facts.

    Where to start.

    The discussion of the battery is clearly baloney. Almost none have failed. So the take-outs from wrecks exceed demand, which means you can pick one up on Ebay any day for $350 plus shipping. (Ping Ebay if you don't believe me.) It's just a non-issue. Which means taking the time to discuss it means this is not a reality-based article. As for being shocked in a wreck, cite a single example of that having happened.

    Which is then followed by the non-issue of 30 pounds of nickel. Ocean transport is the most efficient way to move freight. Large ocean freighters get about 1000 ton-miles per gallon. The fuel required for trans-ocean transport of 30 lbs 10,000 miles by ocean would be ... 19 ounces. Call it a pint. This merits discussion? Again, not in an article that is grounded in reality. That discussion is aimed at, well, stupid people -- people who can't compare 30 lbs versus the entire weight of the vehicle, and/or who don't know that ocean transport is efficient and/or don't know that most stuff moves across the oceans anyway.

    Of course, the stupidest aspect of the battery discussion is that a Prius uses *less* metal for its batteries than a traditional sedan does. Particularly a diesel, as diesels need great big old starting batteries. Why is this? Because a typical starting battery uses 25 pounds of lead (presumably more for a diesel), and a typical vehicle goes through 3 lead oxide starting batteries lifetime. (Yeah, I can find the citations for that if required.) So, in a Prius, you have 30 lbs nickel, lasting the life of the car, plus an itty bitty 12v lead-acid that, judging by the comments here, will have to be replaced once in the life of the car. Versus 75 lbs of lead, lifetime, for a typical traditional vehicle. Smelting lead is at least as noxious as smelting nickel, and has all the same problems with sulphur dioxide emissions.

    So, in fact, if you're worried about the environmental cost of the metal used in the batteries, you'd do as well to worry about those heavy, short-lived lead starting batteries in the diesel than to perseverate about the traction battery in the Prius.

    The analysis of buying used versus new car is the usual incorrect bullshit. Nobody bothers to think for 30 seconds to get that right. The conclusion of that analysis is that the right thing for everybody to do for every car purchase is to buy a used car. Do you see the problem with that argument? Yeah, if we have an infinite supply of used cars, that argument is properly done. If not, it's not. The proper long-run analysis is to pro-rate the manufacture and scrapping cost over the life of the vehicle and see which vehicle has total (dust-to-dust) minimum energy cost.

    On cost, Consumer reports found that the Prius had the lowest total cost of ownership of any car in its class. If you want to see an even-handed reporting of costs, show that against other cost comparisons.

    And on cost, it's baloney to compare to the old Prius Touring (high cost) model. I recall paying for my Prius just about the price that's listed for the TDI. But the TDI wagon has more cargo volume so that's not exactly a fair comparison either.

    The analysis of carbonfund and similar is naive at best. If I buy a more energy-efficient car instead of a less energy-efficient one, I am guaranteed "additionality". (Actually, you know, it's more complex than that, because your prior car does not cease to exist just because you bought a new one.) But in theory, I know that I have energy savings. Most "carbon offset" organizations are nothing of the sort. They are green tag (renewable energy certificate) retailers. Precious few of them can guarantee any actual additionality. For most, your purchase of "carbon offsets" results in no net additional reduction in carbon emissions. In other words, your purchase of "offsets" is little more than a charitable donation toward clean energy. It has no quantifiable "additionality" in reducing carbon output.

    When I did my own cost calculation, across the cars I would consider buying, the Prius came out being by far the cheapest new vehicle I could buy, in terms of lifetime cost of ownership. But that was 2005, it's not clear how that would come out today. In 2005, compared to (e.g.) a Taurus, the lifetime fuel cost savings were about $10K.

    If I were to do the same today using EPA data and assuming all fuel costs $2.75 a gallon, the lifetime (150,000 mile) fuel cost savings vs the TDI would be a little less than $4K. So, a Prius at $22K versus a TDI at $18K where I would start my valuation. Yeah, most people figure that on a shorter basis, but they're misguided. If you sell the car at less than the lifetime, presumably the sales price will reflect the remaining fuel cost savings. In other words, all other things equal, it should end up capitalized in your sales price. So the proper basis for comparison is, in my opinion, lifetime. Plus, I run a car till it dies anyway, so it's literally the right comparison for me.

    Far as I know the TDI is an OK car. If you want to put it on an apples-to-apples comparison, you ought to use the EPA data to show the product of MPG and cubic feet available in the vehicle. (It's like using ton-miles/gallon as a measure of transport efficiency -- this is cubic foot miles per gallon.) On that basis, it is the third-most efficient new passenger vehicle offered for sale. The Fusion is 75% as efficient as the Prius using that measure, the TDI is 73% as efficient. We could quibble about the additional energy content of diesel versus gas compared to the additional energy inputs required to refine gas versus diesel, but ... it appears to be a reasonably efficient vehicle.

    Anyway, there's no need to put together a bunch of baloney to run down the Prius in order to boost the TDI. I've done diesel, I'm never going back, but I'm sure there are people who would want to try one.
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  12. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    On balance not a bad argumentation. At least it's fact-based whereas other advocacies have been more in the 'screaming exageration' style.

    The net argument after 12 paragraphs is hybrids are not the only green choice, the new clean diesels are equally good. This is in fact true. Clean diesels do offer a very solid alternative to Toyota's hybrids depending on each persons circumstances.

    At least with a presentation like this facts can discussed dispassionately.

    Some limited parts of the Prius may have a circuitous route from origin to consumer. Certainly the whole vehicle doesn't...or does it? How much iron ore does Japan have? How much oil does Japan have? How much coal does Japan have? Essentially everything made in Japan comes from imported raw materials. Focussing only on the nickel components in the batteries is faulty logic ( see above post as well ). EDIT: But what about the Jetta? I also know from personal business experience that while Germany does have coal and iron ore the quality of the iron ore is not suitable for auto steel production. Germany has to import nearly all of its high-quality iron ore ( Brazil ) and all its oil needs just as Japan does. In fact both the Jetta and Prius depend almost entirely on imported raw materials.

    I do agree that both economically and environmentally a good used vehicle is a better option than a new vehicle in most cases. It would be my personal choice too. However one cannot legislate buyers' preferences, Prohibition proved that. Also this argumentation is actually an anti-business proposal. It would have businesses limit their output to the 'rate of retirements'. No new products should be made until one is taken out of usage. This simply will not fly in our business model....it smacks of a utopian governmental control of production and consumption.

    The Edmunds argumentation is fatally flawed. Sorry but this is just an oversight. Edmunds compared a brand new 2009 TDI clean diesel to an outgoing 2009 Gen 2 Prius. Later in the year they compared the new TDI to the new Prius. The Prius beat the TDI in every respect.

    There are also major errors in the vehicles being chosen for various comparo's. The Prius is a 5 door hatchback. It's natural non-hybird comparative is the Matrix..not the Camry; it is not comparable to the Jetta sedan TDI it's more comparable to the Jetta Sportwagon.

    I do agree with the final conclusion that both technologies are good for all of us and that a better choice for some might be USED over NEW.
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  13. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I also agree with the statement that buying a used vehicle is the most environmentally friendly purchase and most economical one as well.
    Many of the resources to seem cherry picked to appear as facts supporting the article when some sources are actually editorials.
    The points I would bring up have already been brought up by others and have been very well stated by them, so I will leave those as is;)
  14. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Although I personally feel that either a hybrid (Eg Prius) or a tdi have their merits, depending on use, there are enough flaws in this "research paper" that I have to point out a few hard facts

    I'll start by mentioning my background: I have a B.Sc in Computer Science and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering. I've spent most of my working career - outside the Army that is - in the petrochemical industry

    Going down the list, one thing that caught my eye was the "smugness" and "air of superiority." When it comes to human beings, I've found that *most* are dickheads. Doesn't matter if they drive a Prius, a one ton Dodge Dually with a lift kit and stacks, a motorcycle, or an ocean freighter.

    Diesels and "biodiesel," eg waste vegetable oil. Presently, WVO is a waste that must be disposed of, so restaurants are only too happy to have you take it off their hands. WVO as a fuel is clearly a niche market

    There is little discussion of the effects of WVO, especially the cosolvents, on modern electronically controlled common rail diesel motors. In the EU, where biodiesel has been more popular than here, at least one manufacturer of HD trucks and HD truck engines, Volvo, has spoken out against it

    Volvo speaks out against biodiesel - Latest Car News from 4Car

    In the UK, a large fleet provider has also issued a warning about the B30 diesel fuel, which is not available in North America

    B30 Biodiesel Warning

    If you live in a cold climate like I do, a diesel is generally a bad idea anyway. WVO would be a disaster in temps <0 F

    The issue of nickel mining and production had been beaten to death. Or so I thought, but here it is again. At least no mention was made of the fictional "moonscape" around Sudbury, Ontario (They started cleaning that up in the late 1970's, long before the Prius was designed)

    Nickel isn't just used in Prius batteries. There are many industrial uses for nickel, eg high strength steels and especially stainless steel, chrome plating, electronics, etc. Or, straight from the horse's mouth

    Nickel & Its Uses - About Nickel

    The Prius battery has 30 lbs of nickel. Ok. My FJ Cruiser is quite a bit heavier than a Prius, as far as total nickel content my FJ Cruiser has MORE nickel in it than a Prius. Something really heavy, like a one ton dually pickup with a turbodiesel engine, lift kit, and lots of chrome accessories, has way more nickel content than my FJ Cruiser

    Presently, around 1% of INCO's/Vale's Sudbury production is for Toyota. The vast majority of INCO's/Vale's production is sent to the United States, to be used for the domestic car makers, and for industrial purposes

    Most nickel is refined in third world countries, primarily due to environmental concerns. Likewise, most of our "dirty" manufacturing is now done in developing countries. GM, Ford, and Dodge also do a lot of their "dirty" refinery and initial build in developing countries. We really are not any "greener," we just learned to dump the problem in somebody else's lap

    Hybrid battery replacement: in the context of the warranty and the reported failures, this compares quite well to a 5-10 year old car needing a new transaxle. Nobody will bat an eye if they have to pay for a $3,500 transaxle in a 8 year old car

    I will agree that the hybrid system is poorly understood by many, including those who should know better. Reversing the polarity while jump starting a dead Prius can cause catastrophic damage - not to the NiMH battery, but to the inverter/converter assembly

    "Electric shock hazard." Really? Is there a single documented case of a Prius or other hybrid vehicle zapping an occupant or an EMS worker? The HV portion of a hybrid car is equipped with a GFCI, even a minor current leakage in the motor, or one of the cables, and the relay in the battery box opens

    On the other hand, how many EMS workers have been killed by deploying airbags? It's now common to find passenger cars, minivans, even full size vehicles like my FJ Cruiser, with side curtain and seat mounted airbags.

    If those airbags didn't pop during the crash, they may very well pop while the EMS worker is trying to extract the driver and passengers. This could seriously injure or even kill the passenger, or the EMS worker. Most new vehicles also have pre-tensioning seatbelts, which use small pyrotechnic charges to tighten the seatbelt in a crash. The same danger is there too

    Fire-EMS Department Features

    So, in the context of all new vehicles, what is unique about a hybrid in terms of danger to EMS workers? We have many new vehicles with self-tensioning seatbelts, seat mounted and head curtain airbags, the usual driver and passenger airbags, and some even have knee airbags

    The "proper training" is essential for all rescue workers who happen to come across ANY newer vehicle involved in a crash

    Some concern has been raised by a person who claims to be an EMS worker, regarding the NiMH battery pack. The chemistry is strongly alkaline, as it is potassium and sodium hydroxide. In contrast, a regular car battery is lead with strongly acidic chemistry, using sulfuric acid

    At least around here, in the event of a spill involving the following, Hazmat gets involved: hybrid battery, regular battery, coolant, brake fluid, and especially fuels (Gasoline and diesel)

    Otherwise, the choice of a vehicle should come to personal preference. I've test drove the new 2010 Golf Wagon, and found the seats to be light years better than in a Toyota. Presently, ULSD is priced about the same as regular unleaded, at least around here

    One thing to keep in mind about resources: only about 5% of the global population can enjoy our standard of living. If we're forced to "share" with the other 95%, we may look back with fond memories on the days when we argued about completely inconsequential topics, eg whether to drive a Prius, a Golf, or a pickup
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  15. Dalton1

    Dalton1 New Member

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    great paper ryan!
    as for the tail pipe emissions stuff I dont buy into the whole global warming thing, just my opinion, so if i were in the market for a economical car. cost of ownership and quality would be the only factors for me.
  16. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    You are aware that "emissions" consist of much more than just greenhouse gases right? Those emissions contribute quite a bit to health problems, agricultural losses, environmental degredation, precipitation pattern and rate changes and an overal poorer soctiety when economics and happiness index is taken into account.
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  17. Viking Heavy Diesel

    Viking Heavy Diesel New Member

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    For all of the folks saying that I cherry picked (and I do understand the logic and reasoning for saying that, not starting an argument here.) How many of you really checked all of the links. It took me months to disseminate all that info so it is hardly fair to conclude its false after a couple hours of having it available.
  18. Dalton1

    Dalton1 New Member

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    Im not educated in environmental science but how dose it cause agricultural losses I thought plants "breathed" c02 and "exhaled" oxygen? and precipitation changes would that not just be the cycle of the earth, I mean theres been floods and droughts long before man was polluting. im not saying we should be careless with pollution, but I dont think its as big of a deal as its made out to be
    just my opinion...
  19. bighouse

    bighouse Active Member

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    I just love it when people can make all kinds of statements and then try to qualify it, as if it counts more somehow (or perhaps as an escape hatch?), if it's "..just my opinion"....we all know what they say about opinions...You can have an opinion that the world is flat, doesn't make your opinions count any more...what matters are REAL measurable facts and scientifically reproducible effects.

    It's almost as bad as saying "Everyone knows..." or "Anyone with any common sense can see that...." or "...it's a known fact that...."
  20. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    For diesel engines: NOx, PM, and dioxin are of concern. Hence, cities like London mandating the use of and requiring retrofitting older heavy duty vehicles for SCR/DPF

    Emissions standards | Transport for London

    http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/environment/air_quality/docs/fleet_op/reduction.pdf

    http://www.topsoe.com/research/Reso...ers/Topsoe_new_emissions_cont_syst_trial.ashx

    I've frequently traveled to the EU on business. The air quality in North American cities is far better



    I did and tried to counter them, eg the "safety" issue, biodiesel, and where nickel is used

    Don't be afraid of using calculus, as I'm not
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