Again the theme this week is Silly Energy Uses:
Prius easily beats Hummer in lifecycle energy use; ‘Dust to Dust’ report has no basis in fact
Posted by Joseph Romm (Guest Contributor) at 12:42 PM on 27 Aug 2007
A study came out recently claiming to prove a Hummer has lower lifecycle energy use than a Prius. Because the result was so obviously bogus — and in sharp contradiction with every other major lifecycle analysis ever done — I didn’t spend time debunking it.
But it made it into the comments of my blog and continues to echo around the internet, and the authors keep updating and defending it. A couple of good debunking studies — by the Pacific Institute (PDF) and by Rocky Mountain Institute (PDF) — haven’t gotten much attention, according to Technorati, so let me throw in my two cents.
The study’s title is revealing: Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal, The non-technical report, from CNW Marketing Research, Inc. Yes, although lifecycle energy use is probably the most complicated kind of energy analysis you can do, this 458-page report is “non-technical” and by a market research company to boot.
Their website says the report “does not include issues of gigajuelles [sic!], kW hours or other unfriendly (to consumers) terms. Perhaps, in time, we will release our data in such technical terms. First, however, we will only look at the energy consumption cost.”
Wouldn’t want to confuse consumers with unfriendly technical stuff like kilowatt-hours, like those annoying electric utilities do every month. No, let’s put everything in dollar terms so no one can reproduce our results. When you misspell gigajoules on your website — and have for a long time (try googling “gigajuelles”) … you aren’t the most technical bunch.
I am mocking this report because it is the most contrived and mistake-filled study I have ever seen — by far (and that’s saying a lot, since I worked for the federal government for five years). I am not certain there is an accurate calculation in the entire report. I say this without fear of contradiction, because this is also the most opaque study I have ever seen — by far. I defy anyone to figure out their methodology.
So what is a sillier use of energy, saying that a Hummer is cheaper overall than a Prius or debunking it? Wouldn’t it be simplier to just point out that they are industry FLACKs that have been sucking up to the auto industry since 1984?
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