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May 062010
 

Whatever you want to call it, the green movement seems here to stay. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric and hydrogen power are monikers that seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue whether they know something about cars or not. But to us at RevdCars.net, it’s the same story. Oh yes, they are going to be the be-all, end-all solution to our reliance on fossil fuel, clean up the environment and turn back the tides of global warming / greenhouse gases.

Bollocks.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I reject the notion of global warming. All scientific facts point to it and we support any movement that helps reduce the impact of mankind on the environment. But what really is the truth? The fact remains that the majority of electricity produced via “green” methods in the United States amounts to only about 15%. That means that for every mile driven in an electric vehicle, 85% of it was based on fossil fuels of one sort or another. Probably electricity produced by a coal burning electric plant. And what sort of carbon footprint do the batteries represent? Can we dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner? How much fossil fuel was burned to make the batteries themselves? Of course, no manufacturer is going to pony up this bit of information.

Then there’s the matter of sheer driving exhilaration. The performance numbers don’t amount of much (well, nothing at all really). Handling is probably hampered by the heavy batteries and styling is a snooze fest at best. And the total driving range? What about the infrastructure necessary to recharge batteries as one’s driving along the highway? Who will pay for this? Tax payer?

Here’s our idea. Drive less by combining errands into one trip. Live closer to work, school or wherever else you need to be on a frequent basis. Purchase a more fuel efficient car – there are vehicles like the Honda Fit which are pretty fun to drive, practical, CHEAP and get great gas mileage. What else? Car pool. Take public transportation whenever it’s possible and or efficient to do so. Park the car and walk your fat ass into the fast food joint instead of idling and wasting gas in the drive thru lane. These are just some of the simple behavioral changes that we all can make to spend and pollute less. Technology isn’t going to change human behavior nor have an impact on the environment when it’s still burning fossil fuels.

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Mar 242009
 

prius_driver

I hate Prius drivers. I have a disdain for 95% of them. Why do I hate them so? For one, they really aren’t saving the environment even though they would like to think so. Second, “hypermileage” doesn’t work when you are holding up rush hour traffic. Finally, the Prius isn’t a performance car.

It seems that many Prius (and hybrid) drivers have a collective chip on their shoulders. “I’m saving the environment,” they say. But are they really saving the environment? There is much debate whether the hybrid actually has a lower total carbon footprint that the gasoline powered vehicle – check out this article on hybrid economics and hybrid “gimmicks” for futher food for thought. And there are many diesel-powered vehicles in Europe that achieve far higher fuel efficiency than any hybrid in America – which begs the question… why aren’t these cars in the US? But let’s move on from this rather difficult and complex debate and talk about the latter two reasons why I hate Prius drivers.

Hypermileage is the practice of trying to achieve the absolute highest fuel efficiency possible by accelerating slowly (we’re talking a snail’s pace) and trying not to brake often, thereby maintaining vehicle momentum and avoiding reacceleration. That’s fine and dandy if you are on a lonely road or there’s little traffic to speak of. But certain drivers choose to do this IN TRAFFIC! Hello? People have places to go, people to see and things to do. Your hypermileage tactics are slowing down everyone else around you. On-road courtesy dictates that you drive with the flow of traffic. If you aren’t willing to abide by this commonly accepted rule, then get off the road!

And what about certain Prius drivers taking their hybrid into hyperspace?! The Prius is designed a specific way with specific parts. What is the point of slapping on 17-inch wheels and wider tires on a Hybrid? You’re adding more rotating mass / unsprung weight and greater rolling resistance. You’re defeating the very purpose of a hybrid! And what about those who drive their Prius as if it was a 500hp, AWD sports car? More than once I have seen a Prius whizzing by me at 90mph+ and some in the rain no less! If you want to drive fast, sell your Prius and get a car that has more than 300hp. The Prius was never designed to drive at Millenium Falcon speeds nor will it handle like an X-Wing Fighter no matter what you do.

So please, Prius drivers, pay attention to those around you or slow the hell down, whichever may apply to YOU. Or get off the road.

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Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. They do not represent the attitudes and opinions of RevdCars.com

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