Sunday, July 01, 2007

Eco Wibble

Excellent article today in the Sunday Telegraph recounting once again how those tax-favoured eco-cars aren't nearly as green as they're spun (plus the very useful table on right showing the overall "dust-to-dust" lifetime energy costs of various conventional and hybrid vehicles, with the Prius coming out worse even than a Hummer- click on image to enlarge).

We've blogged this before, but Andrew English gives us all the chapter and verse, and asks all the right questions:

"Hybrids already received company car tax breaks from the Inland Revenue, but they also garnered a government Powershift energy-saving programme grant of £1,000 towards the price.

This official blessing was taken up by Transport for London (TfL), which allowed a "congestion" charge exemption worth about £2,000 a year to hybrids but not to more economical conventional cars with lower emissions. The Lexus LS600h, a big hybrid saloon with a five-litre V8 petrol engine, giving 30.4mpg on the EU Combined cycle and producing 219g/km of CO2, is exempt from the £8 daily charge, whereas the VW Polo Bluemotion, with a 1.4-litre diesel engine giving 72mpg Combined and 102g/km, is not.

Could someone please explain why?"

Excellent question.

Add in the true environmental cost of manufacturing these hybrids (see article), and you have to agree with motor industry guru Prof Garel Rhys, who says:

"These cars are made to show how much you care... If you included the real cost of making and developing these cars in the price, not even Guardian readers would buy them."

But I guess our ever lovin' politicos still would.

With us, as always, picking up the tab.

PS English's stinging demolition job last year on Dave's Lexus GS450h eco-car is here. It concluded: "This car is effectively a toy: a highly intricate, beautifully made and very fast device that a rich man might show off to his business friends. It is not, repeat NOT, an answer to the world's environmental problems, so please don't let anyone, least of all the leader of the Tory party, tell you that it is."

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