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RE: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

Enviro-Mich message from "Link, Terry" <link@mail.lib.msu.edu>

Interesting conversations here, lots of wisdom and insights. Oh yes, speaking of Insights, I drive a 2000. In summer I average about 64 mpg. Winter drops to mid 50's. On a recent speaking tour of Indiana and Kentucky I averaged over 70 for the 1100 mile journey. What I haven't  read from any other hybrid drivers (but then I'm skimming only some of the messages) is how driving a hybrid, partly because of the readouts, brings you to a  mindfulness about HOW you are driving. This impacts the mpg more than folks realize. Minor changes in road elevation and surface, wind conditions, and speed of acceleration all are dramatically presented on the dashboards of the hybrids. If one drives as my late father always taught us, to drive as if you shouldn't need to brake except for stops, you can save a lot. 
I also serendipitously found myself getting 100+mpg one day after merging onto a freeway and behind a semi (effectively drafting them). In good weather conditions with clear visibility I'll now often ride comfortably behind a semi (5 car lengths) at 65-75 mph and just watch the readouts show between 75-125 mph depending upon other conditions mentioned above.  So just a plug for the mindfulness the hybrid vehicles bring to HOW we drive. Of course one can do these things in their non-hybrid vehicles and significantly improve mileage...

Drive safely!!!!

Terry Link, Director
Office of Campus Sustainability
Michigan State University
106 Olds Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
1-517-355-1751 (Phone/fax)

One planet, one family, one future

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]  On Behalf Of William Tobler
Sent:	Friday, May 25, 2007 2:57 PM
To:	enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject:	Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

For what its worth:

The highway fuel economy results from the use of an Atkinson cycle engine 
with variable valve timing.
It does not come any of the hybrid features, which under steady highway 
speeds amount to a lot of dead weight and several unnecessary energy 
conversions that lower potential efficiency considerably.

Any of the manufacturers could in principle use Atkinson cycle engines. 
They were invented in 1882 and maybe would cost $100 to manufacture into a 
new engine.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ariel Shaw" <ariel@environmentalcouncil.org>
To: "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>; 
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:28 AM
Subject: RE: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

I have to strongly disagree with the assertation (made for the second time) 
that hybrids do not get good highway milage. I drive a Prius and 90% of my 
driving is on the highway, and I get FAR better milage on the highway than I 
do in the city--it is easier to maintain a steady speed, there is less stop 
and go traffic--which may charge the battery but also causes the gas engine 
to come on each time you much accelerate back to the speed limit from a slow 
or stopped position. My car gets 50 mpg, primarily from highway driving, 
which is more than twice what my last car got. And while hybrids may take 
new resources to build, what do you think other cars are using? If someone 
is going to buy a new car, I would just as soon have them buy a hybrid--more 
consumer education is neccesary about the battery, surely, but how many 
people recycle the batteries out of their traditional cars, anyway?

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net on behalf of William Tobler
Sent: Fri 5/25/2007 9:23 AM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

And this is one of the roles that the environmental groups should be 
playing, and have failed miserably IMHO.  This is consumer education, and 
changing "not green" consumers into "green" consumers that are willing to 
pay at least the costs to be green.  Companies can't subsidize these 
products for very long.

What the big 3 did and I criticize them strongly for was to abandon the 
small, higher efficiency car market to the Asian imports because more profit 
could be generated elsewhere. It was a wrong green decision, but was also a 
wrong corporate sustainability decision.  First, you give away a very 
substantial market share.  Second, you give away the "entry" level market to 
fierce competitors, and those "entry" level consumers will some day be 
shopping for something more fancy but consumer loyalty is a major factor. 
And third, you are not prepared to survive the next gas/energy crisis.  This 
was a blunderous corporate decision made 8 - 10 years ago.

I am not at all convinced that hybrids are especially green anyway.  1st, it 
takes a considerable amount of new resources to make a hybrid (in part, 
reflected by the incremental price).  Second, it takes a considerable amount 
of resources to dispose and recycle things like the batteries and 
electronics (IF it gets done).  Third, those manufacturing and disposal 
industries for electronics and batteries are not exactly the greenest thing 
around based on their histories (I've got an industrial recycling yard near 
my home - not, not, not green) .  Fourth, the hybrid feature in hybrids is 
not beneficial for those of us who are predominately freeway drivers.  For 
these people, high fuel economy comes from elsewhere, which may or may not 
be included in a hybrid car.  The job function of a coworker of mine was to 
perform "cradle-to-grave" analyses on some of these questions, instead of 
the half-truths that one sees bantered around.

And lastly, I have a limited number of dollars that I can dedicate to green. 
Whether this is donations to environmental groups, donations to politicians 
and then the extra expense related to things like recycling, and then just 
trying to live greener.  I see much (most) of those donation dollars WASTED 
on the next campaign to get more dollars, and the infighting, instead of 
being used for the purpose given.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chuck Cubbage
  To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
  Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 10:56 PM
  Subject: Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

  I find one of the "decision" factors in selecting cars to be quite 
interesting.  Re hybrids, invariably "payback statistics come up.  I wonder 
how often that criteria is applied to the many options one can get when 
shopping for different versions of different makes. My bet is that payback 
has very little to do with people's selection.  If they want a red car with 
air, Bose stereo, ABS, how many of them worry about the payback ?  But just 
let the topic of being green come up and all of a sudden -  "it just isn't 
practical given the payback...." becomes the mantra.  There are other 
reasons than personal finance to select "green" maybe?

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