Friday, January 07, 2005

Volokhs in need of correction

The Volokh Conspiracy, one of the better conservative blogs, beats up on hybrid cars, so I feel a need to respond. First, author Todd Zywicki cites to a stupid Washington Post article that is mystified why the hybrid Prius is selling so much better than the hybrid Honda Civic, ignoring the fact that the Prius gets 33% better mileage, a significant factor for hybrid buyers (like moi).

Next he cites a more recent, stupid Washington Post article saying people buy hybrids because they can use the carpool lanes in the DC area. Funny how the hybrids are selling just as well in California, where they can't use carpool lanes (state law changed last summer to allow their use, long after the hybrid craze started, but federal approval still hasn't happened), and sales are also brisk everywhere else.

Moving on, he says single occupancy hybrids allowed in carpool lanes requiring 3 people must be three times more environmentally friendly for the deal to be worthwhile. While he later realizes this argument may be flawed, he still says he is aware of no support for the idea that they are 3 times as friendly.

Awareness beckons - the hybrid Prius is a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle that is ten times as environmentally friendly regarding pollutants measured by the Clean Air Act, which are a big reason (maybe THE biggest reason) for carpool lanes. Here in George Bush's America, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, so the 50-100% improvement in mileage/CO2 efficiency doesn't keep the hybrids from being 1000% better on pollutants. George promised to regulate CO2 as a pollutant in 2000, but with Al Gore "defeated" he quickly gave up that principle.

One more thing - the author cites a stupid website that waves its figurative arms at the environmental costs of producing batteries to suggest hybrids are a bum deal. An actual life cycle analysis shows that the arm-waving is wrong, that the long-term environmental savings outweighs initial environmental costs of producing hybrids. More annoyingly, the stupid website discusses the expense of hybrids, without disclosing figures. The hybrids are generally moderately-priced cars that cost about $4,000 more than comparable non-hybrids, and hybrid owners save about $2,000 over the car's lifetime due to better mileage. We're not talking Hollywood-celebrity wealth, here. Tellingly, the main page of the stupid website currently goes into a lather over how great some ridiculously expensive sports car is. The website probably just hates any suggestion that their gas-guzzling favorite cars are somehow bad.

I look forward to the Volokh Conspiracy authors recognizing the value of buying hybrids, and joining the club.

keywords: Volokh Correction, hybrid cars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.