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Thread: Environmentally friendly vehicles

  1. #1

    Environmentally friendly vehicles

    This has baffled me for a while. Why is it, that with all of the economic troubles the country is in, that being "environmentally friendly" is not more profitable for companies? From what I have read, the electric/gas hybrid cars are not really catching-on (although several auto makers are putting out more models that are "hybrids"). It seems that big Govt. would push for the use of these vehicles and the alternative fuel usage? Do the big oil companies really keep this technology out of our (the general public's) hands? It is mostly evident in the "big 3's" vehicle lineups with a minimal amount of vehicles that offer hybrid technology. I heard that GM had a hover-vehicle prototype that runs 100+ mpg.Do we love our almighty gas that much, or are the oil companies that far up the automakers butt? My wife and I spend about $200/mo. on fuel for our vehicles alone.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    Do the big oil companies really keep this technology out of our (the general public's) hands? ... I heard that GM had a hover-vehicle prototype that runs 100+ mpg. ....My wife and I spend about $200/mo. on fuel for our vehicles alone.
    The old el Guapo would have posted the following: I heard that tinfoil hats help deflect the government mind control rays. The older and wiser el Guapo now just says "Where's your links to the 100mpg Hovercar proof page?" Best of luck - this is what I found http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...vercar&spell=1

    But my guess is Google is really just a Mobil front corporation.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    eG style reply: I know someone who used to buy parts for airplanes that didn't exist. Maybe I can ask them....oh, wait, they told me that everything they used to buy parts for has been declassified and I don't recall hearing about any hovercars in recent years. Nevermind.

    Serious reply: I am an environmental studies major and although my brain is fried at the moment, my recollection is that all of the government's attempts to raise the bar and make car companies create more fuel-efficient vehicles has had one major outcome: cars are built a lot lighter because lighter cars take less gasoline to run (duh!). Of course, that also results in cars getting the front-end crumpled in a 5 mph crash that would only leave a bump in the so-called "bumper" if we still had cars like the one I grew up in that was nicknamed The Tank (a 64 Chevy). It can be argued that this fact also directly contributes to the popularity of SUV's which many people buy for their safety. SUV's generally have much worse gas mileage than cars, so perhaps we are just playing mindgames with ourselves and not actually accomplishing anything of real significance with our attempts to force companies to defy the laws of physics.

  4. #4
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Serious reply: I am an environmental studies major and although my brain is fried at the moment, my recollection is that all of the government's attempts to raise the bar and make car companies create more fuel-efficient vehicles has had one major outcome: cars are built a lot lighter because lighter cars take less gasoline to run (duh!).....
    The first response to gas mileage requirements in the 70's was to build lighter cars. But now there are cars with the same weight as your 64 chevy that get twice the gas mileage, accelerate twice as fast, and can outperform anything available in the 70's. Of course, no cars today (not even SUV's) have the equivalent of a "real" chrome over steel bumper. A mild tap on an SUV "bumper" can cost more than $1,000 to repair.

    Weight is not the only thing that makes you safe. Watch a formula 1 car crash at 200 miles per hour and the driver walk away. Those things weigh next to nothing.

    Perhaps a jaded view of the original questions is that the lack of legislation for better mileage greatly profits the oil companies. If there is ever a legislative choice -- benefit the public or benefit big oil -- big oil wins under the current administration.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Thank you Wulf9.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Cars "built like tanks" on the outside were generally the same on the inside. They way very well have come through a "fender bender" without much more than a scratch but chances are their occupants more than made up for it.

    Cars today are designed to absorb the impact - that way you don't have to. Insurance companies have figured out that it's much cheaper to pay $5k to fix your car than it is to pay for your visits to the neurologist.

    But yeah, "hybrids not catching on" - I don't know where you got that from but hybrid sales are growing at close to 100% per year. There was just a special on one of the local news channels saying that Toyota is having trouble keeping up with demand and that the wait for a new Prius can be up to 8 months at some local dealerships.
    I'd be just as content to check out the hyrbid Civic if i were in the market for a car.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...id-sales_x.htm
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    From what I have read, the electric/gas hybrid cars are not really catching-on
    Where do you people read this stuff?

    Toyota has quadrupled production of the Prius and now is nipping at the heels of the Top 10 cars list each month. (They still don't have enough production capacity to make it there - they need new factories in order to do so). They're selling AT OR ABOVE MSRP.

    This alone shows "they're catching-on" - Toyota doesn't need to do employee discounts, cash-back, or any incentives whatsoever. Even at the new much higher production levels of 100,000 per year, they sell every single one they can make AT OR ABOVE MSRP.

    Honda's not doing QUITE as well with theirs, but they DO sell as well as their normal cars.

    Please for the love of god don't repeat misinformation.

  8. #8
    The big problem I have with the Hybrids is that you really don't save money on it unless you own it for something like 10 years. The extra cost over a traditional car is much more than you would actually save on fuel. I think it is great that people are willing to pay that extra money to help the environment but until the cost comes down (or gas prices go to 3.50-4.00 a gallon) they will not be as popular as they could be. If some company came up with a $15,000-20,000 hybrid that is roomy and runs well, they wouldn't be able to keep the car dealers stocked. The problem is that most hybrids (besides the Prius) are 25,000-40,000
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  9. #9
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I'm in the market now. I looked at Ford FFV Taurus. Only problem is that E-85 is only available in two places in my state. Both stations charge a premium as there is no competition and E-85 is rather a novelty. Add to that worse gas milage, and I'm figuring why bother? Its just another thing that could break on a car.

    BTW FFV = flexible fuel vehicle

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I think they are starting to catch on, but I think they could be a lot better. I only think they are practical if you do a lot of stop and go driving. Don't the batteries have a limited life span? How are the batteries disposed off? Will the accumulation of these batteries end up causing just as much enviro damage? I don't know if these questions have been answered very well (granted, all I know about them is what I have seen at the dealerships and read in reviews). I still think Hydrogen powered vehicles are going to be a better, long term solution, if they can figure out a way to make them safer.

  11. #11

    Thanks, Rush

    Quote Originally posted by cololi
    I think they are starting to catch on, but I think they could be a lot better. I only think they are practical if you do a lot of stop and go driving. Don't the batteries have a limited life span? How are the batteries disposed off? Will the accumulation of these batteries end up causing just as much enviro damage? I don't know if these questions have been answered very well (granted, all I know about them is what I have seen at the dealerships and read in reviews). I still think Hydrogen powered vehicles are going to be a better, long term solution, if they can figure out a way to make them safer.
    ALL of those questions have been answered. Where, exactly, are you getting this stuff? Rush Limbaugh?

    In order:
    1. The Prius gets 51 on the highway. For us (my wife's car), we do better on the highway than in the city, since most of our city trips are very short and on a very cold engine. The 60 city is achievable easily for long city trips - the best mileage is achieved on a trip like my friend does to work - a mixed highway/city trip of 30 minutes each way. He averages 55mpg over his typical tank (measured at the pump in addition to on the monitor).
    2. The Prius' batteries are warranted for 10 years; and the original (2000-2003) Prius has supposedly not had ONE instance of a battery 'needing' replacement, even for some driven over 150,000 miles (some of those were bought back by Toyota for study)
    3. The environmental hazard of those batteries at disposal is no worse than other portions of the automobile (catalytic converter, etc)
    4. Hydrogen vehicles are going nowhere fast - issues of energy density must be resolved before you can even GET to the point where you start worrying about the $100,000 per-vehicle cost today

  12. #12
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    I'm in the market now. I looked at Ford FFV Taurus. Only problem is that E-85 is only available in two places in my state. Both stations charge a premium as there is no competition and E-85 is rather a novelty. Add to that worse gas milage, and I'm figuring why bother? Its just another thing that could break on a car.

    BTW FFV = flexible fuel vehicle
    Does the FFV Taurus cost more than the regular one? I didn't try to buy one, I wanted the six CD changer and it happened to be Flex Fuel. We have E85 here in town and it runs $.30 cheaper than regular. I have not seen lower mileage in town, but Highway mileage is about 1 mpg less with E85. I wouldn't buy another Taurus, but it is a quality issue and not an E85 one.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    ALL of those questions have been answered. Where, exactly, are you getting this stuff? Rush Limbaugh?

    In order:
    1. The Prius gets 51 on the highway. For us (my wife's car), we do better on the highway than in the city, since most of our city trips are very short and on a very cold engine. The 60 city is achievable easily for long city trips - the best mileage is achieved on a trip like my friend does to work - a mixed highway/city trip of 30 minutes each way. He averages 55mpg over his typical tank (measured at the pump in addition to on the monitor).
    2. The Prius' batteries are warranted for 10 years; and the original (2000-2003) Prius has supposedly not had ONE instance of a battery 'needing' replacement, even for some driven over 150,000 miles (some of those were bought back by Toyota for study)
    3. The environmental hazard of those batteries at disposal is no worse than other portions of the automobile (catalytic converter, etc)
    4. Hydrogen vehicles are going nowhere fast - issues of energy density must be resolved before you can even GET to the point where you start worrying about the $100,000 per-vehicle cost today
    I'm going to echo Doinky's comments. A family friend of mine works at a large Toyota dealership in San Antonio. When I was picking a car, I asked him a whole bunch of questions about the Prius. He said that they have not had a single Prius come in with battery-related issues and that they show signs of having longevity to rival some diesel engines as long as they are maintained. He said that most of the warranty claims they have had were air conditioning related. He has a 2001 Prius that is pushing 180K now. Due to the mileage (180K), he figures that he has covered the car cost vs. fuel cost by about $2000. He did say though that most of the buyers are more concerned with being "green" and the public perception that comes with it. Being a mechanic, he bought it because he was facinated by the drive system. He is considering tinkering with it a little to see how much he can increase the mileage--some people have tweeked these Prius's up into the 100 mpg range. He also said that his dealership can't keep a Prius on the lot for more than a week; the only reason they stay that long is that the dealer will hold it from a buyer so they can display it for a little while.

    I don't generally consider the Prius overpriced because it has many of the same amenities and interior room as a Camry, though with that cool futuristic design. Had I known ten months ago what I know now, I would have bought that Prius instead of my sporty car. We may look at one of those for my wifey.

    My feeling is that hybrids are an interim solution for about the next 30-40 years, with continued improvements in battery technology to increase mileage. Hydrogen has an awful lot of hurdles to overcome, particularly with fuel distribution infrastructure. My guess is that you will first see a hybrid with a strong electric motor and power supply with a hydrogen engine compliment.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Doinky,

    I clearly stated that my knowledge is limited to what I have read about the vehicles. I just don't see hybrids as a solution to our current and worsening oil dependency. I agree that the vehicles that are designed to be more fuel efficient (like the prius) do very well. I don't think vehicles like the Ford Escape hybrid, which, according to the sticker on the car last week was only 1-2 mpg better than the gas version, are doing much. What does that accomplish?

    I still think hydrogen is a viable fuel source that needs to be further developed (not just for vehicles).

    And I can't stand Rush Limbaugh. I am one of 5 liberal in the state of UT.
    Last edited by cololi; 23 Aug 2005 at 6:45 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by cololi
    Doinky,

    I clearly stated that I didn't know much about them. I just don't see hybrids as a solution to our current and worsening oil dependency. I agree that the vehicles that are designed to be more fuel efficient (like the prius) do very well. I don't think vehicles like the Ford Escape hybrid, which, according to the sticker on the car last week was only 1-2 mpg better than the gas version, are doing much. What does that accomplish?
    Now the goalposts have been moved.

    And by the way, you're wrong about the Escape Hybrid too. Using EPA numbers from http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm, the best normal Escape (with stick shift - I'm amazed they even make one!) gets 24/29, while the hybrid version from http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bestworstEPAtrucks.htm gets 36/31.

    The ONLY way your statement holds is to take the upper bound AND to only talk about the highway fuel economy -- i.e., if you were seeking to make the worst possible case for hybrids while ignoring the reality that the city number is 12 (yes, TWELVE) mpg higher than even the STICK-SHIFT 2WD version of the vehicle.

    So again, you're either speaking from ignorance or you're being willfully misleading. Either way, please cut it out.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Title:

    [
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    So again, you're either speaking from ignorance or you're being willfully misleading. Either way, please cut it out.
    I don't mean for this to turn into some kind of debate, just throwing my two cents in. My original post was mainly asking questions, which you answered.

    I was at a dealer last week looking at a vehicle for my city to purchase. They had a hybrid in the showroom and a gas version on the lot. I looked at the fuel economy ratings on both and they were only a few numbers different, with city higher than highway. I didn't look into the details of the car (engine size, 2wd/4wd etc. because I was there to pick up quotes on other vehicles), just the numbers on the window sticker so I am ignorant in making the comparison. That is all.

    I have just as much right to express my opinions as you do. You clearly have done more research on this subject, which is great, maybe you have a more informed opinion on the subjuect. So, if hybrids are able to reduce our overall consumption of fuel, doesn't it just put off the inevitable of eventually running out of fossil fuels?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Being a mechanic, he bought it because he was facinated by the drive system. He is considering tinkering with it a little to see how much he can increase the mileage--some people have tweeked these Prius's up into the 100 mpg range. He also said that his dealership can't keep a Prius on the lot for more than a week; the only reason they stay that long is that the dealer will hold it from a buyer so they can display it for a little while.

    could be rumor, but i heard some guy got his up to 250 mpg. my question is if these mechanics can tweek the engines to get in the 100 mpg range then why don't the car-makers get in the game?



    side note: i am very interested in buying a hybrid. if i weren't in school i'd probably be out buying one as we speak. personally, i wouldn't be buying the hybrid for the savings, but for the chance to have a slightly more environmentally friendly car.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by Repo Man
    I think it is great that people are willing to pay that extra money to help the environment but until the cost comes down (or gas prices go to 3.50-4.00 a gallon) they will not be as popular as they could be. If some company came up with a $15,000-20,000 hybrid that is roomy and runs well, they wouldn't be able to keep the car dealers stocked.
    The Civic hybrid is $19,900 and last I heard they can't keep the dealers stocked. There are waitlists in most areas.

  19. #19
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    So again, you're either speaking from ignorance or you're being willfully misleading. Either way, please cut it out.
    Moderator note:

    No.

    You cut it out. It's one thing to provide someone with the correct information, but there is no need for your condescending attitude. Being a jerk is not tolerated.

    Play nice or don't bother responding in this thread anymore.


    Last edited by NHPlanner; 24 Aug 2005 at 9:51 AM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    You cut it out. It's one thing to provide someone with the correct information, but there is no need for your condescending attitude. Being a jerk is not tolerated.
    ]
    If you've spent any time at all on hybrid threads on the internet, you'll notice that the stuff that the thread-starter and the other guy posted are commonly used to discredit hybrid technology (usually from people who have antipathy towards Toyota and Honda), and it's usually not innocent (i.e., they know what they're doing). To waste time being civil to people who are attempting to mislead (or, conversely, to waste time being civil to people who know they don't know what they're talking about and yet talk about it anyways as if they do, is foolish).

  21. #21
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    If you've spent any time at all on hybrid threads on the internet, you'll notice that the stuff that the thread-starter and the other guy posted are commonly used to discredit hybrid technology (usually from people who have antipathy towards Toyota and Honda), and it's usually not innocent (i.e., they know what they're doing). To waste time being civil to people who are attempting to mislead (or, conversely, to waste time being civil to people who know they don't know what they're talking about and yet talk about it anyways as if they do, is foolish).
    Moderator note:
    This is an urban planning forum, not a special interest hybrid/auto technology forum so you can't expect the level of expertise to be the same. We appreciate your knowledge and input in correcting common misunderstandings that exist surrounding hybrid cars but to the way in which you put people down while doing so will not be tolerated. You have no proof that posters are wilfully spreading misinformation. There will be no further warnings from this moderator.

  22. #22
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    If you've spent any time at all on hybrid threads on the internet, you'll notice that the stuff that the thread-starter and the other guy posted are commonly used to discredit hybrid technology (usually from people who have antipathy towards Toyota and Honda), and it's usually not innocent (i.e., they know what they're doing). To waste time being civil to people who are attempting to mislead (or, conversely, to waste time being civil to people who know they don't know what they're talking about and yet talk about it anyways as if they do, is foolish).
    Moderator note:
    And with this kind of reply, after a yellow card, you've earned a day in the penalty box. User suspended 24 hours for being a jerk.

    Last edited by NHPlanner; 24 Aug 2005 at 11:22 AM.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  23. #23
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Does the FFV Taurus cost more than the regular one? I didn't try to buy one, I wanted the six CD changer and it happened to be Flex Fuel. We have E85 here in town and it runs $.30 cheaper than regular. I have not seen lower mileage in town, but Highway mileage is about 1 mpg less with E85. I wouldn't buy another Taurus, but it is a quality issue and not an E85 one.

    FFV is a free option. I buy my cars typically one year old. My brother has a few dealerships and he told me that I could get a FFV for $500 less than a non FFV, so indirectly, when you sell the car you take an additional $500 hit.

    I started to write I've never had any problems with Tauruses, buit I self ocrrected myself. I have. I just find the car's size and gas milage appealing enough to put up with the once-a-year-major repair.

    Iowa is one of the most progressive places for E-85 (not surprisingly). You have nine gas stations listed in the EPA's guide. Michigan only has two. California, for as many people and all the crying you hear from self-appointed celebrety envirionmental experts about smog, alternative fuels and such, only has ONE in the whole state!

    Here E-85 costs more, and in cold climates it can be 20 percent less fuel efficent.

  24. #24
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner

    Here E-85 costs more, and in cold climates it can be 20 percent less fuel efficent.
    I wouldn't use it if it cost more, I have been running it since March so I don't have any cold weather emperical evidence yet. It does seem to start a little harder when it is colder, so I will rerun the numbers this winter.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  25. #25
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    The Civic hybrid is $19,900 and last I heard they can't keep the dealers stocked. There are waitlists in most areas.


    hmmmm, i hope to be employed and able to look for a new car about a year from now. maybe i should put my name on a list now....



    vrooooooooooooooooom.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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