With the introduction of the Yamaha Gen-Ryu hybrid concept motorcycle, we keep our eyes on the topic of hybrids and yesterday a few articles appeared pointing to a website that underscores the willful misdirection used by some hybrid activists. (That wasn’t the intention of these other articles but it is clear when you follow the links)
A Wired news article points to the Union of Concerned Scientists (a hearty Thank You to Wired for actually calling them an environmental activist group!) where some hybrids are criticized for not being hybrid enough. The group uses a range of factors to classify hybrids as “mild” or “full” or various other names. But right on the page where this classification chart is located they begin by criticizing GM for building a hybrid pickup that only adds an extra 1 or 2 mpg and accuses the truck of “poisoning the hybrid truck market, convincing consumers that all they can expect is a 1 to 2 mpg increase for their large investment.” Hmm … the language is obviously very scientific and detached, it also looks like the Union of Concerned Scientists can’t do basic math!
As I pointed out here before:
Suppose you buy a little hybrid version of a car that gets 40mpg compared to 30mpg in a non hybrid version, 10 more mpg, saving lots of gas right? Suppose you have a truck that gets 10mpg and a hybrid version gets only 12mpg. Still terrible right? Do a little math. For any given number of miles driven, the truck saves far more gas than the little car. If you’re a fellow that needs a truck for your business you can’t just stop driving so you get a hybrid truck. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, the old truck used 1500 gallons while the hybrid used 1250 gallons, a saving of 250 gallons. The little hybrid car in 15,000 miles uses 375 versus 500 gallons, a saving of only 125 gallons.
In this example, the truck saves twice as much gas as the car! The savings advantage for the truck increase as miles driven go up. But this isn’t good enough for the the hybrid advocates. They not only want you to drive a hybrid, they want you to drive the right kind of hybrid, … their kind of hybrid and if you’re driving a truck you are helping to “poison the market.” Looks like they’re actually anti truck, too. This type of analysis would heap scorn on a hybrid bus or semi truck that goes from maybe 5 mpg to 6 because it isn’t getting huge mileage even though it saves enormous amounts of fuel.
If you want to save gasoline, the truck does an excellent job. On the other hand, if you’re an environmentalist with an activist agenda trying to eliminate large vehicles (after all if you don’t need one, no one else does either) you focus on pure mileage numbers for a specific vehicle, ignoring any possible need for vehicles other than those you have approved. Above all, assume few people will do this simple comparison and never mention it, otherwise someone might think you’re being a bit selective in your hybrid analysis. But then again, maybe these “scientists” skipped math class, maybe they’re the “Union of Concerned Social Scientists.”