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Australian Climate Madness

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The pointlessness of a Prius

The latest advert for the Toyota Prius claims that by driving one for 10 years or 100,000km, you can save 7.5 tonnes of CO2 as compared to a regular petrol-engined car.

Let's put that into perspective. If you drove a Prius for, say, 70,000 years, you would save the same amount of CO2 that a large coal-fired power station generates in a day.

Moral of the story: don't fool yourself into thinking that driving a butt-ugly hybrid car is anything but a feel-good gesture.


  • Does this calculation of Prius use only take into account the actual use or also the manufacture and eventual destruction/disposal of its components???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 12, 2008 at 10:58 AM  

  • I believe Toyota's figure of 0.75 t/y is simply the reduction in emissions during the life of the car, and doesn't include manufacture and/or disposal (which I guess would be broadly similar for all passenger cars?).

    By Blogger Simon from Sydney, At November 12, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

  • Does Toyota's figure include the CO2 from the coal fired generators that will be used to provide the electricity to "fuel" the car?


    By Blogger John van Popta, At November 14, 2008 at 5:29 AM  

  • Almost certainly not, which erodes the saving even more!

    By Blogger Simon from Sydney, At November 14, 2008 at 11:32 AM  

  • Simon reckons that manufacture and disposal costs would be roughly similar for most passenger vehicles.
    Apparently the environmental costs of manufacturing the batteries are devastatingly high. See this article:
    According to this 'Dust to Dust' report ( the environment would be better off if we'd all drive a Hummer

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 14, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

  • Thanks, Dutchie. Brilliant article. I suspected as much. I was giving Toyota the benefit of the doubt... ;-)

    By Blogger Simon from Sydney, At November 14, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

  • Hey don't diss my Prius -- it is very clever technology and JVP it doesn't use any coal fire electricity it uses the the wasted energy normal cars let go as heat during braking or coasting. BTW the Dust to Dust report was as biased as a Greenpeace website -- claiming that Prius don't last longer than 5 years or only drive 5000km pa -- I've had mine for 4.5 years and drived 120,000kn (never been in the shop except for routine service) and there are some in the US that have broken the 500,000km barrier without replacing the battery. And the analysis of the battery plant pollution was based on a 1st generation nickel plant from 15 years ago that never supplied a single Prius battery -- the 3rd gneneration technology is much better and the batteries are mostly recyclable (Totyota buy them back if the car is wrecked in a crash).

    OK you can claim it is ugly but then I think most boxy 4WDs are ugly, but don't diss the driving experience until you given it a go -- easily the quietest and smoothest ride I've ever had (previous car was a Merc)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 18, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

  • Excellent reason for closing down that power plant and replacing say about 60 million gas guzzlers with hybids. Good thoughts

    By Blogger EliRabett, At November 22, 2008 at 11:56 PM  

  • Except of course Eli, that you'd starve to death when those 60 million gas guzzlers won't be delivering your food.

    Here's one just for you Eli:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 23, 2008 at 2:27 PM  

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