Have You Hugged A Hummer Today?

Not sure how accurate this article is, or what their methodology is for calculating the “dust-to-dust energy cost” (I only skimmed it), but it’s interesting…


Comparing this data, the study concludes that overall hybrids cost more in terms of overall energy consumed than comparable non-hybrid vehicles. But even more surprising, smaller hybrids’ energy costs are greater than many large, non-hybrid SUVs.

For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid.

14 thoughts on “Have You Hugged A Hummer Today?”

  1. To be honest, I think you should wait for a Flex-Fuel Hummer to be introduced. Within the next few years gas with 85% ethanol will become more and more popular as normal gas prices go higher and higher. In brazil it costs $0.35USD a gallon, mainly because all of brazil’s vehicle’s are Flex-Fuel. GMC, Ford, and Chevy are already starting to sell Flex-Fuel cars, I can’t imagine hummer will be too far behind.

  2. just drive anything you want, send the extra to the bunny huggers, damn we forgot its your dime.

  3. Gotta call bullshit on this one Shawn.

    Nothing wrong with driving a Hummer but the study won’t overcome the fact that it’s still a gas sucking hog.



  4. If you want a car with the best “dust to dust” rating, probably best would be one with an aluminium body, since that metal is expensive enough that the car could profitably (without subsidy) be recycled at the end of its life.

    Still, that study sounds very suspect, has it appeared in any peer-reviewed journals? Last I heard, energy was measured in joules, not US Dollars.

  5. Pretty sure it’s bullshit: “Reason Foundation has received $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.” ( http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=63 )
    WTF is dust-to-dust anyway? Does it include maintenace, repairs, miles driven, etc…?

    Personally I couldn’t give a crap less about the manufacturing costs of a veihicle. What are the average yearly costs of driving it? What is the MSRP? How much is it worth in 5yrs?

  6. “Free minds and free markets” – can err !

    According to the article, the main reason why the “dust to dust” cost of a “specialty product like [a] hybrid” is higher than that of a conventional, mass-produced “gas-guzzling monster like a Hummer ” is higher is that the commuting cost of the people designing the technology is taken into account.

    Ford, which needs to please the free markets in quarterly reports, accounts for these costs as direct unit costs. Therefore, in the short term, SUVs mean bigger profits.

    Toyota accounts for the design costs as an investment. They expect to recoup them over the next twenty years as the technology matures and they can cash in on their technological leadership.

    Incidentally, the market capitalization of the Ford Motor company probably is in the same ballpark as the property value of toyotas company golfcourse near their headquarter.

    So much for the wisdom of the free markets.

    Admittedly, given todays battery technology and price, and todays gas prices, a hybrid is not the cheapest means to get to work each morning.

    And I am not even sure that the hybrid technology, as used in the prius, will ever the optimal technology, compared to the concept of “mild hybrid” which batteries of a capacity just sufficient to recoup the energy of a couple of braking maneuvers and to assist a very small diesel engine in acceleration.

    However, toyota is collecting experience in this field, and the comparatively small sums they spent on this technology have probably already paid back in PR gains and image perception and help them sell their other cars.

    In the long run, only a massive reduction in vehicle mass is going to help improve MPG-ratings above 100mpg, which is required to keep personal transport affordable for most people not just in industrialized countries, but in China and India too.

    In another generation, only Arnold Schwarzenegger will be able to afford commuting in a Hummer.

  7. One thing conveniently left out of this study, and the thing that is the *real* point of driving a hybrid:

    Energy *cost* does not equal amount of pollution.

    Burning gas in your car is about as dirty as energy use gets… spewing crap out the tailpipe and right into our lungs.

    Let’s assume the energy cost to produce a Golf may be higher than an H3, though this isn’t explained at all, which makes the study very suspect in that regard.

    One can safely assume, with its lower gas mileage, that a sizable chunk of an H3’s “energy cost” is burnt up in its engine, burning gas.

    Since the other vehicles get much higher gas mileage, their “energy costs” are produced at the factory, etc, which use much, much cleaner energy sources. Even a up-to-date coal-fired energy plant spews out much less pollution per watt than a car engine, simply because it’s easier to make power in a clean way on that scale.

    Are you confused? Look at it this way: if some company made a car that used 100% energy from the sun to produce their vehicle, which would be very expensive, but almost totally non-polluting.

    See? This is obviously a completely absurd stretching of the actual case, but the fact is that energy cost does NOT necessarily equal amount of bad pollution, especially when looking at clogged metropolitan areas.

    And in that respect, this “study” is very misleading — it would even seemto be intentionally misleading, which makes me again suspect the entire study was probably quite biased towards a certain conclusion, and that makes for really bad science…

  8. I found your caveat… skim the report itself. I know, 470 pages is pretty deep, but I’m reasonably certain that some bad fish is being peddled here (it’s in the zip file linked by the website I put in my “home page” link above; I assure you that it is not, in fact, my web site!).

    Check out their calculations on the longevity of a vehicle, something they call “Estimate Life in Miles.”

    From the document: `Estimated Miles doesn’t mean the vehicle is “used up” and has no life remaining, only that this is the approximate mileage at the time it is removed from the streets as a daily-use vehicle and sent for disposal as either a source of parts or eventually scrapped.’

    Here’s the big swindle; the hybrid vehicles are all listed with estimate lives ~110,000 miles… for example, 109K for the Prius. Compare that to a Chevy Blazer, or Jeep Wrangler at > 200K, nearly twice as much.

    What the hell?

    It’s a pretty bold claim that a Toyota vehicle will probably be “removed from the streets” and “sent for disposal” or “eventually scrapped” in half the life of a Blazer or Wrangler. Even the mechanically-beleaguered Isuzu Trooper is given a 209K lifetime (note that I’m using K to mean 1000’s of miles, not K=km)

    There is pretty good evidence that the Prius (and indeed, most of Toyota’s lineup) holds up better than most of DaimlerChrysler’s vehicles in the long run (look at reliability ratings via Consumer Reports, or Edmunds).

    In particular, INEL performed a study on hybrid vehicles, including the Prius, driving two those out to 160K. That
    was just the end of their test, both vehicles still in working order (only one tested vehicle, one of the two Honda Insights, actually crapped out at 146K and couldn’t complete the test without $$$ drivetrain repairs).

    Also, fleets of cabs in Canada have reported Prius taxis operating with low difficulty well in excess of 300,000 km, with the highest at 410,000 (186K and 250K, respectively).

    That is all verifiable, google search for “INEL” and “hybrid” to find out what the US DoE already knows about hybrid reliability, and the taxi information is reported on several hybrid-related web sites (as well, as Canadian Driver, which I think, is like their “Car & Driver”).

    Possibly the reason for Reason’s interest could be related to ExxonMobil money, but the real attention should focus on CNW Market Research, who produced the report.

    They claim to be sort of a clearinghouse for this sort of data (but not in an aggregated way, excepting these sorts of reports). Access to data that the CNW Marketing Research uses for their reports is subject to hundreds of dollars per year paid to them in subscription fees…

  9. I know, I know… this entry was more of a joke than anything. I’m sure their logic is seriously flawed if they are trying to spew that a Hummer is more eco friendly than a Civic hybrid. 🙂

  10. Shawn, This is article perverse.

    but i’m glad your blog showed up top on the list when doing a search on the article’s title, which was handed to me by a friend… it gives a hybrid owner an opportunity to respond, so thank you!

    “If you want a car with the best ‘dust to dust’ rating, probably best would be one with an aluminium body…”

    do a google on “honda insight body material”

    I drive an aluminum body honda insight hybrid and have for 85,000 miles at a life-time mpg average of 51.2 mpg. Who is killing my car??

    It’s a bunch of crap that the EPA lies about the ratings. The problem, and the people who complain know it! – you drive like a crack fiend!! I’m 30 and average at 5-10 over the limit yet conserve my energy (don’t follow to closly and the rest is easy) and still get the EPA ratings for freeway/city for my car… 57/56. period. no mods, just keep your tires inflated. it’s easy as taking care of your car and the other cars (and drivers) around you.

    man people should pay for writing such crap as this as it’s undermining the H U G E efforts car manufacturers are putting forth against the current to provide the market with more fuel efficient vehicals.

    I have to say it’s really relieving to see that, Shawn, you posted this “more of a joke than anything”… but i’m sure you’re in the minority of hummer owners who would read an article like this and agree with you.

    whoever wrote or funded this chunk of crap has some seriously questionable motives.

    “… ‘buy a Chevy Aveo,’ says Spinella. ‘It delivers the same fuel economy as a Prius, but at half the price’…” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH clearly Spinella has never actually gotten behind the wheel of both cars. Having renting both cars on numerous occasions i consider it ludacris to say the aveo “delivers the same fuel economy as a Prius” that’s complete bull. an aveo has a 12 gallon tank.. i typically was able to get about 300-350 miles to the tank. 25ish mpg… vs the ’05 prius models i’ve rented which also have a 12 gallon tank (11.9) which i’ve extended to.. 600 miles… or TWICE the efficiency of the aveo…

    who IS this person “Spinella”??

    thanks for posting this in your blog, and hopefully more people find this and are able to see there are motives behind those who funded the article.. hell it’s not like the oil industry is the biggest industry on the planet or anything right now..

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