Owning a Prius is not a political statement, and Prius owners, your feces still stinks. You’ve simply lowered you “carbon footprint” a little bit. As a matter of fact, you really haven’t done much. You want to make a statement, TRY RIDING A BIKE Bicycles put out zero pollutants. If you rode one to work, you’d also be getting your out of shape, under-utilized, rickety body back into shape, as well as taking REAL action to help the environment and curb global warming.
Many Prius drivers seem to think they have a monopoly on conservation and “carbon footprint” reduction, but it’s really not about what you drive, but how its driven. For example, a person could share drive time between a Corvette and a middleweight motorcycle and burn fewer gallons of gas per week, while emitting less Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as less overall pollution than a Prius owner. Many righteous Prius owners would scoff at the notion of having a larger “carbon footprint” than the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S owner, but simple arithmetic reveals the Prius owner’s dirty little secret—a seldom driven gas-guzzler can be more environmentally friendly than an oft-driven hybrid.
And I know you’re saying “Yes, you’ve got a point, but my Prius runs on battery power half the time and pollutes less when it runs on gas, it’s a PZEV!!!”
You couldn’t be more wrong. When your Prius burns gas, it does so with a fuel-injected internal combustion engine that filters it’s exhaust plume through a catalytic converter, just like any Corvette, Porsche SUV, or Hummer H3. All modern cars sold in California are built to meet our state’s stringent smog standards. Unless you’re car burns something other than gasoline, like bio-diesel, which your Prius doesn’t, the cloud emanating from your tailpipe is identical in composition to a Bentley’s flatulence, only less voluminous. Yes, Priuses use electric motors some of the time, but they are no different than non-hybrids in that they will not run on banana peels and rainwater when the fuel gauge reaches “empty.”
And no acronym is more deceptive than PZEV or, “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.” First of all, “partial zero” is not a numeric value. You learned that in 1st grade math. There is no such thing as nothing and something simultaneously. The reasoning behind this blasphemy is the idea that no exhaust gases are emitted when electric motors are powering the vehicle down the road at low speeds, which happens “part” of the time, hence “partial zero.” Where did the voltage to power the electric motors come from? You guessed it, an internal combustion engine. In other words, each revolution of a Prius’ electric motors was enabled by the combustion of gasoline, not the granola you spilled under the driver’s seat. Under currently accepted rationale, a Corvette is also a PZEV, because it can roll down hills in neutral, can be stalled at stoplights, and burns no gasoline when parked.
Hybrid drive is an innovative engineering breakthrough that should be implemented on all vehicles selflessly, without a PZEV sticker on the window. It’s just another mechanism that improves the efficiency of automobiles, and there have been many that preceded it, only nobody wanted a medal for having them. Long ago, fuel injection improved gas mileage tremendously versus contemporaneous carbureted cars when it was introduced. Aerodynamics helped vastly, as did smaller engines, CPU controlled ignition, and variable valve timing, but nobody wanted a medal then.
Owning a hybrid is, at the moment, a hollow environmental statement—it will only work on the ill-informed, and will be meaningless when hybrid drive becomes standard equipment on all vehicles, and chrome Hybrid insignia becomes a thing of the past.
Prius owner, you want to be able to drive in the carpool lane alone and get free parking just because you drive a hybrid? Screw you. If Prius owners can ride solo and clog the carpool lane, a Hummer owner should be allowed the same cheat provided the owner could prove his/her SUV logged fewer than one fourth the weekly mileage of a typical Prius owner.
If you’re still miffed that your 2008 Prius didn’t come with an “Access OK” sticker, sell it, and buy a Ducati 848, which, by the way, boasts Prius-level fuel efficiency, hauls butt, and, like any motorcycle, can be ridden in California’s carpool lanes legally, and parked virtually anywhere for free. Therein lies the reason we pay for parking and have carpool lanes—space is finite. Motorcycles conserve space and gasoline. Despite this fact, no motorcyclist gets the Al Gore seal of approval.
Helping save the environment is not about making statements or driving trendy cars. It’s about the numbers, and nothing more, because numbers never lie. If you log 400 miles a week in your Prius you’re NO BETTER than the guy who logs 100 a week in a Porsche. You want to decrease your carbon footprint? Live close to your place of work so you can commute on your feet or on two wheels. Don’t ask for a pat on the back or special privileges because you’re doing what you’re supposed to do for the good of mankind and the planet. Actions like walking to work speak louder than words like Hybrid.
Just some food for thought for all you Prius owners.