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Are Green Cars Really Green

Are Green Cars Really Green

Posted On 01 Apr, 2014

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Often, it seems really easy to choose a greener, more environmentally friendly used car. Doing so, in theory, helps the damaged planet we live on, supports more efficient manufacturing into the future and lets you rest a little easier at night.

The reality of course is more complex. Data, known as metrics, is used to determine the true environmental damage and benefit of something, for example a used car.

Generally is it based on life cycle analysis. This looks at all the environmental impacts of a car’s life, from the metals it’s built from and how they are mined, to whether it can be recycled, or how toxic its battery is.
All of this in theory determines how green a car is. So are green cars really green?

The simple answer is that some are greener than others. Honda for example is a manufacturer which makes a number of environmentally friendly models and hybrids that use innovative ways to power the car, that don’t simply depend on using fossil fuels.

But Hub Pages has something else to say: ‘This may or may not come as some shock to you, but many scientists are saying that Toyota’s best-selling hybrid, the Prius, is actually bad for the environment. Some are even asserting that it has a worse impact on our world than the widely-hated Hummer.

‘When considering how “good” (or bad) a car is for the environment, gas mileage is one of the last factors to weigh. It’s actually the production of the car that matters. The raw materials’ sources, the manufacturing effort, and the shipping costs all have an impact on the environment. And apparently, those of the Toyota Prius are not having a positive impact.’

This then is the problem, how do we weigh the positives and the negatives? Who decides which really count. And then how is the used car buyer able to buy with confidence into the right green choice?

It’s a nightmare. The Pacific Institute says some of the evidence used to give the Prius a bad name has deliberately left out information that would really improve its environmental performance. Are manufacturers engaged in a shifty war to discredit cars?

The Institute says: ‘A quick re-analysis with peer-reviewed data leads to completely opposite conclusions: the life-cycle energy requirements of hybrids and smaller cars are far lower than Hummers and other large SUVs. CNW should either release its full report, including methods, assumptions, and data, or the public should ignore its conclusions. Unfortunately, “Dust to Dust” has already distorted the public debate.’

Who to believe? Sadly, there’s no definitive answer.

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