Toyota Prius Harms the Environment More than a Hummer
Posted by Vogeler on December 1, 2007
Sounds strange, I know, but here’s a link to the article.
With the new, more realistic, and stricter EPA guidelines for how fuel economy is calculated, the highway economy for the Prius drops to 45 mpg, compared to 37 mpg for the Chevrolet Aveo, which costs around $13,000 nicely equipped, before rebates. The Prius? Similarly equipped, around $23,000 before rebates. To recoup the cost of a Prius over an Aveo, lets take a look at the math. Both vehicles have a nearly 12-gallon tank (both at 11.9) so we’ll use 12 for the sake of ease. The average person drives 12,000 miles per year, or not quite 231 miles a week. Again, let’s use 231 for ease of math.
So, on one tank of gas, at $3 a gallon (12 gallons X $3 = $36):
Prius: 540 miles (45 mpg X 12 gallon fuel capacity) for $36, refill every 2.34 weeks (540 miles/ tank divided by 231 miles driven/week), total refills 22.22 times $36 /refill: total yearly cost for fuel: approx $800
Aveo: 444 miles (37 mpg X 12 gallon fuel capacity) for $36, refill every 1.92 weeks (444 miles/ tank divided by 231 miles driven/week), total refills 27.1 times $36 / refill: total yearly cost for fuel: approx $975
So the yearly fuel savings of the Prius over the Aveo is approximately $175. You’d have to drive it for 63 years to recoup the cost of the vehicle. Not so good a deal, anymore. (of course, the numbers I used here are “perfect world” numbers; they are a guideline, nothing more. Your mileage and savings may vary. So don’t sue me.)
But what about those folks who bought one because its better for the environment to use less fuel?
That’s true. But the problem is with the nickel in the Prius’ electric battery. This metal is mined and smelted at a plant in Ontario, in a town called Sudbury. The area around Sudbury has become a “dead zone” completely devoid of plant life. The acid rain from the plant is the cause.
Also, for one battery, the nickel goes from Ontario, then to a refinery in Europe, then to China, then to Japan. Each step of the way, some new step is performed in the process of making the battery. Finally it returns to the US to be installed in a shiny new Prius for some poor naive person to buy.
The Aveo is not, to my knowledge, considered a “green car”, I was using it for comparison because the article mentioned it in conjunction with the Prius, and because I work for a General Motors dealership, I had tons of info on the Aveo to use and double-check. So I am not advocating the Aveo as a viable green alternative.
Please, don’t believe the hype touted by Toyota commercials (see my previous post about education). Do the research for yourself, and figure out which vehicles truly are better for the environment. Better yet, find people at work with whom to carpool. Use public transportation when possible. Walk whenever possible. Do whatever you can to lessen your impact. Small steps, put together, equal big gains.