Really Scary Austrianism at National Review
The Future of Housing Prices

Washington Post Death Spiral Watch: Prius vs. George F. Will

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Cecil Adams reports:

The Straight Dope: Are electric cars really more energy efficient? Do "green" vehicles have a worse impact on the environment than a Hummer?: An HEV uses around 0.48-0.74 kilowatt-hours per mile, while PHEVs in electric mode and BEVs use 0.18-0.46 kWh per mile. By contrast, a conventional car getting 25 MPG uses 1.35 kWh/mile. To put the issue in more familiar terms, a PHEV or BEV offers fuel economy equivalent to as much as 188 miles per gallon.... PHEV and BEV cars... their energy can come from renewable sources... if the energy source is fossil fuel, installing state-of-the-art emission controls on a few big power plants is way easier than installing them on hundreds of millions of motor vehicles. What's more, since many electric plants use natural gas, CO2 emissions from power generation are a modest 1.27 pounds of CO2 per kWh -- 1.9 pounds per productive kWh once we account for losses during battery charging and so on. Compare that to gasoline, which produces the equivalent of 3.9 pounds of CO2 per productive kWh.

What about the Prius and its allegedly grim environmental impact? The cause of the controversy seems to be a report called "Dust to Dust" by Oregon-based CNW Marketing Research. The report claims a Prius has a higher lifetime energy cost than a Hummer, an assertion cited by George Will in 2007 in his syndicated newspaper column. But the report is ludicrous. It evidently was self-published, lists no authors, quotes no technical literature, never explains its methodology, and contains numerous unsupported and often bizarre assertions. (Sample: a Prius will have a life span of only 109,000 miles whereas an H1 will last for 379,000 miles, apparently the basis for the contention that the Hummer%u2019s per-mile costs are lower.) Only a fool or a commentator with an ax to grind would take such nonsense seriously...