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I'm watching CNN today run a story on how hybrid cars are really not all they are cracked up to be.  People aren't getting the mileage they were promised on the sticker and are pissed.

At least, that's what CNN says.

Only at the end does CNN mention it's because the EPA changed the way they measure mileage for the first time in twenty-odd years and every single car's mileage estimates have gone down.  CNN doesn't tell you how much.  

Later, I switch to ABC (I need a life) and they run the same story.  The Prius sucks, hybrids are hype, yadda yadda, the same spiel;  however, ABC actually goes into the way mileage has gone down for all cars, even showing charts with numbers for all sorts of different makes and models, mostly hybrids and SUVs.  Still they bump the story out with the same resigned hybrid owner sighing, another disappointment.

Neither CNN nor ABC tells you what the total mileage average for all cars today actually is but at least ABC tells you that it certainly hasn't improved in the last 20 years.  According to what I've read, the 2004 EPA average for all cars was 21 MPG, which means it would be less using the new measurement protocol.  Just for fun, the 1908 Ford Model T got 25 MPG but who knows how they arrived at that figure.

In 2004, students at Central High School in Phoenix, AZ built what is believed to be the first self-sustaining hydrogen vehicle that uses a conventional internal-combustion engine.  "Nobody has ever made a car that runs on sunlight and water," physics teacher  Cory Waxman said.  "There are other cars that run on hydrogen, but they don't make their own fuel."

Built for less than $10,00 they did something most experts said it would take 20 years to do.  

Does that mean if I give Central High $10,000 for a conversion on an existing car, I'd never have to buy gasoline again?

Originally posted to gmoke on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:05 PM PST.


Is the CNN and ABC framing indicative of an addictive process?

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Comment Preferences

  •  My hybrid does (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Have a 2005 Accord hybrid, which was advertised as getting 36 mpg highway.  I drive almost exclusively on the highway, and mileage varies between 34 winter and 38 summer, despite a 2000 foot altitude difference between work and home.  

    I'd say that's pretty accurate.  Best car I've ever owned, too.

    -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:07:24 PM PST

    •  Hybrid Performance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      NESEA's Tour de Sol has done hybrid performance rallies and I know that there are some drivers who can get well beyond the stickered mileage as well.

      Neither ABC nor CNN tell us that.  I doubt if they even know.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:09:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly they don't care (0+ / 0-)

        Their biggest advertisers still include GM and Ford, oil companies, etc., whose bread is not buttered with hybrids.  

        ABC and CNN sit just above Fox in the bottom of the rankings of media outlets I would expect to show any integrity on energy issues.

        -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:14:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My 1993 Toyota Carolla gets the same (0+ / 0-)

      mileage as your hybrid. It's never needed any repairs.....yet. So, taking into consideration the energy required to make the car...........

  •  Man bites dog syndrome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ky DEM, doinaheckuvanutjob

    "Product does what you think it does." Boring. No viewer interest.

    "Product screws you." Viewer interest.

    -4.25, -4.87 "If the truth were self-evident, there would be no need for eloquence." -- Cicero

    by HeyMikey on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:23:47 PM PST

  •  How far do you want to go? (0+ / 0-)

    Does that mean if I give Central High $10,000 for a conversion on an existing car, I'd never have to buy gasoline again?

    How far do you want to go?

    It produces enough hydrogen per day to run the vehicle around 1.5 miles, and has hit speeds of 70 MPH on the highway.

    The solar cells would probably be somewhat more efficiently used to charge conventional batteries for use in electric propulsion.

    Hydrogen may be more useful in cars by reforming a liquid fuel for use producing electricity in a fuel cell.

    •  Solar Car and House (0+ / 0-)

      In that case, I guess I'll just have to take another look at Mike Strizki's solar hydrogen car and house.  His first prototype has a pricetag of around $150,000 but that includes the whole house electricity and heating load as well as the hydrogen fuel cell car.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 05:53:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that's fine if you're going to drive there &
        back within the operating radius of the vehicle.
        No hydrogen filling stations now exist, AFAIK.

        There was one here in Chicago,
        about 10 or so years ago. It closed in a couple
        of months: no customers.

  •  What bothers me about hybrids and electrics. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm concerned the nanotech batteries being developed are going to be extremely toxic, and no thought will be given to their disposal, or how they will perform in an accident.  

  •  Then go by their car! (0+ / 0-)

    Pay $20,000, so they can build 2 more.  

    First ask them how to refuel it.

    Then ask them what state will license it. (lights, safety features, etc.)

    Then ask them who will insure it.

    Then buy it irrespective of the answers.  It's better than taking Econ 101 (though slightly more expensive).

    So much there is I do not need.

    by valion on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 06:33:17 PM PST

    •  Shank's Mare (0+ / 0-)

      In point of fact, I don't want a car.  Never owned one and probably never will.

      I walk, ride a bike, or take public transport.

      The new vehicle I'd like would be a human powered vehicle that has a collapsible weather shell and perhaps an electric assist (from regenerative braking?).  Only problem is it would have to be light enough to carry up three flights of stairs.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 06:46:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ask a Model T owner. (0+ / 0-)

    "the 1908 Ford Model T got 25 MPG but who knows how they arrived at that figure."

    There are thousands of Model T Fords in running condition around the country.  25 mpg is pretty credible.  They're fairly light machines.

  •  I added the 'teaching' tag (0+ / 0-)

    and will include this diary in my weekly roundup What have you got to learn? (or teach) (along with a couple OTHER diaries of yours!  You had a busy week!)

    What are you reading? on Friday mornings
    What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

    by plf515 on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 03:38:52 AM PST

  •  Gas savings often larger after using lower mpg (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One thing that press reports consistently omit is that the actual gas savings from hybrids often increase when you lower the mpg estimates to more realistic levels for both cars -- surprisingly, this can be true even when the percent reduction in mpg is greater for the hybrid!  The explanation is that mpg is really the reciprocal of what matters -- we should really care about gallons per mile.  

    For example, lets assume:

    1. Hybrid claims 60 mpg, actual = 45 mpg
    1. Regular car claims 30 mpg, actual = 24 mpg
    1. You drive 12,000 miles/yr

    In this example, the hybrid loses 15 mpg vs. 6 mpg for the regular car. The mpg loss is 25% for the hybrid and 20% for the regular car.  Looks pretty bad for the hybrid, huh?  Now lets calculate the annual gas savings:

    Gas savings based on claimed mpg:
    12000/30 = 400 gallons/yr for regular car
    12000/60 = 200 gallons/yr for hybrid
    Expected gas savings = 200 gallons/yr

    Gas Savings based on "real world" mpg:
    12000/24 = 500 gallons/yr for regular car
    12000/45 = 267 gallons/yr for hybrid
    Actual gas savings = 233 gallons per year.

    The hybrid will actually save 33 gallons/yr more than expected, even after it suffers from a much larger mpg reduction and even a larger % reduction in mpg than the regular car.

    Message to media -- do the math...

    •  Media Math (0+ / 0-)

      The media doesn't do math and won't.  Somebody will have to do the math for them and, thus, the rest of us.  Thanks for showing us your work.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at

      by gmoke on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 02:39:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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