George Will: Fuzzy climate math

Fuzzy climate math


The Prius hybrid is, of course, fuel-efficient. There are, however, environmental costs to mining and smelting (in Canada) 1,000 tons a year of zinc for the battery-powered second motor, and the shipping of the zinc 10,000 miles — trailing a cloud of carbon dioxide — to Wales for refining and then to China for turning it into the component that is then sent to a battery factory in Japan.

Opinions differ as to whether acid rain from the Canadian mining and smelting operation is killing vegetation that once absorbed carbon dioxide. But a report from CNW Marketing Research ("Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles from Concept to Disposal") concludes that in "dollars per lifetime mile," a Prius (expected life: 109,000 miles) costs $3.25, compared with $1.95 for a Hummer H3 (expected life: 207,000 miles).

The CNW report states that a hybrid makes economic and environmental sense for a purchaser living in the Los Angeles basin, where fuel costs are high and smog is worrisome. But environmental costs of the hybrid are exported from the basin.

Comment: I don't see myself ever buying an SUV (the Hummer H3!). I'm actually pretty impressed with the Prius. Dave P. at church has one and is impressed with it. But until they perfect the hybrid battery so that it has a lifetime of 200,000 miles, I probably won't buy one. Here's the link to the study: CNW's 'Dust to Dust' Automotive Energy Report. Be sure to scroll down to the attachments. I read these two and they are very interesting: "Why 100,000 miles for the Prius" & "DUST PDF VERSION".

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