The Prius Bad for the Environment?

A blue Prius.  (Photo:
A blue Prius. (Photo:

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.

With such universal concern (whether genuine or a desire to be "hip") to live a "greener" lifestyle, it's no surprise that this argument has become quite heated, though surprisingly quiet.

After all, if Toyota says that it's created a car that gets excellent gas mileage and is therefore better for the environment than other cars are, the consumer wants to believe this. So what are these new, conflicting reports?

Is the Prius or is it not good for the environment?

The Beginning

The first I heard of any of this was in March 2007. My conservative Republican father snidely directed me to an article in Central Connecticut State University's school newspaper, The Recorder, that claimed that the Prius "outdoes" the Hummer in damage to the environment (link at the bottom of the page).


This is based on a CNW Marketing Research report called "Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal." But I thought the Prius was supposed to be great for the environment. It can get up to 60 miles per gallon of gas (though Toyota officials admit that most users will get more like 45 mpg on the highway).

As it turns out, burning gas is not the only (or even the major) factor in a car's impact on the environment. News to me!

The Other Factors

Apparently, 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.

The Prius versus the Hummer.  (Photo:
The Prius versus the Hummer. (Photo:

The Numbers

The Prius' battery contains nickel, which is mined in Ontario Canada. The plant that smelts this nickel is apparently nicknamed "the Superstack" because of the amount of pollution it puts out; the area for miles around it is a wasteland because of acid rain and air pollution.

But the main problem that the "Dust to Dust" study has with the Prius' impact on the environment comes next.

That smelted nickel then has to travel (via container ship) to Europe to be refined, then to China to be made into "nickel foam," then to Japan for assembly, and finally to the United States. All this shipment for each tiny step in the production process costs a great deal, both in dollars and in pollution.

The study then concludes that -- all the production costs in mind -- the Prius costs about $3.25 per mile and is expected to last about 100,000 miles. The Hummer, on the other hand, with all the same factors counted, costs about $1.95 per mile and is expected to last about 300,000 miles.

The Other Side

The Pacific Institute points out the holes in the argument of "Dust to Dust" quite eloquently, and to be quite honest, I'm not sure who to believe. They've written an entire article debunking the study.

They argue that the study bases its conclusions on "faulty methods of analysis, untenable assumptions, selective use and presentation of data, and a complete lack of peer review." As I'm not a scientist, I can't particularly argue against any of these things; I can only report both sides.

More Math

An article in Wired's car blog Autopia covered this topic quite eloquently, concluding, "You might feel better driving a hybrid, but you won't necessarily be greener."

That's because each Prius consumes the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of fuel before its odometer clicks to 1. As we saw above, this is due to the manufacturing and shipping costs associated with the Prius. So while the Prius may not be worse for the environment than a Hummer is, it certainly would be given a run for its money when put head-to-head with a used car with reasonable fuel economy.

The Autopia article and the original article in Wired Magazine both agree that buying a used car that gets great gas mileage is the best option for having less of a negative impact on the environment. In fact, many cars receive up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway, which is almost as high as the Prius' 45 highway mpg, and those other cars aren't killing the environment quite as much in their manufacturing process.

Let the Market Decide

Ultimately, new technologies will always come under all types of scrutinies. Hybrid automobile technology is no different, and surely scientists and marketing executives will continue to argue about this for years.

The moral of the story, to me, seems to be to do your research instead of listening to media hype. Don't believe at face-value the hype a company gives you when selling its product. Don't read just one article and let it change your decision to buy a car.

The market will decide whether or not the Prius and other hybrid vehicles help us feel better about our impact on the environment until we can unlock Hydrogen-powered vehicles (or a similarly efficient fuel).

Comments 114 comments

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Great hub, Helena!

While results of the study are probably skued, any car's damage to environment is definitely not limited to direct pollution from gas burning. It's all not that easy as it seems at the first glance, and people do need to think for themselves - this is a geat conclusion :)

Hoodala profile image

Hoodala 8 years ago from Mesa

Great hub. Most people will never look into the total cost to the environment of producing a car. Electric hybrids have a great cost to the environment in both production and disposal of batteries. Get a corolla instead of a hummer or a hybrid.

tjonsek profile image

tjonsek 8 years ago

Eye opening! I suppose most that can purchase a prius will do so because of their immediate need of saving money. But for those who really care about the environmental impacts, this information is cause for pause.

I don't know how forthcoming auto makers would be when it comes to divulging all the costs involved in producing cars and getting them to market. But, it's something I'll consider the next time I need to purchase a vehicle.

Thanks for posting this!

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Unfortunately, the people who purchase a Prius do so knowing that they will save money by buying less gas in the long-run. Priuses are extremely expensive, but people who buy them think that they are doing so to be environmentally conscious and to save some cash down the road. The latter might be true, but the former is not!

Again, it's a case of advertising versus education. Hopefully education will eventually win out!

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

The latter might be false, too :)

There are numerous reports and calculations on the net, showing that savings on gas cost (on the current price level) do not offset the difference in car prices completely...

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

That's true, too, Misha. Especially considering that the engines don't last nearly as long as they do in many other cars.

MC7 profile image

MC7 8 years ago from Seattle

I don't believe that hybrids are all they're cracked up to be because of the complexity (maintenance) and cost of the hybrid drive train, but I also wouldn't be willing to place a dime on the quality of the CNW report -- they look like an extremely secretive company (see: and -- industry analysts who are bought and sold for the price of a "research report" are a dime a dozen. The funding for their study (like everything else about their company and the report) was not disclosed -- the Pacific Institute's analysis pretty legitimately rips them to shreds.

I also believe that most people who buy Priuses do so for status and image of being eco-conscious, rather than reality (if they really cared that much, they would ride a motorcycle or the bus). I drive a Corolla right now, but my next car will probably be a VW CleanTDI that can run on biodiesel (which is convenient enough here in Seattle, but not many other places right now).

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

You're not wrong, MC7. CNW is suspect, though I find Pacific Institute suspect, as well. The point of all of this is just to call the Prius and its lofty claims into question.

And you're totally right about the status thing; if they cared that much, they'd ride their bike! ;)

Jason Stanley profile image

Jason Stanley 8 years ago

I think you bring up a very good perspective - question the validity of what we are being sold.

That said, I think most people, me included, tend to make the best decision we can with way too little information and way too much emotion. Really, what do you think the average voter knows about any bill or politician they vote for?

The good of this is that at least people are getting emotionally behind the green movement and beginning to care about the world we live in. Who knows we may even be in time to keep from destroying the planet - or maybe not...

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

You're so right, Jason, that people make decisions with a small amount of information and a large amount of emotion, when in reality it should probably be the other way around.

I love that companies are promoting the "green" thing now; I just hope that they'll do it responsibly.

vreccc profile image

vreccc 8 years ago from Concord, NH


This is a great article that covers both sides of this issue. Moreover, you point out that we can't trust others and need to research on our own to make a good decision. I will be quite disappointed if the hybrid isn't all they say it is.

Your writing is great!


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks, Jonathan! The whole do-your-own-research is something I've gotten used to having a dog; the canine food, toy, and medicine industries are all completely skewed and backwards. It's been a great life lesson; don't believe what big companies tell you!

vreccc profile image

vreccc 8 years ago from Concord, NH

I KNOW!!!! I'm getting more skeptical with age. I used to trust doctors and know I don't.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Unfortunately, we defer to "professionals" far too easily. And, depending on the situation, we willingly put our mental health, our child's well-being, or our LIFE in their hands after asking very few questions. There are plenty of trustworthy doctors out there, for example... but there are also plenty that aren't (as I'm sure you've noticed).

Stephen  8 years ago

Excellent Hub....Nice thoughts..Keep it up.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks, Stephen! The educated consumer is the most powerful weapon against most of the capitalist world's evils. :)

johnr54 profile image

johnr54 8 years ago from Texas

I've always wondered about anything that has a large battery content, because batteries in general have some pretty noxious chemical floating around in them, and are the devil to manufacture and dispose of properly.

Of course, no matter what you do, someone can find fault in it. It's like the envirnmentalists opposing wind generators because of the potential impact on birds. It seems like no one is happy unless we regress to the lifestyle of the colonists, but even that has a major carbon footprint (wood burning stoves, large acreage clear cut due to low yields from 200 year old farming techniques, etc.)

Just do the best you can and move on.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

"Do the best you can," that's great advice, john. There will always be someone opposed to everything so we just have to do our own research and decide for ourselves.

jimcrowthers profile image

jimcrowthers 8 years ago from Port Charlotte

Thank you very much for posting this article.

Just a couple of month's ago, my parents were planning on purchasing a car, and they were leaning towards the Prius because of the fuel savings. I disuaded them by telling them the extra cost of the vehicle is probably more than what they'll save in gas (they're both retired, and won't be driving much because of my father's health). Furthermore, no one has told us yet how long the batteries will really last, and how much it will cost to replace them. Being in a southern state, where regular car batteries don't hold up very long, this gave me pause. And to think about replacing said batteries, and the impact on the environment (and their wallet) it may create, made me shudder.

Now that gas is almost $4/gallon, I was rethinking my decision in disuading them. However, your article helped comfort me in my original argument. (Mother didn't like the way the Prius looked anyways.) <grin>

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

I'm impressed you had the foresight to think as you did, Jim! Most people can't see past the But Think Of All The Money You'll Save On Gas argument. The truth is, you'll probably save a lot more by just buying a fuel-efficient (non-hybrid) car. Thanks for your story, and I'm glad my article was able to support your original argument. (My father is always complaining about how ugly Priuses are, too!)

TBuchta 8 years ago

The writer of this article should have followed his own advice, and after doing the necessary research, wrote an accurate and balanced account of the CNW report and its critics. I won't waste space detailing all the problems with the CNW Report. It has been thoroughly "debunked" not just by the Pacific Institute and Argonne National Laboratory but also by numerous ordinary individuals using common sense. If you want to see what I mean just do an internet search on "CNW Report".

To make a long story short, the headline and most of the article gives an air of credibility to CNW that it lost well over a year ago. There undoubtedly is a need to weigh the costs and benefits of owning a Prius or any other car. Unfortunately, the CNW Report and this article serves at best to confuse, or at worst to mislead rather than provide useful information to such consumers.

the chicken 8 years ago

So what do you use that has to go to China and shipped here??? Get real. Using less gas and creating less polution is a real start. Unless you have something better just stop your protestations.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Plenty of stuff, chicken, but I try to buy most of my food locally, and I use public transportation. I have great alternatives to the Prius: fuel-efficient vehicles, bicycles, carpooling, mass transportation, organic food, plenty.

You think it's okay for the fat to get fatter because they've lied to the rest of us about the positive effects of their products? I guess that's why I'm the writer with my name on my work, and you're the chicken.

Dubai Entrepreneur 8 years ago

The Hummer lasts 300,000 miles! Now that's a laugh. I am no environmentalist and enjoy a car with a decent engine.. but I am not sure American cars outlast their Japanese counterparts. How did they arrive at that conclusion?

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

I think that's part of the problem people have with that report; some what it says is just obviously nonsense. I don't know much about cars in general, though, so I have no idea how long a Hummer can last. But just because the report stretches some facts doesn't mean there's no grain of truth to it... That's why I wanted to bring further attention to it. Thanks for reading, Dubai Entrepeneur!

Allan 8 years ago

I can't comment about anything regarding the vehicles but would like to say that I live in the nickel city "Sudbury Ontario" you called a wasted land. That may have been the case 40 years ago but today Sudbury is a beautiful forested city. It has gone through a greening upgrade and I am proud to have lived here for the past 53 years. I think before you a call a place a waste land you better check your facts. To me it leaves me questioning your facts about the prius over the hummer.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

I'm very happy you stopped by, Allan.. Obviously I'm thrilled to hear that Sudbury is no longer a wasteland; the thought of that was terribly depressing. It must have been amazing to see the place you love so much go through such a remarkable change for the better.

I want to remind you, though, that I am not a scientist and haven't done ANY research into the Prius other than to read the original "Dust to Dust" article and then the Pacific Institute's article debunking it. This hub is not meant to be a presentation of findings, merely a presentation of the argument that's going on in the scientific world. I'm sorry to leave you questioning the facts, but the very problem is that they're questionable in the first place!

I hope you don't question my credibility as an author overall, though... That's the one thing I can control and try to remain as credible as possible. Thanks again for your valuable personal experience.

Someone 8 years ago

I think the CNW's original report did some harm by saying "hummer is better for the environment than a prius". Perhaps the subject should have been little different as "Prius .. environmentally friendly? .. NOT". Instead the comparison could be in between a prius and a diesel jetta. Jetta or any other diesel cars have much better driving experience and even the gas milage is better than a hybrid, in very recent news, toyota avgo hit 90 mpg on a testing track in UK and car is expected to hit upper 40s in average. And guess what ... no nickel is needed .. there is cost of transportation, running two engines, battery replacement etc. etc. etc. and it can drive as long, if not more than a prius. So .. I ask you why do we compare Prius with a "hummer".

I'm frankly very disturbed by Toyota's hybrid push in the US market where an easy solution such as diesel is looking right into our eyes for over 20 years. Step by step we can move to electricity, hydrogen or others but now the diesel solution is there and it works perfectly fine.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Someone, I agree COMPLETELY that the report shouldn't've gone "so far" because the facts that they DID use spoke for themselves. By comparing the Prius to the Hummer and "stretching" the facts, they just lost all credibility. Not intelligent.

But there are downsides to diesel, too. Gas milage is certainly better, but it's not a cure-all... it's still fossil fuel! I agree that it might be a good solution for the interim while we're working on better technology. Thanks for your opinions and explanation!

Someone 8 years ago

Helen, my point is that as consumers, our market is being played that somehow we need some new technology and "as of now" no solution is available that we need to wait for hydrogen, electrcity or some other source. This is the very matter along with companies like Toyota putting fuel in to fire by pushing hybrid in to market instead of selling diesel cars.

Checkout VW Polo Diesel with 70+ MPG. BMW on the other hand pushes their environmetally friendly 335 bluetech diesel's in to market next year with lower 30s milage. To me, anything below 40 mpg is technology belongs to bible and jesus. Coming to diesel pollution, it is very important for readers as well you to read up on

Someone 8 years ago

Sorry my replied got submitted accidentally/prematurely J To continue: it is very important for everyone of us to read and understand ULSD, ultra low sulfur diesel. There are many newer technologies, mostly from Europe, to reduce emissions, particles etc. to a much lower degree “dramatically” beating gasoline engine not only by mpg but also by pollution per mile. With such regulations, engines supporting it, cheap production, available technology, energy providers available (gas stations) and many more ... we can use this stuff NOW .. there is no need to wait for big bang and Einsteinian idea to save the planet by creating energy from clipped toe nails. Another question for everyone ... why, all of a sudden, we have the Diesel prices increasing at a higher rate than normal fuel? I hear that it is higher demand .. well Diesel fuel is No. 2 distillate meaning that making Diesel is easier and cheaper than Gasoline so ... why ? This is no different than paying more money for light beer (beer with more water). Again, I fully support all investment, hard work etc. to invent newer and better energy sources such as electric, wind, volcanic on and on .. However, I sincerely refuse the thought that we have to wait for these technologies to appear so we can take an action.. we have a solution NOW and it can be used that will drop our pollution by half given that we all compromise from travelling in a gigantic SUV to pick up two bags of groceries.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Someone, all of the points you make are excellent. I'm proud to have them displayed under my hub. :) Chime in any time!

free car quotes 8 years ago

Great Hub you have here :) please read my new hub about getting free online car quotes...

Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 7 years ago from New York, New York

I wish that I noticed this hub early, I would have tackled it sooner but anyway I'll make my 2 cent makes sense. The total cost for producing a car can have a negative effect on the environment. It will all depends on the war materials that are used and how the car is being produce. However though, in the real world, the consumer is not concern with the total cost of productivity but rather how much the car cost and is it environmental friendly. As far as the effect on the environment during production is a problem that must be dealt with through government regulation. Consumers very often don't care to know how a car is produce, they main concerns are cost, efficiency, HP, millage per gallon. I' m sure most automobile manufactures contributes their share of pollution to the air we breath, the only different here is that some contribute more than others.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for your comment, Coolbreezing! I think you are right that the government needs to take some responsibility for the overall impact that car production has on the environment. But somehow, consumers need to obtain the hunger for knowledge!

BowTieBear 7 years ago

the worldsrecord for milage is owned by a chevy truck at over 1M miles and still going ....H! hummers in Iraq usuall run 24hrs a day for months on end because they are occupied in 3 shifts. an H2 or H3 lasting 300k miles is perfectly within its abilities. i personally have a 2000 Chevy Camaro with 220k miles on it, and have had other GM vehicles that hae gone way passed 300k miles.

unfortunatly the preception is that american cars do not have longevity and that has hurt the big 3. and the face that most people do not know that a great share of crude oil goes to things like lipstick, bottles for water and the other billion or so consumer items that humans think they "NEED". that is where the real waste is

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Exactly, BowTieBear. So much of all this "global warming" stuff has become reduced and oversimplified. "CARS BAD, HYBRIDS GOOD." It doesn't work like that. We have to look at the whole picture of our impact on the world around us.

viralmusicvideos profile image

viralmusicvideos 7 years ago from Los Angeles

Where will all of those Prius batteries be disposed of? Can nickel foam be recycled? My guess is that they all end up in a land fill in some third world country we pay a quarter a pop to dump them on.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

viralmusicvideos, I don't doubt that you're correct. We really need to look at things on a more holistic level if we are ever going to make any difference.

Super Muffin Girl 7 years ago

This is an interesting thread to read. However, I did not see much (or anything) from an actual Prius owner. I have owned a Prius for the last 2 1/2 years, and I am completely, 100% happy with my purchasing decision. Granted, I could have bought a car that was less expensive, probably more environmentally sound to build, but I chose a Prius... For whatever reason, I did. Maybe I liked the way it looks, or how spatious it is inside, or how just plain fun it is to drive! The MPG is just an added benefit! Several people talked about the reasons why people chose to buy a Prius... but why NOT? What is the BETTER solution?

I often find myself defending my car to antagonists. (I am sure that I defend my car more than my mother-in-law with her Porche or my uncle with his big truck that gets 9 MPG.) However, I have a Masters degree in Environmental Science, and most of their arguments fall short. None the less, what I am most happy about is pulling into a gas station, putting 10 gallons of gas in, and not having to worry about anything for at least 500 miles. That is really nice.

And for anyone that is concerned about the longevity of a Prius, they need to go to this website: - read about Jesse and his Prius which has over 342,000 miles on it. Seriously.

I am not concerned about the maintenance or reliability of this car. I love it, and I have never regretted my decision to buy it.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Hi Super Muffin Girl, great to hear from a Prius owner, and a Masters degree holder in Envi Sci to boot! The better solution holistically, I would argue, is to buy a highly fuel-efficient car that does not utilize hybrid technology. From the beginning of the production of your car to the years its remnants are (not) rotting in a junk yard, it's better for the environment for you to get a gas-powered car that gets 30+ mpg. You'll pay a little more for gas, but that's my argument.

Carbon emissions are a tiny part of the problem with our impact on the environment, as I'm sure you are well aware. I just think that people need to look at the whole life of all the products they use to really understand the way they are affecting the planet.

Rick 7 years ago

"The plant that smelts this nickel is apparently nicknamed "the Superstack" because of the amount of pollution it puts out; the area for miles around it is a wasteland because of acid rain and air pollution.."

The wasteland was created before the 70s! Which basically means accusing 2009 Nickel extraction guilty of the pollution caused in the 50s and 60s before the Acid Rain regulation in the 70s.

"Inco in Sudbury has made significant investments to improve its environmental performance, including close to $700 million (Cdn. $1 billion) in equipment and technology upgrades to drastically reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. Since the 1970s, we have reduced annual SO2 emissions by 90 per cent. In 2003, we initiated construction of a Cdn. $ 115 million fluid bed roaster, which was completed in the spring of 2006. This new facility is set to reduce SO2 emissions by an additional 90 kilotonnes by the end of 2006."

jj 7 years ago

great job

Dennis 7 years ago

Dont worry about what you drive. There is no such thing as man made global warming. Certainly don't tell me what to drive or what car I can buy or what cars the autocompanies should be producing. Let's protect our freedoms. Drive whatever you choose and get rid of the government control from Washington. Vote them out!

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Dennis -- There may be no man-made global warming, but that doesn't mean that we don't have problems. We need to be careful with resources; the world doesn't have infinite natural resources to give. Conserving fuel is important. Conserving materials is important. So I will tell you what I think you should be doing as long as there are people who think these things don't matter.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

Good post, it is has its disadvantages but I think still it is much better option than driving SUVs. Hopefully in the future we will have a sound alternative, till then this is the first right step. Once the battery technology improves and green energy is widespread, then it will be good.

Rev 7 years ago

"Many scientists" are saying that Toyota's best-selling hybrid, the Prius, is actually bad for the environment or CNW?

CNW Marketing Group is not exactly the same as "many scientists"...

Don't give their drivel any more attention, please...

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Rev, I've actually heard questions raised by many other "professionals" in the area about the Prius' true environmental footprint. But I was unable to find any actual studies that were relevant to the subject. I stand by my claim, though, that many scientists are considering that the Prius does more harm than good. It's too bad that major industries like oil, tobacco, and car can so strongly influence the things that the "Average Joe" consumer learns. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but restricting flow of information is a very present reality that we need to address.

Robbyb 7 years ago

SORRY! Here's the comment with paragraph breaks. please delete the other one.

I understand your position of relying on the Dust to Dust report and other sources like the Pacific Institute. No author can be an expert on everything. But a journalist, or an author trying to present things truthfully, should do sufficient research. You tried to be "fair and balanced" like Fox. Which is to say you took a bunk study by a marketing firm and reported on it "equally" (actually you gave it more credit) alongside the Pacific Institute. You neglected the fact that it's not only the Pacific Instutitue but basically any scientist or newspaper that has studied the issue that lines up squarely against the CNW report. See the Rocky Mountain Instutitute, other legitimate journalists and educational instutitions, like MIT ( absolutely love it that you talk about how the "industries" are trying to keep people from getting good info on cars. Umm... yeah, the whole CNW report is a marketing article written on behalf of the auto industry and other interested parties. CNW didn't even release their data, so no one knows if they just made it up or what. So CNW (and judging from your comments, you too) think that touting this shoddy report is really opening our eyes? Give me a break!And who are the "many scientists" who you reference? They certaintly aren't in the D2D report. References please. They might be the only way to save some of your reputation to show that other people have the same opinion of the D2d report (other than Rush Limbaugh who seems to agree with you ... is shoddy writing, and is misleading. What's worse, this article of yours, which popped up FIRST in google btw (search: prius bad for the environment), is misleading people all the time. The article largely accepts the conclusions of the D2D report while seemingly rejecting all the scientists who actually debunked said article.There are NO authors who put their name on the D2D report. Though, Spinella authored some of the responses to Slate, etc. What are Spinella's credentials so that we know he understands what he's talking about? None are listed on the report or website.As for information from actual scientists who could perhaps analyze the environmental consequences of the whole supply chain here's some info you didn't include in your "article"See: (for the author's credentials)And the MIT report, and the Pacific Institute's report (whose board and authors are all super phd types).I'm just concerned that this idea that everything that scientists and citizens are saying and doing to try to save the environment can be denied with one report. To me your article doesn't suggest that we need to discuss whether hybrids are the way to go, but rather that we need to think about how our society forms opinions on important matters. Being the first hit on google, you must get tons of hits on your page. So it seems that the problem is not whether people are getting access to this CNW report but, whether people are forming opinions based on one discredited unscientific report and the shoddy reporting of yourself and people like Rush Limbaugh. What's the real problem here? I appreciate your attempt to create a useful discussion, but your article dangerously misleads people instead of providing a real opportunity for learning. Let's stick to facts and reliable sources so that we can make important decisions. Why your pagerank is so high as to show your page first is a mystery. But nonetheless, you have some responsibility to help shed some light on this issue and not mislead people since so many folks are going to read your site.I think your instinct to create a discussion was a good one, you just have to be responsible when you decide what the legitimate arguments are on both sides of the debate.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Hi Robby,

Thank you for your thoughtful criticisms.  I wrote this article over a year ago, and noting that I am so high on Google (thanks for telling me; I had no idea!) I do have a responsibility to be as accurate as I can.  I will take your comments into consideration and go back through this hub to represent the other side of the debate.

That said, I absolutely will not change my mind.  My main point is the following:

Consumers need to educate themselves -- ESPECIALLY people who think they are doing "good" by buying a particular car.  They should not just trust commercials, or a top hit on Google, or any other singular source, but should do a little thoughtful research (as you have done) before coming to their own conclusions.

The problem I am trying to expose is that the environmental impact of a car is NOT limited to its MPG rating, as the producers of all hybrids (not just the posterboy Prius) would have you believe.  Mining and smelting of nickel and aluminum are terrible for the environment.  And that's not even considering all of the damage done by cross-global shipping that takes place in the manufacturing of the Prius specifically.

A true environmentalist learns about what goes into the products he consumes and makes decisions based on that, not on marketing and "feeling good" about having "superior" products.  A true environmentalist does not care if his car stands out, only that he does the right thing by driving it.  (Actually, a true environmentalist rides a bike or takes public transportation, but you get my point.)

I don't think that Rush Limbaugh and I are quite on the same page, as he seems to hate anything resembling environmental friendliness, whereas I am saying the opposite: we SHOULD be concerned about our consumption of natural resources.  We should aim to preserve the environment in which we live, but we should do it for the right reasons, and not because we want to look "informed" driving a Prius.

Again, though, I'll edit my hub to make sure I'm getting my points across well.  Thank you again for your comment, and if you happen to see my response, I would love to hear your ideas on what I've said!

Kate 7 years ago

wow! great hub helena. now i have to convince myself i really dont want a prius. womp.

Gpaul 7 years ago

So if you read CNW's own rebuttal to all the criticism, they admit that they are basing the 109,000 mile lifetime on the 'average yearly mileage" of the early Prius models (about 6700 miles) times 15 years (basically they are limiting the lifetime to 15 years due to possible obsolescence from newer models.

Recently they used new data to increease the mileage lifetime of the Prius to 127,000 miles, which makes the Prius quite a bit more economical than the H3.

It is not logical to restrict the average yearly mileage to the early model usage (being highly conservative) yet at the same time figure the value down because of competitive models that MAY come out in the future. In fact they cite the Volt, an electric car which will probably never get on the market.

If you use the 13,000 mile year american average for the Prius, which is the use the car would get if it became fairly mainstream, then the Prius would actually be more attracitve than many of the cars above it on their list, including the Volkswagen diesel models and probably even the Toyota Corolla, thought without their exact formula, it is not possible to exactly calculate this.

In a final note, they state tha the Volkswagen diesels have a smaller footprint, but are not taking into account fairly recent data indicating the the particulate emissions from diesels are a signficant contributor to global warming, in fact.

Diesels only appear less polluting if you use the long outdated carbon monoxide standards that were applied to reduce smog during the 1970s. From a carbon output, view, they are not much better, and probably worse, than gasoline powered cars.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thank you so much for your well-thought-out comment, Gpaul. First of all, I want to say that you are DEFINITELY correct that diesel cars output a much worse exhaust than regular cars, and the fact that they are considered "green" on any planet is clearly one huge misconception.

But even factoring in the extended life of the Prius, it is still more environmentally harmful to produce the Prius in the first place than it is to produce many other cars. Between the smelting and the cross-global shipping that has to happen several times, it would be better just to buy a small, fuel-efficient car that is made entirely in the country where you plan to drive it.

StacyPerry 7 years ago

Interesting stuff, Helena. For those mentioning fuel consumption, remember that the Prius' greatest advantage is around town. For people travelling long distances a lot, the fuel savings won't be nearly as much.

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helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

StacyPerry, great point! I hadn't even thought of that, but the hybrid technology is really only useful for city driving (which is why I love the idea of hybrid cabs in New York!) and doesn't help much for highways. Just another point to factor in that shows that hybrids, for the most part, might just not be worth it.

stuback profile image

stuback 7 years ago

While I don't think the Prius is quite as green as it's made out to be, I still think it beats the Hummer hands down.

Why? First, the only real production difference is the batteries, as for the rest it's pretty much the same, just smaller, a lot smaller. So based on that (and yes, without getting the exact numbers, go look them up) I'll say the prius is about 1/3 the mass of the Hummer. So, just a wild guess, it's using about 1/3 the resources to produce the steel, glass, etc., and costs about 1/3 the pollution.

When you consider the actual weight of the nickel in the battery (32 pounds) of each car it's clear that it's not going to generate THAT much pollution to ship it around the world a few times. (do the math, shipping 32 pounds on a cargo ship that carries 100K tons produces how much pollution?) And besides, the battery is 100% recycleable and Toyota pays a cash bounty ($150) to get people to return them for recycling. (oh, and that mine in Canada has cleaned up it's act considerably in the last few years & even won a green award)(plus the prius uses less than 1% of the nickel produced there anyway)

Then there's the fuel economy thing... OK so let's say a real world 45mpg for the prius & 12mpg for the Hummer. According to the EPA burning gasoline produces 19.4 pounds of carbon per gallon. So lets do the math... To travel 100K miles the Hummer will use 8,333 gallons and the Prius will use 2,222 gallons. So at 19.4 pounds per gallon the Hummer produces 161K pounds of carbon emissions while the prius prouduces 43K pounds. Hmmm.... That's a HECK of a lot more for the Hummer.... and you really expect me to belive that shipping 32 pounds of nickel around the world on a cargo ship will produce more than the difference of 118K pounds of carbon emissions?

Nope, don't think so!

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 7 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for commenting, stuback. I definitely don't disagree with your counterargument; it's a good one. I don't know that I believe that CNW report anyway. The point of this hub is just to talk about it a little more and get these issues more into the open.

William 7 years ago

The only people who claim that a Hummer is better for the environment than a Prius are those in support and have funding from oil companies who are set to be decimated if they loose the worlds markets.

People also have claims that they claim they can back up with scientist. However, true scientist work by gathering results and allowing criticism of there results though journal papers. Gathering information and releasing it immediately is a cheap way to get an authority on an issue.

Who do you think performed such a study?

The truth is that batteries arent good for the environment, however they can be reused significantly, and they can also be disposed on through a battery plant. Batteries technology is also becoming more environmentally friendly.

I really wouldn't believe lies like that, oil companies will do what ever they can to delay the production of electric cars.

batteryguy 7 years ago

I am in the battery business. It costs about 5000 dollars to replace the battery in a prius. As the battery ages it will not hold a charge as good as it does when it is new and the gas engine will have to run more to keep it charged, lowering millage. The batteries are just beginning to fail in numbers right now. People who drive these cars are freaking out when they find out they need to drop 5 grand on a car that is 5 or more years old and end up getting another car instead. In any event, if you add in the cost of battery replacement AND the extra expense of the car's high purchase price, there is simply no money saved. So if it is no better [or worse] on the environment why would anyone want to drive one?

batteryguy 7 years ago

For those of you who drive these cars and have a bad battery, here is some info:

1. It is not cost effective to replace the bad cells only. If the battery is 5+ years old and has a bad cell or cells, why has the cell or cells failed? Is it do to some defect or is it age? If it has lasted 5+ years it is obviously bad due to age, so what does that say for all of the other cells which are the SAME age? Also, mixing new and old cells together has a negative impact on the new cells, reducing their overall life. That's because new cells charge quicker than old ones and so effectively get overcharged because there are more old cells to charge than new cells. Also there will always be a voltage imbalance between the old and new cells. The removal and reinstalling of the battery costs ~$1000.00 for labor. If you replace the bad cells you will most likely experience more cell failures within a year or so. You can see that what we now have is a never ending cycle that will add up to a much higher cost than just replacing the whole battery with a new one.

2. Many people faced with this dilemma buy another car. If they trade the old car in, the used car dealers will more than likely replace only the bad cells and not the entire battery. This is referred to as a "reconditioned" battery, and will generally not have a warranty more than 1 year. This is not a car you want to buy because of #1 above.

3. If you would like to purchase a used hybrid car that is more than a year or two old, try to find one that is cheap because it needs a new battery. That way you know you have a new battery with a warranty because you bought it and had it installed.

4. Unless you have training and know exactly what you are doing you should never attempt to do any of the work on these cars yourself. Most batteries are set up at high voltages that CAN KILL YOU. Even if you survive a shock it can cause permanent damage to your body in the form of brain damage, heart damage, lost fingers, severe burns and lots of other ugly things. This is not something to learn on your own or do yourself -- LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS!

5. For the record, I am a specialist in the battery industry but I do not sell these batteries nor do I work on cars of any kind. This is just factual info I hope people can use to save themselves injury, money and frustration.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

It's a great hub, it informs something that we never thought. Thanks

BOB 7 years ago

Lesson learned: if u wna save the environment (and stimulate the American economy) buy an american car such as a Hummer

cilxi profile image

cilxi 7 years ago

Great hub,

From the single consumer's perspective it's still greener to buy and use the Prius... you will burn less fuel and emit less CO2. Long term you will certainly be greener using public transportation or a bicycle and forget about the Prius vs. Hummer argument.

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JakeAuto 7 years ago from Calif.

It looks like electric cars will be moving to Lithium Ion batteries in the future, the major ingredient Lithium is apparently dug out of dry lake beds? in South America with minimal environmental impact. (Less than their previous 'crop' gold) Ultimately a diversity of fuels, including bio deisel, natural gas and even coal fired elecric generation will go toward lowering America's troubling obsession with keeping the oil flowing.

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NGRIA Bassett 6 years ago from Bermuda

Great article with balanced info. Thanks for the time you invested to share.

JakeAuto profile image

JakeAuto 6 years ago from Calif.

Here's another analysis along the same lines, they coin the phrase "Long Tailpipe":

Is a Prius Really Cleaner Than an Electric Car?

Bert 6 years ago

I fully believe that the Prius has a negative environmental impact due to the mining operations involved in nickel mining and refining, these facts cannot be denied.

But the other obvious fact is who would buy a car knowing that in about 100,000 miles you would have to spend $3000 to replace a critical component.

Would you buy a car if you knew that in 100,000 miles he would have to buy a new engine which would cost $3000, I doubt that. But that is what you doing when you're buying a hybrid.

In my opinion when it comes time to replace these batteries and taken into account all the other electrical and mechanical complexities involved with the car they will end up in junkyard's same as all the electric cars.

Who in his right mind will go out and spend $3000 plus to play find the old car back in operation not knowing what other mechanical problems you'll have beyond that point.

Think about what you buy a car if you knew that in five years or so you would have to buy new engine or a new battery at a cost of anywhere from $3,000-$6000. I doubt that

Environment 6 years ago

Manufacturing units for nay commodity have been a big source of pollution. Be it the Prius or any other car from any other manufacturer the pollution checks are minimal only to satisfy the norms its only Environmental friendly people (who have taken it up on them to save the environment) who take up such issues at almost every level because almost every country in this world has failed to check the environmental pollution at the cost of so called economic development.

Funky Puppet 6 years ago

A lot of these comments about Prius seem to assume that the battery will not last more than 100,000 miles. As one of the first Prius purchasers in 2002, I can tell you that we are at 150,000 miles and the battery is still going strong (we live on the Gulf Coast). Overall, it has been an inexpensive car to maintain as well as to fuel, and since we bought it before they became popular, it was also inexpensive to purchase.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for the comment, Funky Puppet! No one really knows how long the batteries will last until we see it happen, so it's the early-adopters like you who will be letting the rest of us know. That said, it doesn't mean that your car didn't take a huge amount of fossil fuels to ship the parts around the world while it was being manufactured.

Michael B 6 years ago

I have a prius and it has 200000 on it and it's been trouble free it has the original batteries and I average 52.2 miles per gallon, at today gas prices i have saved in excess of 10,000 dollars on gas vs my truck. Drive your hummer and sell your soul to the oil companies. most of the people who write in on the are lacking the facts and true information about the Prius. They are the best.

whywastemoney 6 years ago

i personally think that priuses are horrible especially when you have to get rid of the battery which is just horrible for the environment and people don't think that way

The Prius is just fine 6 years ago

"As Matt Power notes in this month’s issue of Wired,

hybrids get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs

of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about

113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius

has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline

before it reaches the showroom.

But here is the thing though.. 1000 gallons is about

10 tons of CO2, while a lot, it's the same CO2 output

as a 18mpg car driven for 15,000 miles. The 2010 Prius emits 3.8 tons of CO2 per 15,000 miles driven.

Let’s suppose a guy already owns a ’98 Mitsubishi Montero that averages around 18MPG, which according to "", at 15K miles, is 10.4 tons of CO2. A 2010 Prius which averages 50mpg emits 3.8 tons of CO2 for the same distance.. All right, so let's just say the Prius emits 13.8 tons of CO2 for the first year of driving (combine fuel consumption + manufacture of car). Ok, so the Prius is worse than the ’98 Mitsubishi Montero that the guy already has, but that's for the first year. After another 15,000 miles, the ’98 Montero will emit another 10.4 tons of CO2, making a total of 20.8 tons of CO2 while the Prius will emit another 3.8 tons of CO2, making for a total of 17.8 tons of CO2.

So tell me, how is a NEW Prius "less green" than a used car that gets 18mpg? After 30K miles, the brand new Prius is already more green than the already existing Montero.. The point of that "wired" article is to point out that used vehicles that are already efficient are more green in the short term than the Prius, i.e, they're more "cost effective".

Enough with the batteries, the batteries have a $200 bounty by Toyota themselves so that they're properly recycled. There is no issue with these batteries just like there is no issue with the lead-acid batteries you have in your car.

The Prius batteries have been shown to last at least 300,000 miles as evidenced by the Prius Taxis in New York which were retired at the 300,000 mark as required by law for all taxis.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Wow, what a fascinating article! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It goes on to say, though, that buying a used car that gets great gas mileage is the best option, which I have advocated for all along. I am going to edit my article a little bit now, though, to include that information you gave me. Thanks!

NewPotentialBuyer 6 years ago

You can find fault in all products. The Prius is the best option right now. They also have incredible resale value, even at 100,000+ miles. It ultimately will consume less and pollute less than any other new car. If you go for the used car argument, then buy a used Prius. It will extend the battery life further and consume less gasoline than any alternative. For your money, the Prius is the best you can buy. I think people get into the mind set so much not to trust big business at all that they try and find fault in all products.

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adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Too bad that it's bad for the environment. It doesn't look that classy either. I am reading more regarding this engine.

Cameron Benz 6 years ago

@ The Prius is Just Fine,

Convenient that you pick a vehicle like the Montero rather than a Honda Civic, Geo Metro, or Toyota Camry, all of which do 30mpg or better. When compared to any of those 3, the carbon "payback" takes a bit longer, doesn't it?

usr001 6 years ago

To batteryguy;

The Prius "Hybrid System" warranty (includes the battery, motor, generator and related electronics) for every state in the Union is 100,000 miles or 8 years. That's longer than you get for gas engines and transmissions. In California, and the other states which follow the California emissions control law (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT) the warranty is 150,000 miles or 10 years for the hybrid battery, and 15 years or 150,000 miles for the electric motor, generator, all of the control electronics and other emissions-related stuff. So anyone not getting a warranty replacement before eight years (ten years in the 9 states above) is getting ripped off by some batteryguy.

usr001 6 years ago

To bert;

As it has been shown, that nickel mine in Ontario has been producing since the 1870's, and essentially all of its pollution existed 50 years ago. The nickel that it sells to Toyota for batteries is 1% of its annual output, while 65% goes to... stainless steel. Flatware is typically 18/10 stainless, which is 10% nickel. The nickel in the Prius battery amounts to about 24 pounds; There is probably more nickel in the average SUV than there is in a Prius; guaranteed, if it has stainless steel wheels.

lulubell1798 profile image

lulubell1798 6 years ago

I do love the style of the cars though ! But now a days ,they are making things very envirementle !

bluejay900 profile image

bluejay900 6 years ago

I agree with you, lulubell. but it's terrible that these people are wrecking the environment. i hope they keep on making more environmental-friendly cars!

6 years ago

I find it interesting that we are drawing ANY of these conclusions based on (arguably) false scientific studies and made up numbers. I see a lot of ideas flying around here and yet nobody has bothered to find any real data, in this age of information at our fingertips, to support their theory other than these questionable sources.

Try searching some scientific journals.... you might need a friend at a university to find a login but this kind of data has been flying around for... years.


A retail and lifecycle cost analysis of hybrid electric vehicles

Timothy E. Lipmana, , and Mark A. Delucchib

aInstitute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2105 Bancroft Way, 3rd Floor, MC 3830, Berkeley, CA 94720-3830, USA

bInstitute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA

Available online 15 December 2005. "

"Design, demonstrations and sustainability impact assessments for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

This article is not included in your organization's subscription. However, you may be able to access this article under your organization's agreement with Elsevier.

Thomas H. Bradleya, , and Andrew A. Frankb

aWoodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 801 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA

bDepartment of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California- Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-5294, USA

Received 16 April 2007; accepted 30 May 2007. Available online 31 July 2007.


There are lots of these papers and although each must be subject to interpretation at least they are peer reviewed and show their data sources. It bothers me a bit when people are swayed by (possibly bias) news articles instead of trying to look up real data and analysis. Not that peer-reviewed science is without its political-and funding affiliations too... it is just more scrutinized than a news article.

How about this scenerio- plug in vehicles can be used to lower peak energy demand with smart grid technology.. Thus lowering the overall lifecycle 'cost' of this type of vehicle since it is saving peaking power plant emissions (usually natural gas). The battery can be used to drain out some energy into the grid to help those plants not turn on... just some thoughts no numbers yet!

Paul 6 years ago

Did any of you know that those who claim that the Prius is bad for the environment are backed by oil companies?

One of the rules of Nazi Propaganda was:"If you lie, make sure it's an incredible lie!" and this article actually suggests that the Hummer is less environmentally damaging is a really big lie. Did you know that a Hummer does less then a gallon per mile?

All the cars are made from parts from all around the world. Many cars use nickel in them. Let's not forget that there are a lot of other sources of nickel,that are near Japan like Russia, China. Those sources are certainly cheap, cheaper then Canada anyway and I'm sure that and I'm sure all the refining that the nickel goes to before it reaches the battery factory can be done in Russia or China so don't believe everything that is said about the Prius.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Hi Paul,

I think you are trying to say that the Hummer does less than a mile per gallon? (Because all cars use less than a gallon to go a mile.) If you are, I'm pretty sure any Hummer owner can tell you that's not true. They fill up their tanks (however many gallons that is) and get probably 10-14 miles per gallon. Now that's TERRIBLE fuel economy, so you don't have to exaggerate to make it worse.

lindsays5624 profile image

lindsays5624 6 years ago

MOst interesting .So I see it is not just about the running efficiecy that is important from an environmental point of view. Thanks for exposing these issues!

mr_pookykins 6 years ago

I believe that if you want to be "eco friendly" but also can't resist the excitement of getting to work on time, then just go buy a nice comfy car, that makes you feel happy when you drive it, and just drive it and drive it until the stress of constant unexpected repairs no longer makes you happy with the car. Then sell in to whoever will take it and start the whole process all over again. That way you are being nice enough to the enviroment to make you feel good and you'll overall spend less (not to be confused with 'save more') money.

A Prius is still just another grubby little carbon farting machine.

Buying a Prius because you genuiely feel cars are damaging the environment more than you can bare is like killing 9 puppies a day instead of 10 because you genuinely care about animal welfare.

*** Only buy a Prius if it makes YOU feel happy ***

Flashash 6 years ago

I see that this article was written over 2 years ago, but I am happy to see that people are still looking up this topic. The Hybrid car is the biggest "Green" fallacy there is. Unless you are only going to drive your hybrid under 60 mph, your mpg is going to be far less than advertised. Remember, you have a 1.8L engine pushing a car far heavier than the Toyota Corolla. Has no one ever wondered why the mpg rating is lower for hwy than city?

Paul, the reason that Ontario, Canada is used in the Dust to Dust study is because that is where the Nickel for the Toyota Prius battery is sourced (at least at that time) from.

Keep in mind people, "Green" is a myth. It is a money maker for a lot of companies. The only reason that AT&T, Comcast, CitiBank, etc, want you to go email only on your power bill, cc bill, etc is not to go "Green", it is for them to save $100 million a year on paper and shipping (Comcast - 24.6 million customers, 12 statements at $0.20 each is almost $40million).

Remember, more people die from Wind Mill accidents every year than Nuclear power plant accidents.

Get informed about the "Green" myth.

urquhart 5 years ago

what about buying a used prius then? theoretically that big carbon footprint would all be dealt to the first owner, also driving from london to cardiff (pretty much 2.5 hours on the m4 so 70mph) averaged at 54mpg which isn't as good as a diesel but good for a car thats meant for urban stop start traffic

johnnyjoe 5 years ago

Yea that's a good point about buying a used Prius/hybrid. I think hybrid cars are ultimately a step in the right direction given whatever multiple factors are working for or against them. Hybrids are definitely worth it if you get your miles in. Diesel engines are also a good alternative as you can run them on biodiesel(although that brings up another argument of food/water/land vs. energy, even tho theres new biodiesels based on algae!).

I am DB Cooper profile image

I am DB Cooper 5 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

If you want to go green, keep your current car in good running condition or buy a used car with good mpg. Diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be and are a good option if you want a car that can get 40+ mpg.

Buying new is never the greenest option because it takes so much to build a new car. On the other hand, someone has to buy new cars so we can have a supply of used cars on the market. Given that reality, people should buy new cars that have good mpg and will last a long time.

Etienne 5 years ago

I the author mention lest the market decide. I guess the market as decide the hummer are now gone. Prius as sold more than 2 million vehicule.

helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Hi Etienne,

As an Economics major, I'd like to just say that "let the market decide" is an extremely problematic statement. Not only is the market NOT a thinking/feeling entity that makes decisions, and not only is the market not even a defined entity in the first place, but more relevantly, "the market" is only efficient when the actors in the market are homo economicus. Since almost all modern economists would agree that the assumption of homo economicus is flawed (at best), the market CAN'T decide because we are not all fully-informed, fully rational, and solely self-interested.


Matt Beaudoin 5 years ago

great article on the environmental impact of the Prius. You kept a good balance and gives me a fair perspective on my aunt's car. There was also a comparison on Top Gear where they ran a Prius at full speed against a BMW M5 and found the Prius got worse mileage when driven like a racecar.. not that anyone who owned one really would.

Brad 5 years ago

Awfully one-sided. I would like to see the facts on where and how metals for the Hummer are being mined as well so we can actually make a fair comparison.

White coat 5 years ago

Come on... the number one issue as usual is political... oil equals mid east addiction. Battery = canada, china, japan addiction. In this environment the second trumps the first. This does not discount either theory it was more off of the how the "US works" rule page.

Which4u profile image

Which4u 5 years ago from Leicester, UK

I bought a Prius back in 2003 and i've done 175,000 miles - haven't had any battery problems so far and has always been ok in terms of running costs :)

Halster 5 years ago

Want great MPG and want to save the planet? Buy a German Diesel. You'll get the same gas mileage and a MUCH better car.

gogus buyutucu 5 years ago

As an Economics major ;)

Jenny 5 years ago

My prius is a 2001, has 137,000 on it, just got new struts, ready to keep going. Gas is getting close to $4 per gallon, the climate is a mess. I think I did the right thing, and in spite of its dents and bruises, I will keep driving this car for yeas to come. The car before this one I kept 17 years. Because every new car has a negative production impact, let's keep them awhile!

Andres 4 years ago

Hi, not big about forums but...

I'm just a college student (and full time contractor, don't ask how I find time), my car got totaled last week by an apparently daltonic driver that can't distinguish green from red. I could be driving my new Prius today but decided to postpone the purchase and really understand the numbers first.

Point: every car will consume 1,000's of galons of gas before the odometer hits 1.

All cars must be transported from raw materials into refineries and from factory to retail/dealership.

It just makes sense to me that this is a factor is invalid in the Gas vs Hybrid fight, no?

Anyone can point me out to good links about the manufacturing information of Nickel-Cadmium and Lithium Ion manufacturing for hybrids? I can't seem to find any controversy-pointed-out articles out there.

Benny 4 years ago

To whomever commented on the Japanese making longer lasting cars and questioning the 300,000mi Hummer H1. I currently own a Hummer H1 for off-road tours and hiking (we ditch the ride), and I just clicked over 275 000mi. Those haven't been nice comfy city miles the Prius and "Japanese counterparts" get (at least the ones over 200 000mi). I just don't understand the hype these oriental car companies receive, there are stats out there that support your theory but they have major holes (as nearly all do). Groups and companies find ways to bend stats to fit what they are trying to get consumers to believe.

Enthusiast 4 years ago

Buy BMW and this problem would be solved

DZL 4 years ago

Whatever, I base the type of vehicle I drive on what I need it to do,so until they build a prius that will pull a 10,000 lb trailer,I will stick with my F350 diesel.

Sean 4 years ago

Anyone who thinks a hummer will last 300k is retarted. American cars Are garbage. If our government demanded products to be made in house we wouldn't have these problems.

Bcm 4 years ago

You want a hybrid that pulls a trailer, buy a Highlander hybrid or RX450h or Escape. btw, this article and its source are Widely debunked. In fact the author retracted his stance years ago. Don't believe all the crap you hear on the internet. It can be a cesspool of misinformation. You better hope Ford, GM and Chrysler can begin to compete with the *lowly*? Prius, because the sales figures are huge .... within top 20 of all cars, trucks and SUVs sold in US. Looks at its company of sellers above and below, no joke man.

Bcm 4 years ago

Do a Google search with "Prius Life Cycle Youtube" watch the video, then respond, see how it lines up with this FUD article.

W Self 4 years ago

I choose to read Toyota Marketing's YouTube video critically ( It says emissions are 37% less than for a comparable gas vehicle. But the issues are production and disposal. In response for that, the ad absolutely does not compare comparable vehicles. Instead, it distracts with statements that say they studied every component, they installed solar panels and planted tress at the factory, etc. It evades any comparison of its battery/electrical system,alloy metals, etc. vs. conventional cars' environmental costs.

gouzalia 4 years ago

I just love everything about prius. I got the car for saving money on gas, but I really enjoy other aspects as well. Low maintanance costs, really light and comfortable car, large cargo area, and I love the shape of the car. From all the cars I've had prius satisfies me the most. And now I am excited about Prius Plug In which gives you 90 miles/gallon

cyricmccallen 3 years ago

Expected to last for 100,000 miles? My 2007 prius is at 120,000 miles and running strong. this article is extremely biased

toptenluxury profile image

toptenluxury 3 years ago from Cedartown, GA

This was a very interesting hub. Thanks for all the info. I have never liked the Toyota Prius! Voted up!

rob 2 years ago

This article is a case of someone spewing numbers and people not investigating. if the cost per mile is $3.25 and the Prius cost $25000 then you would be expected to spend $300000 to drive 100000 miles. Well my Prius c has 36000 and I have only spent $70 in maintenance and around $2500 in gas. with the $3.25 per mile logic I should have spent $125000 so far I am getting away at 65 cents per mile so I must be very lucky.

Teagan 2 years ago

This is all so true, the only people who would not appreciate the brutal truth of this article is people who drive The Prius....and thats because they drive a Prius...and we all know what they're like. When you type "Why are Prius....." into Google, the first thing to come up is " Why are Prius drivers such assholes.".

Tyler Kobs 18 months ago

Why do people hype up the Prius so much? My 2000 Volkswagen Passat averages 35 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined, and that is for a 15 year old car, the 2015 Passats get 44 mpg on highway and 30 mpg in the city. Plus it is a lot of fun to drive a turbo charged German tank!

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molometer 8 months ago from Cambridgeshire, England

Nice well balanced article. I've been driving a Prius for over 5 years now.

It has never broken down and I get 54.7 mpg month in month out. Motorways or urban makes no difference.

Is it better than a Hummer? You bet. At least my pocket think so. :)

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