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Are hybrids affordable now?

Yahoo! Green – May 30, 2008

This is an interesting study regarding the cost of hybrids. With the price of gas so high, many people are considering a hybrid for their go to work car even if they have a larger vehicle for hauling the kids to the soccer game. The folks at Yahoo! Green did a simple cost analysis which I am not sure is 100% accurate but at least gets you thinking a bit. I recreated their spreadsheet for your review.

Several things that don’t add up or that I question:

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Global Warming, Tailpipes And Where to Tackle Them

Wall Street Journal – September 18, 2007

Many people have been following the case in California where the state was suing a group of automobile manufacturers for damages that were tied to global warming. The contention of the state was that auto manufacturers were creating a product that was causing global warming and since global warming had caused damage to certain regions of the state, the auto guys should have to pay up.

This case has been dismissed by Judge Martin Jenkins.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. Not so much for reasons of global warming but for precedence in the court system.  This is a policy related issue and not a judicial issue. The courts should not get into declaring what industry has partially caused what part of global warming. This slippery slope could have resulted in thousands of tort lawsuits and eventually the consumer would bear this cost.

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Frustrated hybrid driver sues Honda claiming mileage ratings are inflated

Detroit News – July 15, 2007

As I have said before, the USA is a litigious society. We tend to sue way too often. However, some suits are absolutely needed to prevent abuse of the consumer. I don’t know if this particular case is warranted but it at least deserves some attention.

The technique for determining the average miles per gallon (MPG) appears to be adequate for pure internal combustion engines but it may not be adequate for hybrid vehicles (see the Consumer Products test below). Unfortunately, this metric is even more for critical for hybrids so that consumers can correctly analyze if they can at least come close to break even over a traditional IC engine design.

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Car Makers Mobilize Over CO2 Curbs

WSJ.com – April 9, 2007

This article discusses how the automotive industry is trying to deal with legislative restrictions on carbon dioxide production of its products. This is all part of the political process which as reader of my blog know I think is premature. When we are still trying to figure out all of the science of this issue, the only politics that we should be discussing is how much money do we spend on doing full and accurate models.

Auto makers are shifting into high gear to protect themselves under a federal global-warming cap they see around the corner. Cars and light trucks generate about one-fifth of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the main global-warming gas, which is produced when fossil fuel is burned. With pressure for U.S. emission curbs intensifying, auto makers are mobilizing to try to shift the potential economic pain onto someone else.

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