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Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Hygasm

There is a new blog in town, pumping out all hybrids all the time. A project of the far left Union of Concerned Scientists, a cabal of college professors with leftist tendencies, the HybridBlog's purpose is to advocate hybrids, and also apparently to attack auto manufacturers for not converting to their religion more quickly.

The greenies over at UCS suffer from the usual progressive disorder: they don't understand (don't respect) basic economics. The automakers need to make a profit, to invest in future products. GM can't drop everything and go pump out hybrids, they would go broke. There needs to be demand, and so far the public is not entirely sold. With good reason--hybrids don't pay for themselves based on fuel savings alone, unless there are large tax incentives.

Rather than hammer on the industry, and advocate more government regulation, what UCS should do is to spend their time and money convincing the car buying public to buy hybrids. Convince the middle class families in the suburbs that they ought to be paying $3000 more for their vehicles, because it will purportedly help stop global warming.

In honor of HybridBlog and UCS, I am now coining the term "hygasm" (TM). A hygasm is the wave of elation that passes over an environmentalist when he discusses how great hybrid vehicles are.


Banker4GW said...

This is the greatest commentary on hybrids yet! I love it. Why don't more people realize that the cost to save a few gallons of gas is very high. I live in San Antonio TX and know two ladies that have new Prius sedans that have been very dissapointed due to the just average MPG. What people don't realize is that you have much of a highway commute and live in an area that requires A/C then your MPG suffers - dropping down to that of a traditional economy car.

A way over hyped car if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

The problem with hybrids today is that they don't work as well as advertised. I rented a Prius for three days while my car was in the shop and the fuel economy that I got was a little over 40 mpg (which is consistent with what several magazines have got on their long-term test cars). At that mileage, it would take me over 15 years to recover the extra cost of the Prius in fuel savings.

Nothing against hybrids at all. Maybe subsequent generations of hybrid technology will improve this - at which point I would seriously consider buying one. If I moved to an urban area and ended up doing a lot of city driving, I would consider one. It is just that they simply do not work too well for my typical commute.


The Angry Engineer said...

The big problem with hybrids isn't the monetary cost of the additional hardware - it's the fact that the cost is derived from the amount of energy consumed during the process of manufacturing semiconductors and chemical batteries.

Compare this to the cost of diesels, where the cost is largely due to marketing reasons, and not "real" costs incurred during the manufacturing process (in other words, a Duramax or Powerstroke does not cost $5K more than a gasoline V8).

This isn't to suggest that diesels are the way out of our current mess, but certainly hybrids ain't gonna cut it unless we can create the base materials much more efficiently.

Anonymous said...

I've read that, when using the defroster, the motor goes to gas-only operation because the electic motor can't handle the electricity draw.
Also, the batteries are good 'til approx. 100k miles, then need replacing. Will ANYONE in their right mind want to buy a used one? What do the batteries cost?
Lastly, would you want to be a rescue person who has to pull someone out, especially if there's water present?
My bet is, short term, clean diesel and, long term, hydrogen cells.