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January 11, 2010


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How much of the Mustang's lifetime cradle-to-grave energy use goes into manufacturing it. Is that also factored in?

Or is that irrelevant since we are comparing keeping the old 'Stang vs. buying a new Prius? I think it is. Now I get it.

Michael Tempke^

Why the cheap stab at the mechanically inclined?
"in the event that he ever attains full-time employment"
This gives the impression that this person is just wasting away the days tinkering on his car while the rest of the world is hard at work. Maybe this person is good at managing his time. Maybe this person is one of the millions of newly un- or underemployed.
Whatever the case, you have made your argument for the Prius's so-called green-ness.
Now, let's take a look at the Prius compared to a transportation routine that is centered around walking, bicycling, and mass transit. If we look at collectively owning a great transportation system, the need for each person to have their very own gasoline-powered vehicle disappears.


Agree on the first point, but all that other stuff cuts the Mustang, as well.

Jeff Cardinal

What are you going to do with all those dead NMH batteries?

Eric Stark

I have been wondering about that as well. We seem to be trading one vice for another . . . or simply postponing the problem. Get rid of carbon pollution for now; but what is going to happen when there is no clean drinking water because of all the giant dead batteries piled up or buried all over?


The Prius batteries are completely recyclable, Toyota gives a $150.00 credit when you return your old battery. The battery is likely to last the life of the car, anyway; some have already gone over 200,000 miles, exceeding the predicted 180,000 mile life...all of which you could have learned by following the links above.

Randell Jesup

You may well be right about the end result, but your calculation is wrong. The manufacturing and transport cost for the Prius should not be a percentage - it's a fixed number regardless of how many miles the Prius drives later. I'm sure some document says 25%, but that's certainly based on some assumption of total miles driven, which may be very different than 150,000. If you were to choose a smaller number of miles, and still factor in the manufacturing, the Mustang can win. Of course, we're ignoring the likely lifetime of the Prius versus the Mustang, and the cost (in money or if you prefer energy) of maintaining the Mustang.

Carter O'Brien

the "Dust to Dust" Hummer vs Prius study reported upon here is the likely originator of this.

I agree with all above who have stated a more green transportation grid is critical, but even as a die-hard lifetime urbanite, let's understand that huge swaths of this country were developed based on car transportation and we need to deal with that.


..."Now the study has been well discredited in a paper titled "Hummer versus Prius: 'Dust to Dust' Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science" (PDF) by Dr. Peter H. Gleick of the Pacific Institute. Dr. Gleick's paper pokes holes in the original study, pointing out its poor assumptions such as the usable life of a Hummer H1 (35 years) versus the life of a Prius (11) years. The original study also based its conclusions on the lifetime miles of a Prius versus a Hummer H1, where it assumed 109,000 miles versus 379,000 miles, respectively. The 109,000 mile figure for the Prius is truly bizarre, as many people have documented their Priuses getting well over this number."


Has anyone actually DONE research on recycling, especially on batteries? Ok, they reuse some of the plastic parts, and some of the metal is salvaged, but most if the 'recycled' batteries and hazardous computer and electronic waste that we produced gets shipped to small, poor towns across the globe where it's piling up and people burn the rubber off of wires to salvage metals and they have no clean water because of the waste and pollution.

What about the processing of nickel for the batteries? Now that they're moving to the lithium ion batteries it will be better, but more precious metals are still used in the prius (as well as other hybrids) than in other cars.

I say drive less, carpool, take car of your car, and go for biodiesel.


Also, watch the film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?"


You really need to take all thing into consideration here, when we're talking about carbon footprint. Such as; over the entire life of the Mustang, how many Priuses do you go through. And, concerning recycling; transporting, reconditioning and remanufacturing the recycled materials. Building and transporting new Priuses. Etc. In the 20 some years I've had my vehicle, my friends have gone through 3 or 4.

Carter O'Brien

Driving less is definitely a good goal for society to move towards, but it just isn't going to happen for a while. You've got huge supply chains that will require a decade or more to change and gain efficiencies.

Biofuels are a hoax, recycling of the materials you mention is far more "real" than the idea we can spend more fuel turning corn into gas than the biofuel provides - that's a pipe dream of Archer Daniels-Midland and the other Agribusiness heads, who receive billions in subsidies and pollute like crazy due all the pesticides and fertilizers those monocultures require.

And can someone tell me why they think a "standard" car battery is eco-friendly?

I'm not blindly in love with today's hybrid cars - they are very expensive, and in my case (my whole family drives our car about 7K a year in total, which includes annual vacations) it would make little sense.

But not only was "Who Killed the Electric Car?" spot on, just wait until "The Revenge of the Electric Car" sequel hits the screens.

Long run, as the prices of the systems come down, we'll all be plugging our cars into a PV-fired grid or battery backup system, it just makes too much sense not to. Any money spent on fossil fuels for gas is too much when you consider the sun is free once a fairly moderate investment in the equipment is made (and which will last decades).

btw, Terry, the Prius hasn't been around 20 years, so I'm not sure where you're getting that stat from... I'm not seeing how building a Mustang is really much different than a Prius.


I wonder why the Europeans are so down on hybrids. They seem to think that the massive amount of battery construction will create huge piles of nasty stuff in places where SC hikers don't go. Good Diesels are close to hybrids on efficiency. Perhaps they are all wet again like they were on Iraq.

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I love the mustang car, it's my favorite one!!!

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Is a hybrid car is a good thing? And an electric car? And maybe a car on soybean oil? Tacos? Pickles?
Are we'll never know what's better?

In any case, no matter what is the answer, the best thing to put up in the list of demands is that it will be more non-environmental than what it's transformed to after using it.

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Also, watch the film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

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i am curious to see the story of this film. i have heard it before but never really had the time to get a copy of this movie.

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I think that so far the Toyota has the best mpg vehicle, Honda as well have another one.


Michael, the stab was at "a lot of time on his hands," not that he's "mechanically inclined," though I agree he could have added a qualifier such as "if that's why he has so much time on his hands."

Terry, did your friends actually need to replace their Priuses, or did they only do so for aesthetic reasons? I doubt that any of your friends did enough driving to actually "need" to replace even a Prius battery 3-4 times in the past 20 years (as someone said, it hasn't even been out that long), much less the whole car.

Also, I agree with the post about standard car batteries as well. It's not like those are exactly the gold standard for clean recycling, or that hybrid batteries are so much worse or should be demonized if they're a little harder/worse.

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