I have to confess that I am a tree-hugger. No shame in that. I get giddy about recycling and my heart stops briefly whenever I see someone throw a cardboard box or aluminum can in the garbage. And although I haven’t made the leap yet, I am very intrigued by hybrid and electric cars. So when I saw an article from Home and Family Finance on “green” cars, I had to share a bit of it.
While electric cars are an environmentalist’s dream, I didn’t realize there were some really cool advances happening at the automobile manufacturing level. Ford makes seat cushions from soybean-based materials. They already use them in the Mustang, Escape and pickups. They say producing the soy materials reduces greenhouse gas emissions and energy use compared with petroleum-based foam. Subaru also has a plant that recycles all the waste from its manufacturing and sends almost nothing to landfills. They even recycle and reuse sludge and solvent left over from painting the cars. Kudos!
But from an emissions standpoint, the debates make my head spin. Some say hybrids are good and some say they’re no better. While gas prices certainly make me conscious of MPGs, my bigger concern is, “Am I making the world a better place by purchasing a hybrid?” According to this article, if you buy a Super Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) as designated by the government, it will discharge only about one pound of smog-causing hydrocarbons in 100,000 miles. Compare this with the 10 pounds of emissions for a conventional vehicle and I think we’re making a difference.
Most hybrids get this SULEV designation. And according to our friends at Argonne National Laboratory’s U.S. Department of Energy, a hybrid on the road for 15 years would generate about half the greenhouse gas emissions overall of a gas-only vehicle of similar size.
As we gear up for our auto loan sale, I wonder how many of you will be considering a hybrid…