Hybrids cost more

September 11, 2010 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

 A new study by CarGurus.com that suggests that, increased fuel economy notwithstanding, hybrids don’t deliver good value for the money. In fact, the average hybrid costs 25 percent more to own and operate than its gas-only counterpart.

It is also notwithstanding the environmental impact of hybrids.  As more people depend more heavily on mobile devices like laptops and phones, we create an increased demand for batteries.  That’s seperate from the current trend of hybrid cars.  How much material does it cost to power a CAR compared to a camera?  These heavy materials are expensive to move.  These hazardous materials are dangerous to dispose of (which comes with a high cost).  Obtaining these materials requires mining and drilling – a practice that always leads to problems.  These materials are only found in a certain few areas.  What good is it to trade dependence on oil-rich countries for dependence on rare earth material-rich countries (China and Russia are the 2 largest sources)? 

Neodymium, terbium, dysprosium, and lanthanum are all considered rare earth metals, and all are being depleted, quickly, by popular hybrids. Anyone who’s considering a Toyota Prius [or other hybrid] might want to remember this quote from Jack Lifton, an independent commodities consultant and strategic metals expert, who calls the Prius “the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world.” (Source: See ‘Car Gurus’ below)

Alternative power is great.  But are batteries the best option?  The materials used in batteries are so rare that they are called Rare Earth Elements!  Should an alternative energy source use a power source that has the word “rare” in its name?

Car Gurus: Toyota Prius: King of Green, or Earth Killer?
Reuters: As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms
Live Science: Shortage of Rare Earth Elements Could Thwart Innovation
Popular Mechanics: 4 Rare Earth Elements That Will Only Get More Important
Popular Science: Shortage of Rare Earth Minerals May Cripple U.S. High-Tech, Scientists Warn Congress

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