Hank Green is right on:
"There's been a ridiculous amount of controversy lately among people promoting their version of the best environmental automobile solution. People who own Priuses getting angry at people saying that bio-fuels are better for the environment. People who bemoan the loss of the EV-1 laughing at comparative electric power of a Prius.
Sometimes I feel like I'm preaching to the choir, but now I think the choir needs to be preached to, because they're at each other's throats. Baritones, basses and sopranos...I don't care, folks, let's sing together for a change.
ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE GOOD
- Hybrids: Making individual vehicles more efficient by capturing the energy lost during breaking is a no-brainer with $4-per-gallon gas on the horizon. Cars should be more efficient and use regenerative breaking whether they're ethanol, gasoline, electric, or hydrogen-powered. The more we invest in this technology, the better off the world will be.
- Ethanol: There are a lot of problems with sugar-based ethanol, most of which are solved with cellulosic production. Cellulosic ethanol produces at least seven times more energy than is required to produce it. It doesn't require huge swathes of agricultural land or tons of fertilizer. Running a Prius with cellulosic ethanol means it would produce 6x less carbon than a Prius running on gasoline.
- Plug-ins: Using electricity to power cars is about two times more carbon-efficient than using gasoline. We've known this for a long time, but only recently have we had the technology to make it work cost-competitively. We should have all-electric vehicles on the road right now, but we don't. Hopefully, with enough expressed demand, we will soon.
So, instead of arguing about which technology is best now, let's look at the best-case scenario... A plug-in hybrid burning E-85 cellulosic ethanol would produce roughly 15 times less carbon than a non-hybrid, non-E-85, non-plug-in counterpart.
Why can't we all just get along?"
(EcoGeek post, Jan. 17, 2008)