July 27, 2004

HOV, Parking Incentives in CA?

The Boston Globe reported that California is considering legislation that would allow hybrid drivers into carpool lanes. In addition, Los Angeles is considering giving hybrid drivers the privilege of free parking.

This brings up an interesting decision from a legislative perspective. Should California subject its HOV lanes to increased congestion to combat air pollution and help achieve energy independence? Should the state reward hybrid owners at the expense of people who rideshare?

I propose a different solution, one that balances the goals of traffic, energy, and air quality. Instead of allowing vehicles into the HOV lane by how many passengers they carry, reward commuters based on the volume of fuel burned per passenger mile. A vehicle that gets 20 mpg carrying 3 people operates at 60 passenger miles per gallon. A vehicle that gets 55 mpg carrying only the driver operates at 55 passenger miles per gallon.

Of course, this would require technology or a permit system to monitor passenger miles, but it rewards true efficiency, not just number of passengers or vehicle type.

Leave a comment (0) on HOV, Parking Incentives in CA?

EPA Press Release: MPG Tests

The US Environmental Protection Agency issues a press release addressing the issue of inflated mileage estimates. The document points out that the test has remained unchanged since its inception in 1985, and "do not reflect factors that may affect the fuel efficiency of today's vehicles, such as increased highway speeds and urban traffic congestion."

Basically, this is an admission of inaccurate test results. However, what it does illustrate, and what many people do not consider, is that the EPA reported mileage can be used to accurately compare mileage between any tested vehicle dating back to 1985. Changing the test now would invalidate the ability to compare vehicle performance.

Leave a comment (0) on EPA Press Release: MPG Tests

July 24, 2004

Inflated MPG Claim Recruiting

EPA Inflated Hybrid Mileage
Plaintiff Recruitment
A Google AdWords text ad was spotted on an automotive site for Brennan, Weiner and Simons, a firm that is pursuing legal action against hybrid car manufacturers for false advertising.

There has been a lot said about EPA testing and its mileage measurement being greater than real life results. As a result, we will soon add mileage data from GreenHybrid's Real Hybrid Mileage Database to our mileage calculator.

Leave a comment (2) on Inflated MPG Claim Recruiting

July 22, 2004

Toyota May Increase Prius Production

Bloobmerg reported that Toyota may be ready to finalize a decision to increase Prius production at one of its factories in Japan to mean an annual sales goal of 50,000 in the US. Currently, the Prius is not manufactured outside of Japan.

The article pigeonholes the motives of Prius owners by stating:

[The] Prius has been aided by the myth that its owners are rescuing a soon-to-be-energy-starved planet - an idea perpetuated by some scientists, as well as entertainers like Larry David...
I firmly believe that we are so dependent on oil, that no decrease in demand will avoid the eventuality of extracting and burning all the fossil fuel in the world. Instead, I suggest the idea that hybrid car owners are concerned with the near term effect of energy dependence, foreign policy, national security, and don't mind saving a few dollars on the side. Of course, cutting back on harmful emissions doesn't hurt, either.

Leave a comment (0) on Toyota May Increase Prius Production

July 19, 2004

Hollywood Celebrities Drive Hybrids

Much of the green image comes from liberal celebrities and California as a whole, but certain stars are using their stardom to spread the word. Larry David, producer of the hit show Seinfeld, and main character of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm has been a Toyota Prius advocate for years, as he drives one on his show and in his private life.

Wired reported that Cameron Diaz, Ed Begley Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks all rely on clean energy. In fact, Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow filmed television spots promoting conservation for the Environmental Media Association.

See the TV spots here: Beware: these pages have conflicts with some browsers

  • Conservation (Diaz & Paltrow)
  • Paper (Michael Stipe, Mike Mills & Peter Buck of R.E.M.)
  • Lifestyle (David Spade, Ed Norton, James Van Der Beek, Soleil Moon Frye, Rob Schneider, Wilmer Valderrama, Amber Tamblyn & more)
  • Recycle (Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally & Sean Hayes from Will & Grace

Leave a comment (0) on Hollywood Celebrities Drive Hybrids

July 18, 2004

Hyundai Announces Hybrid Model for 2005

South Korea's largest automobile exporter announced that it will be producing a hybrid vehicle in late 2005. Although it is unclear if this model will be available in the US, Hyundai plans on producing 10,000 hybrid vehicles in 2005, although that number may change based on market demand.

Read the whole article here.

July 16, 2004

PlanetTran: Hybrid Taxi Service

Irony would have it that a Yale graduate is organizing a hybrid taxi service in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard. Seth Riney is the founder of PlanetTran, an airport transportation service with a twist: the fleet is Prius through and through. This strategy takes advantage of the ever disastrous traffic nightmare that is Storrow Drive because hybrid vehicles get such exceptional city mileage.

Currently there is a petition for the city of Cambridge to grant PlanetTran the proper licensing to become a full taxi service instead of pickup by appointment. The idle stop feature on hybrid vehicles would conserve fuel as taxis wait at public cab stands. Sign the petition electronically here.

Leave a comment (0) on PlanetTran: Hybrid Taxi Service

July 14, 2004

False MPG Lawsuit Announced

The Californial based firm Brennan, Weiner and Simons is representing individuals in a claim against hybrid car manufacturers, specifically Toyota, for making false MPG claims. Interestingly, it is the US EPA that conducts the test by which the window mileage is derived.

To scrounge up plaintiffs, I had noticed that the law firm had purchased search listings on Google's AdWords system. You've got to wonder the motivation of the law firm when the attorneys are seeking clients to represent, instead of the other way around.

The suit brings up valid point though: should hybrid manufacturers voluntarily report their own mileage, as the EPA tests have consistently been known to overstate mileage by up to 15% on all vehicles?

Leave a comment (0) on False MPG Lawsuit Announced

Hybrid Car RSS Feed
Hybrid News In My Yahoo