The Prius gas-guzzler vs. the SUV planet-saver

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by Denny_A, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    An interesting take on HOV (vs. LEV) lane use and pax miles per gallon.

    The Skeptical Optimist opines....


    The Prius gas-guzzler vs. the SUV planet-saver

    Prius vs. Expedition

    The last few days have been a little warmer than I’d like, and Al Gore now has me convinced that it’s all my fault. I really feel guilty, so it’s time to for me to take some action, preferably before my car’s butterfly effect causes another drought, hurricane, or glacier-melt.

    Is it time for me to pony up for a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle—perhaps something like the Toyota Prius? After all, the Prius was given a new, distinctive shape two years ago by Toyota’s marketing department; a shape they want me to think would really turn some heads in my direction. [The body style overhaul was an ugliness injection, and was advertised as “aerodynamic”—but it fulfilled their unspoken agenda of giving Prius owners a subliminal badge of honor that says “Look at me, I’m saving the planet and you’re not”—without actually having to spell that out on a bumpersticker, window decal, or bobble-head doll.]

    But during my rush-hour drive Tuesday afternoon, a light bulb went off in my head as I pondered the two vehicles in front of me driving side-by-side: a Toyota Prius and a Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer. After a brief-but-thorough conference with myself, I reached the tentative conclusion that the vehicle more deserving of the label “gas guzzler” was the Toyota Prius.

    However, the skeptic in me demanded some fact-checking before I could settle on that conclusion. So after I got home, I did some internet research on the Prius and the Expedition—and sure enough, it ended up confirming my first impression. I thought some of you might like to examine my step-by-step fuel-efficiency analysis. It proves that the Prius was operating at a significantly lower fuel efficiency than the Expedition; in fact, it wasn't even close. Here it is...

    Fuel Efficiency Analysis - Toyota Prius vs Ford Expedition "Eddie Bauer" - seen driving side-by-side in afternoon rush hour traffic, June 6, 2006:

    See the article for the example! Prius MPG assumtion taken from CR Mag <_<
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    huh? he's not making any sense, but ok.

    A fully loaded car is always better than a single-occupant car regardless of vehicle so what is he trying to prove?
     
  3. NuShrike

    NuShrike Active Member

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    Good job!
    o using highway MPG for stop-n-go traffic conditions
    o stacking a fully-loaded SUV vs singular Prius driver (ignoring the drop in MPG from increased weight, idling, and then buses/trains would be the most efficient transportation)
    o ignoring stop-n-go emission levels
     
  4. bobr1

    bobr1 New Member

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    Wow! What astonishingly stupid spin!

    Here's a hint: If you really, genuinely, regularly haul 5 people plus lots of gear, don't look at a Prius, or any other sedan for that matter.

    But I seriously doubt that the author actually considered the fact that the overwhelming majority of auto trips in this country are SOV.

    I'd love to see this jerk compare a Ford Excursion to say, a Highlander Hybrid. But that might be something close to a fair fight!

    Skeptical optimist, hah. More like Contrarian Obfuscist.

    - Bob R.
     
  5. hdrygas

    hdrygas New Member

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    Well look at my signature. My first tank was above 44 with under 100 miles on the car driving 75 mph back from Montana over Rocky Mountain Passes on cruise. Yes I have been under 44 once. I have an Explorer Eddie Bauer. With a 4L 6 in it well broken in and if I try really, really hard with one 200lb butt in the car and not much else I might get 23. I guess that one really anorexic Mom and 4 kids under 5 will weigh less than I. Did I mention that the tires are at the max pressure not the recommended and the Vehicle bounces all around the place at highway speeds. I would guess that 99.9 soccer Moms would not tolerate that. I have not seen so much BS stacked side to side in a long time. Write this guy off he is some village’s idiot who has escaped and needs to go home and start sweeping up the sidewalks not writing. This stuff should be on the editorial page!! Yesss I feel much better now.
     
  6. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

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    This really cracked me up. I read the title of the thread, and really REALLY thought it was about my personal situation.

    We own a Prius, and I call it my gas guzzler because it is the car in our fleet that gets the worst gas mileage, regardless of how it is driven. Our main vehicle is a little solar-fueled SUV that is certainly doing more to save the planet than our Prius is.

    But it turns out that the big difference is that I'm at least mildly educated, and this guy is a complete moron. :)
     
  7. micheal

    micheal I feel pretty, oh so pretty.

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    The real shame is that there isn't a way to comment on this article to try and negate all of it's errors. The first of which is
    So you already had an idea and try to find a way to confirm your idea. Sounds like a great analysis to me. :blink:
     
  8. Salsawonder

    Salsawonder New Member

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    I don't think the dude would ever qualify for a research grant, sort of need to have a working brain....
     
  9. bsoft

    bsoft New Member

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    This guy is obviously full of crap - for one reason more than any other: the minimum number of occupants in HOV lanes for normal vehicles is generally 2 or 3.

    Compare an expidition with 3 occupants to a Prius with 1 occupant. The Prius comes out darn close in per-passenger fuel economy.

    Also consider that the Prius is 80% cleaner (in terms of emissions) than the average new vehicle.

    Remember, though: even with a Prius, it makes a lot of sense to carpool. It also makes a lot of sense to develop public transit so that we will have the choice of not driving. That choice is already a reality in cities like Chicago or New York City, but in cities like Denver, it's going to take a lot more work to make public transit work.

    In the summer and on weekends, I drive a Prius. The other 8 months of the year, I walk or take the bus (I'm a university student at the University of Colorado Boulder).
     
  10. eak354

    eak354 Member

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    talk about twisted logic.... totally missing the point. sigh....

    oh... and there are prius owners who carpool, 4-5 passengers, and still get over 45 mpg on freeway. :rolleyes:
     
  11. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    Aren't some of those articles supposed to be humorous? I glanced through a few and saw one where they write about Greenspan describing a "Fill Ups Curve" relating gas prices to frequency of people filling their tank. This was clearly a play on words with the well-known "Phillips Curve" in Economics.

    The Prius article was so poorly done that I didn't find it humorous, but I think that may have been it's intent.
     
  12. kDB

    kDB New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(darelldd @ Jun 14 2006, 12:16 AM) [snapback]270982[/snapback]</div>
    i actually checked to see if you wrote it before i clicked to view it

    anyway, going by his logic, my mom's house boat is a lot more efficient than his expedition. there is almost never less than 8 people on it, and at about 12mpg that's around 96pmpg. the end note i do agree with though.
     
  13. FBear

    FBear Senior Member

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    Did this guy have too much coffee that morning. Yeah, that one SUV had five people in it. But what about all those SUVs with just one person. That's why you can't measure the mileage per person. Another idiot heard from.
     
  14. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    http://priuschat.com/forums/images/smiles/Wth.gif

    When he saw the two cars, sitting in stop-and-go traffic, did the Explorer actually have 5 people in it? While I occationally see a two-passenger SUV during my daily commute, I rarely see any vehicle with more than that. There is the occational vocational or church van.

    I carpool more than I don't in my Prius. Now run the numbers again.

    This just in: Ford school busses - when loaded with the maximum 66 passengers plus the driver - are more fuel efficient than a Toyota Prius!

    Who allows these people to breed? [​IMG]
     
  15. jbarnhart

    jbarnhart New Member

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    He's an idiot. Notice his blog has no link for "comments?" Gee, I wonder why...
     
  16. bobr1

    bobr1 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(TonyPSchaefer @ Jun 14 2006, 06:20 AM) [snapback]271045[/snapback]</div>
    I once did a back-of-the-napkin analysis of the fuel efficiency of the bus system in the Portland, OR region (TriMet) and calculated over 35mpg on a per-passenger-mile basis. Pretty impressive considering how often a bus has to run nearly empty (on the half of the route operating against peak travel), all the subsidized low-ridership suburban routes, etc.

    (And, I didn't know the split between normal bus service and the special alternative "LIFT" service... I suspect that if you factor out "LIFT" minibuses, you get even greater fleet efficiency.)

    I'm curious to see how advances in hybrid buses play out in the long run... how much will this figure improve?

    - Bob R.
     
  17. AnOldHouse

    AnOldHouse Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Denny_A @ Jun 13 2006, 10:24 PM) [snapback]270884[/snapback]</div>
    I emailed the writer the following. I'll post if I actually get a response:

    <blockquote>Yes I'm, a Prius owner and, yes, I've read the end note to your article, and it's obvious you still don't "get it."

    The following statement from your article clearly demonstrates that you really are unfamiliar with the Prius: "carrying a cargo that was probably soccer equipment and a cooler of refreshments for the team. No way a Prius could have hauled all that cargo and personnel." The Prius is a MID-SIZE 5 passenger vehicle with an enormous hatchback cargo space, well capable of hauling the passengers and the cargo you describe. If the mom was hauling her 4 children with equipment to a soccer game in a Prius, the people miles per gallon would be 500% that of a single occupant Prius, or 220 people miles per gallon using your stated 44 MPG, which in fact is low. For real-world mileage averages of the Prius and other hybrid vehicles, I refer you to: greenhybrid.com

    Yes, I get your point about "people miles per gallon" and apparently your "concern" (or veiled jealousy) about single occupant use of a hybrid car in HOV lanes. But let's compare apples to apples, shall we? The children in the scenario you describe are not licensed drivers, and therefore there is no "savings" based on people miles per gallon as those people can't operate their own motor vehicles. So, in fact, it's really LICENSED DRIVER miles per gallon that needs to be compared, isn't it? Using this intellectually honest comparison, the single occupant Prius commuter wins with an efficiency that is 367% better than the mom and kids in the Expedition, again, using your numbers.

    And just exactly what kind of vehicle where YOU driving at the time and how many occupants were in it at the time you made your clearly flawed analysis?</blockquote>
     
  18. Homer2

    Homer2 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jbarnhart @ Jun 14 2006, 07:28 AM) [snapback]271050[/snapback]</div>
    You can stop wondering; this is a post from last year:
    "Why no comments?"
     
  19. AnOldHouse

    AnOldHouse Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AnOldHouse @ Jun 14 2006, 12:42 PM) [snapback]271168[/snapback]</div>
    Well, here's his quick response, complete with permission to post it here, even though I didn't ask for it or even mention PriusChat for that matter. Perhaps Steve is already a lurker/troll here? :lol:

    <blockquote> Steve Conover to me
    More options 2:09 pm (1 minute ago)

    Hi David,

    It seems I have struck a nerve. Sorry you are so upset.

    Thank you for deciding to be a Prius owner. I also thank SUV owners who use their vehicles productively. And I have received thanks from several readers for introducing a bit more reason into what is usually an emotional, oversimplified debate.

    In my follow-up article, I explained why even "passenger miles per gallon" is oversimplified (but not quite as much as vehicle miles per gallon). Here's a link http://www.optimist123.com/optimist/2006/0...ingtheplan.html, if you'd care to read it. And if you'd care not to read it, that's okay, too. I do understand the tendency to defend one's worldview and one's past decisions -- it's human nature, and it doesn't surprise me a bit -- in which case, this article http://www.edmunds.com/advice/specialrepor...84/article.html should make you feel a little better.

    Oversimplified thought processes mislead us into thinking that the government can pick winners better than the price-signal-driven free market can. (That kind of elitist, government-knows-best thinking spawned the SUV, by the way.) That's the message in those two articles. If it was too subtle a message, so be it; I'll try to be more explicit next time.

    I may publish all or part of this at my blog; feel free to publish any part of it you'd like in the Prius Chat forum.


    Steve</blockquote>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AnOldHouse @ Jun 14 2006, 02:40 PM) [snapback]271251[/snapback]</div>
    This is Steve's follow-up article that he referenced in his email to me:

    <blockquote>A saving-the-planet brain teaser
    I’ve received several emails pointing out that my “Prius vs SUV†analysis (below this article) is flawed, because it ignores important factors. Although I completely agree, my response was this: vehicle miles per gallon is an oversimplified measure of efficiency; passenger miles per gallon is less oversimplified. In other words, the latter is also imperfect, but one step closer to objectivity.

    To illustrate why “pmpg†is still highly flawed as an efficiency measure, I thought up a little brain teaser; here goes...

    You are interviewing for the position of Supreme U.S. Government Official in Charge of Evaluating Which Economic Activities are Saving the Planet (...and, by extension, which ones are not). Your interview ends with the following story problem that you must solve, in order to establish a basis for federal tax credits or penalties related to the economic activities in question. Here’s your story problem:

    Six semi tractor trailer rigs, A through F, drove in a convoy from Chicago to Miami. Each had one driver only (no passengers). Each carried a load of 25,000 pounds. Each consumed exactly 500 gallons of fuel to make the trip.

    Here’s your assignment: Rank the six tractor-trailer rigs, from best to worst on the saving-the-planet scale.

    Whoops, sorry; I left something out. I forgot to tell you what each was carrying, and that’s pretty important—so read the following before you make up your mind:

    Rig A: 25,000 pounds of seawater desalination equipment.
    Rig B: 25,000 pounds of cigarettes (Marlboro Ultra Lights).
    Rig C: 25,000 pounds of cigarettes (Maui Wowie).
    Rig D: 12,500 pounds of bone-in ribeye steaks, 12,500 pounds of baby formula.
    Rig E: 25,000 pounds of hurricane disaster relief supplies.
    Rig F: 25,000 pounds of state-of-the-art, hanging-chad-proof election ballots.

    Okay, now you have all the information. Rank the six tractor-trailer rigs, from best to worst on the saving-the-planet scale. Our current and future tax receipts depend on your decision.

    ------------------------

    Post mortem:
    Unsurprisingly, that story problem has no correct answer. However, it does have a moral: The imperfect government planners—operating on the principle “We know what’s best for everybodyâ€â€”will screw up the valuation of all six of those cargoes. Guaranteed. On the other hand, the imperfect market—operating on the principle “one dollar one voteâ€â€”would do a far better job of valuing them.

    Said a different way: The government should not be picking winners and losers. A tax credit for a Toyota Prius is a crock. A gas guzzler penalty is a crock. The market price mechanism will reallocate resources far more effectively than government planners. I bet the rising price of gasoline has already driven SUV passenger-miles-per-gallon and cargo-value-per-mile upwards, and started the owners of those vehicles thinking slightly differently about the tradeoffs among operating cost, safety, and utility. And I trust them, in the aggregate, to make the correct decision.

    Whoops, sorry, I gotta run. A huge SUV just pulled up in front of our house. It's one of those Lincoln Navigators, I think. (We’re going to see a movie with the two other couples in that vehicle. Do you think I should suggest Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth�)

    Posted on 08 June 2006</blockquote>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AnOldHouse @ Jun 14 2006, 02:49 PM) [snapback]271251[/snapback]</div>
    And here's my reply to his email:

    <blockquote>David to Steve
    More options 2:39 pm (0 minutes ago)

    Thank you Steve for your quick reply.

    No, sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not at all "upset." Only too happy to point out the deep flaws in your logic in your comparison between a Prius and an Expedition.

    Thank you also for the link to your follow up article. While you do state that the "pmpg" is an oversimplified and flawed concept although, granted, less-so than "mpg", you haven't explained what the flaws are other than to go into some dead-end esoteric exercise in the morality of what constitutes "efficiency." I could also argue that the single occupant man in the Prius driving home from a commute is far more "productively moral" than a mom hauling kids to a soccer game, but that's all rather besides the point, isn't it?

    Also, the article on SUV owners torching their vehicles for fraudulent insurance claims hardly would make me "feel a little better." Who do you think is actually going to foot the bill for those claims in the long run? Not to mention the entirely unnecessary environmental impact.

    By the way and you might be quite surprised that I also happen to agree that it is a "crock," as you put it, regarding tax incentives for hybrids, especially considering that they are already often difficult to get, but I certainly will be claiming my tax credit since it's available. You also mentioned you think that the gas guzzler tax is a crock. Gotta disagree with you on that one. But what do you think about the tax incentives available for extra large SUV's in excess of 6,000 lbs. that was supposedly intended to help farmers with farm equipment?

    David</blockquote>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AnOldHouse @ Jun 14 2006, 02:53 PM) [snapback]271251[/snapback]</div>
    And his reply:

    <blockquote>Steve Conover to me
    2:56 pm (0 minutes ago)

    Hi David,

    No, I think the tax incentive for extra large SUVs was intended for business owners. I have a friend who took advantage of it. I also think it was wrong; just another example of government do-gooders tinkering with incentives, and almost always generating unintended consequences -- the most ironic of which was the (unachievable) miles-per-gallon minimum they established years ago for station wagons, which did not reduce demand for family-sized vehicles, but did make the station wagon extinct, while spawning the SUV. A superb example of the law of unintended consequences.

    By the way, my web stats service provides links to sites linking to mine; I can see what you post, but I cannot post myself. So I guess that classifies me as a "lurker." And I noticed that the links I provided you did not come through in your post.

    Best wishes,
    Steve</blockquote>
     
  20. zzyzx

    zzyzx Junior Member

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    Ah then it's the usual suspect - a hyper Libertarian who doesn't want anyone telling him what to do ever.
     
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