Who resurrected the electric car?

s part of my continuing quest to stay within shouting distance of at least a passing acquaintance with recent film, I watched the following three (on DVD of course):

  • "All the King’s Men."
    Fairly entertaining, but bizarre. I don’t
    think there was a single Southerner in it, much less a Louisianan, and
    the accents were all over the place. Why couldn’t they have gotten
    James Carville to play Sugarboy? Of course, Stark’s boys wouldn’t have been Cajun. He could have been Tiny Duffy, then, instead of Tony Soprano filling that part. It didn’t really disappoint, but my expectations weren’t high.
  • My expectations were very high for "The Departed," and I’m happy to report that they were exceeded. This may be Scorcese’s best, and that’s say a LOT. Yeah, it’s another gangster film, but it’s as different from "Goodfellas" as "Goodfellas" was from "Mean Streets." And it completely deserves to be mentioned alongside them. I’ll say no more about it; I don’t want to spoil anything. See it.
  • "Who Killed the Electric Car." Maybe not as great esthetically as "The Departed," but still a must-see. The conspiracy of interested parties that together ended California’s experiment in creating a market for electric cars is enough to turn the most sensible person into Oliver Stone. To see the wonderful vehicles GM and other major automakers created to meet that demand, then to see them crush the movement, then round up every one of the vehicles for destruction — even though the leaseholders (they never let anybody buy one) desperately wanted to keep them — is pretty powerful stuff.

But imagine my surprise, after seeing that, to go down to party on St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points and find — an electric car.

Not a mere hybrid, mind you, but a car that you can plug in anywhere, a car that uses NO fossil fuels whatsoever. (At least, not unless your electricity is provided by coal, which is too often the case.) Hybrids have their advantages, of course, with their unlimited range. But there’s such an inspiring purity about the electric car. If we could all drive those, with electricity provided by nukes, the Energy Party dream would be here.

In case you’re interested: The vehicle is called a Zap car (ZAP stands for Zero Air Pollution), and are being promoted locally by Dr. F. Steven Isom. His Website is EVCarolina.com, and the phone number on his business card — which proclaims "Electric Vehicles NOW!" — is (803) 233-1700.

Cool stuff.

118 thoughts on “Who resurrected the electric car?

  1. Dave

    I haven’t seen the “Electric Car” conspiramentary (yet) but it is a fact that Honda and Toyota are now scaling back production of electric hybrids. My take on it is $.75 a gallon gas killed the electrics, not a conspiracy. Now, if gas heads to $5 a gallon, we may see a revival, but there is no conspiracy.

  2. ed

    Ever considered what fifteen hundred pounds of lead-acid batteries look like after a collision at interstate speeds? Wonder where all that acid and contaminated lead go when they splatter and splash out of broken battery cases? I guess the good news is that electric cars can only achieve highway speeds for 10-12 minutes at a time between charging periods that last all night. And all this for the joy of “looking” like you really care about the environment. People that buy these cars deserve the ridicule that the get. And then some. I think the dirty little secret is that Honda and Toyota are scaling back production of these things because no one really wants them. Ed

  3. kent beuchert

    It’s a sad commenrtary on the historical illiteracy in this country that people are expecting to be informed about historical events via Hollywood films written and produced by a liar like Chris Paine. Virtually every single statement in his
    laughably moronic and paranoid flick is
    either a flat out lie, or a gross distortion of reality. The only reason his film succeeds is because he is preaching to an audience of the ignorant. Not one reviewer that commented on the film showed
    any independent knowledge of the EV-1 in particular or recent electric car programs
    in general. (Toyota Rav4 : cancelled, Honda’s EV : cancelled after 6 months; Nissan : about to be cancelled). As an electric car advocate who has studied the technology back to its roots in the Dteroit Electric and the Waverly, I find it absurd that anyone could examine the technology for more than 10 seconds and still not profess to understand why it failed, as Paine is claiming. Of course, that would have required a film of 3 minutes, not the hours that Paine has padded out in his
    “investigation” of why the technology failed. Any not-too-bright 7 year old child could have told Paine “It’s the battery, Stupid!!!” Let’s see, that EV-1 battery pack cost $20K plus, lasted about 5 years,
    took 6 hours plus to recharge (assuming you
    have a 220 volt outlet handy), the car’s manufacturing cost exceeded $45,000, and the car MIGHT get you to a 40 mile destination and back on a fiull charge. Maybe. Maybe not. Ah, the thrill of never knowing howfat the EV-1 will travel (it gets less and les over time, just to make things even more interesting). Ah, yes, the EV-1 was the wonder car that Paine claims. It’s a total wonder why GM put that piece of crap on the market.

  4. Lee

    Electric cars actually do use fossil fuels as their primary source of energy…or nuclear fuels.
    Electricity has to come from a generating plant somewhere, either a small personal one, or an electric utility.
    It just makes people feel good to have the smokestack out of sight, rather than right there at the back of the car.

  5. ed

    Rigorous snalysis would surely show that these “electric” abominations have a greater negative impact upon the environment than do conventionally powered vehicles. I say “electric” in quotes because Lee is exactly right…in the end ALL vehicles are posered by fossil fuels. Ed

  6. Tony Belding

    CARB really forced the EV1 (and other electric cars) into existence at a time when the public wasn’t ready for them, the industry wasn’t ready for them, and the technology wasn’t quite ready. In so doing, they set it up for failure. It really should be a lesson about the folly of trying to legislate technological progress.
    Now everything has changed. Now we have big concerns over dependence on foreign oil, global oil depletion, and global warming (which I personally think is bogus, but a lot of people believe in it), and we have greatly improved lithium batteries.
    The EV1 was made with three different types of batteries, the early ones could only manage about 60 miles per charge. Later they got that up over 100 miles. In comparison, a Tesla Roadster with lithium batteries can go 250 miles per charge. It’s a sign of things to come.

  7. Tony Belding

    Even if 100% of your electricity is from coal-fired power plants — which is really the dirtiest way to produce electrical power — they still produce marginally less pollution than gasoline-powered cars, simply because gasoline engines are so inefficient. Plus, the USA doesn’t import coal and isn’t going to run out any time soon.
    Then you factor in any other energy sources: natural gas, hydro power, geothermal, wind, solar, nuclear, and the numbers only get better. With an electric car, all these options are on the menu for producing the power to charge it up.
    Here in Texas we produce and burn coal, as well as lots of natural gas. However, Texas recently surpassed California as the state with most power generated from wind turbines. TXU has also placed an order with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for two of the biggest nuclear power plants they offer.

  8. bud

    Who says manufacturers are scaling back on hybrid car production? Until recently Toyota couldn’t keep enough Priuses in stock to satisfy demand. Since they’ve added additional manufacturing capacity for the Prius sales continue to boom. Honda is selling plenty of Civic Hybrids. And Ford’s Escape is doing quite well. Nisson and GM both have hybrids.
    It’s true when gas prices dip demand for hybrids falls but since gas prices will only continue to trend upward over the long run sales of hybrids will also. Toyota is planning a third generation hybrid in a couple of years that should increase fuel economy even more. It may even have a plug in feature.
    As for the claims that electric cars run on fossil fuel generated electricity that’s only partially true. Since current models are not plugged in the only way they can be charged is through the dynamic forces of the vehicle. This includes the effects of braking. When driven properly hybrids can get up to 60 miles per gallon in city driving. All without ever plugging one in.
    The battery example ed brought up is just plain dumb. In a crash severe enough to cause that kind of damage the least of your worries will be the batteries. Your broken body and the high cost of medical care trumps that minor issue.
    Hybrid Car Sales US Market (from Hybridcars.com)
    In the past five years the number of hybrid sales numbers in the US grew tenfold from 9,500 in 2000 to 88,000 in 2004. By the end of 2005, the number of hybrid cars on American roads grew to over 212,000 vehicles in 2005 more than doubling 2004 sales figures. Growth continued in 2006 with a 28 percent increase from 2005 – 254,545 new hybrid vehicles were registered in 2006.

  9. ed

    Broken bodies happen no matter how the cars were propelled Bud. The batteries simply introduce a whole new arena of injury possibilities. ed

  10. bud

    The new batteries in hybrid cars are 100% recyclable and very environmentally friendly. With less gasoline the environmental hazards are likely less than for a conventional vehicle. With a pure electric car we wouldn’t have to deal with the gasoline issue at all. ed you’ve actually stumbled onto yet another reason to push for electric vehicle technology.
    The battery packs in Priuses are proving to be remarkably durable. Toyota guarantees them for 10 years but it appears they are likely to last much longer. A further advantage of this technology is the reduction in wear on brake systems and the gasoline engine itself. At current gasoline prices hybrids are selling at a brisk pace. As soon as fuel prices go up, as they inevetiably will, these vehicles will become a real bargain. If we can figure a way to use wind or solar power to recharge the batteries we can further reduce co2 emissions. This is a very promising technology that probably scares big oil to death.

  11. ed

    Which reason did I stumble upon Bud? The battery acid melting human flesh in the event of a wreck reason or the top speed 50 mph for up to an hour followed by an 8 hour recharge reason? Or was it the hideous appearance reason? Ed

  12. ed

    I am obviously having fun with you Bud, but the truth is I am a nonbeliever. The third law of thermodynamics says, and I quote, “there is no free lunch.” Or maybe it was the second…but either way, there really is no free lunch. It takes a certain minimum amount of work to move something from point a to point b. I believe that it really doesn’t matter whether you burn the fuel required to do this work under the hood of your individual car, or you burn it at SCE&G. The same amount of work has to be done and roughly the same amount of fuel must be consumed in the doing of it, no matter where that happens to be. All you cheerleaders for electric cars seem to me to want us to believe that we realize orders of magnitude improvements in fuel consumption by burning the fuel at the powerplant, when I know that we don’t. And the little ugly electric cars you love so much are a step backwards from what we have now. I’ll stick with my ’71 Dodge Power Wagon. Ed

  13. Ready to Hurl

    ed drives a 1971 Dodge Power Wagon but thinks a Toyota Prius is ugly!
    Aesthetic appeal is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Slowing the destruction of our environment and making us less dependent on Terrorist Oil makes up for any design shortcomings in the Prius in my book.
    ed, if you haven’t named your truck, yet, I think that “Osama” would be perfect.

  14. Hugh E Webber

    Some of the ignorance on display in the above comments may be cured (but not the ugly dispositions also on parade) by visiting EVWorld.com and actually learning something about modern EVs before shooting off, quoting Big Oil propaganda or just making Southerners look like rednecks (I live in Florida, which also is half-full of uneducated yahoos.)
    I have a guest blog on the EV World site (scroll way down and look for EVolution) that gives actual documented facts showing that the long-tailpipe objection is almost as screwy as the oil industry-sponsored and -promoted “study” that overstated the lead hazards from dead batteries by 10,000% and ignored the 95+% US auto battery recycling rates.
    I like debating as much as anyone, but I tend to use documented facts instead of ignorant opinions when I want to convince people that I’m right. Try it: it works!

  15. ed

    Hurl, my truck is called Brutus.
    Mr. Webber seems to think that he wins the arguement merely by trying to direct us to some left wing enviro-whacko website that almost certainly spouts the communist party line. Alternatively, it may be a site preaching the virtues of ev’s and Hugh may be a car salesman. I don’t know. In any event, sorry Hugh, it’s not that easy. Throwing in catch phrases like “big oil” (which in Hughs’ mind is some sort of boogey man responsible for poverty, pollution, and uneven income distribution and all the other things left wingnuts run incessantly at the mouth about) doesn’t win it for you either Hugh. You’re gonna have to come up with more than that. And calling people names just blunts your idiotic “point” (I’m being kind…you really have no point) even further (if you hate one half of the people who live in Florida here’s a tip: This is a free country…you can actually move so as to live with people you may find more to your liking). Overall, it’s a nice try Hugh, but it’s the same old stuff we hear from nearly every other liberal that gets behind a mike or in front of a camera these days. No one buys it from them…why should we from you?Ed

  16. bud

    This from Dave’s Business Week article:
    Honda’s planning chief for North America, Dan Bonawitz, likely speaks for most of his counterparts when he says: “There won’t be a giant surge in hybrid sales unless there’s an oil crisis.”
    Fair enough. But if it weren’t for the running oil crises we are already facing we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Oil depletion is a fact of life. And as gasoline prices inevitably increase and technology advances in the long run, hybrids sales will pick up. It’s a proven technology that takes advantage of the third law of thermodynamics. That’s what makes them so effective and is apparently a point lost on Dave and ed. Electricity can be derived from many sources, so we’re not dependent on oil supplies. And much of the electricity needed to power a hybrid comes from sources normally lost, such as braking the vehicle. In certain parts of the country home windmills can re-charge the batteries for a plug-in vehicle. Again, that’s an energy source normally lost forever.
    The overly simplified example ed uses to denigrate the beautiful hybrids should not be taken seriously. It’s pretty much reactionary thinking. Human ingenuity has persevered in the face of the naysayers. And it will again in the case of the hybrid. It is simply too promising a technology to ignore.

  17. bud

    Here’s an excerpt from an October 2005 article in the Washington Post:
    At Ford, trucks and SUVs — the backbone of the company’s sales and profits — struggled through September. Sales of F-Series pickup trucks plunged 30 percent. Sales of Ford’s large SUVs, including the Ford Explorer and Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator, sank by more than 55 percent each. At GM, overall sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs dropped 30 percent. Truck, SUV and minivan sales also fell at Toyota and Honda, as well as at Chrysler.
    So does this mean those vehicle types are about to disappear? Huge gasoline powered SUVs will probably be around in a niche market for some time. My prediction is that the Prius will outsell the Ford F-series pickup, currently the sales leader, by the year 2010.

  18. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, I’ll gladly drive any automobile up and down a football field goal line while you stand on the opposite goal line and demonstrate your grenade throwing capability.

  19. Lee

    As soon as the tax credit money expired for hybrid vehicles, their sales dropped like a rock. Toyota and Honda stopped importing them.
    If the customers find no economic benefit to offset the small size, ugly styling, and less safety, then the customers make a smart decision to avoid these vehicles.

  20. bud

    It will be interesting to compare Prius and Hummer H-2 sales over the next 2 years. We have the ultimate tree-hugger car vs. the macho, red meat behemoth.
    Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. To me the Prius is one of the most pleasing vehicles to look at ever. Maybe Toyota should consider a pure gasoline or diesel powered version of the Prius.

  21. Brad Warthen

    Lee, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just did a search of the Wall Street Journal database on hybrids, and they seem to be going fairly strong.
    Better than that, with the supply increasing and the demand slightly softer (because of the drop in gasoline below $3 a gallon), the prices have dropped.
    The wonderful thing about that is, you have even the Journal — which has groused about hybrids in the past — finally starting to report that, with the lower prices, they’re a better deal for consumers.
    This is the way the market is supposed to work. High demand, low supply, high prices. When the price becomes too high relative to the price of driving a more wasteful car (because the gas price drops), demand drops. With the supply increasing at the same time, you get lower prices. That makes the product a more attractive deal, increasing demand.
    One of these days, I might be able to afford one — a used one. I very much look forward to that.
    In other words, I still haven’t been able to find any news on hybrids that wasn’t encouraging.

  22. Lee

    Maybe you need to hire this old systems engineer as your researcher, so you get the facts straight.
    * The original AFV tax credits exprired Dec 31, 2005. The replacement tax credits only extended to the first 60,000 vehicles sold in 2006, and then decreased after October 2006 by half in the next 3 months, then by half again in the next 90 days.
    * Total 2006 ales of hybrids were up 10.9% from 2005, increasing to 18,784 units sold in the month of October, 2006.Buyers apparently rushed to get the tax credits and beat the deadlines. When the 60,000 number was hit, sales plunged.
    * 2006 sales of the Honda Accord and Insight (no longer in production) were down 77.3% and 75.7%, respectively to 287 and 9 units sold. The Honda Accord and Insight (no longer in production) were down 77.3% and 75.7%, respectively to 287 and 9 units sold.
    * Ford sold 1,602 units of its Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid in an October 2006 surge.
    * Toyota saw a ‘hiccup’ in hybrid sales In Oc 2006. The Prius saw sales drop to 8,733
    units sold, a drop of 12.1%. The first time in 5 months sales have seen a decrease from last year and only the fifth time sales have dropped in two years.
    * The Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h also saw decrease to 1643 and 1239
    units sold, respectively. That’s a decrease of 29.5% for the Highlander Hybrid and 34.9% for the RX 400h.
    * Jim Press, the President of Toyota North America called for making an $8,000 subsidy permanent in a Nov 2, 2006 press release. Despite the plunge in AFV sales, Toyota hopes to increase 2007 AFV sales by 25%. This seems optimistic, since they only increased AFV sales 3.0% in 2006, from a market entry level in 2005, even with the addition of AFV offerings in 5 of their most popular models.

  23. Lee

    Hybrid Cars Make No Economic Sense
    Wall Street Journal
    October 4, 2005
    Detroit Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, Joe White, looked into buying a
    Prius for his own use.
    When asked if a hybrid car saves money, White says no.
    White first looked at trading in his Subaru for a Prius, and found that at roughly $3
    per gallon for gas, he wouldn’t recover his financing costs.
    Joe figured that at his annual mileage, he’d save about $746 a year in fuel costs, but it would take too long to recover the premium he’d pay for the hybrid.
    Next he looked at the hypothetical situation of someone without a car looking to buy either a Honda Civic or the Prius. In this case, the fuel savings were roughly $506 per year, versus a purchase price difference of about $8,000.
    Without even considering cost-of-money issues, it would take nearly 16 years just to break even.
    With the current tax deduction of $2,000 converting to a $2,000 tax credit January 1, which decreases every year thereafter, the government subsidies don’t make the switch economically feasible, either.
    So there you have it. It your intent is to save money with gas with a hybrid – forget
    * NOTE: At $2.35 a gallon, it takes 20 years to recoup the cost premium in fuel savings. Any energy saved in the great socialist scheme of things will probably be more than offset by the energy required to crush, melt and recycle these AFV cars long before they pay for themselves.

  24. bud

    I think we’re re-plowing the same ground here but the point needs to be made. Lee has correctly reached the conclusion that at current gas prices a hybrid car will not pay for itself in the savings of gas alone. But two points are crucial to this situation. First, current gas prices are likely to increase over time thus making the payback a bit shorter than the 20 years Lee suggests. Second, and more importantly, the pump price hardly covers the true cost of gasoline. Much of our military budget is needed to ensure the flow of oil coming from abroad. This is not factored into the price. So the true cost to society is far greater than the pump price. And besides, a Prius just looks so cool. It will be my next car (once my 1997 Buick gives out).

  25. Brad Warthen

    Lee, you’re citing a WSJ piece. Yes, they’ve been on a crusade to tear down hybrids for years. That’s why I searched their database to get an impression of how hybrids were doing. If they were rusting in the showrooms, the WSJ would shout it from the rooftops.
    Instead, they’re reporting that the hybrids are starting to become a better deal. That’s what I was pointing out to you…

  26. Lee

    WHO reported that hybrids “are becoming a better deal”?
    WHEN and WHERE?
    HOW are they becoming a better deal?
    Are they still a bad deal?
    WHY don’t you true believers buy one, without waiting on the government to hand out Automobile Welfare subsidies?

  27. ben Brown

    I own a hybrid, make minimum wage and know about sixty hybrid and electric car owners. A number of these “increase” their range on their vehicles with wind and/or solar generated electricity to charge their batteries. On the family farm we also have used heavy duty trucks. We try to drive appropriately. As to the hybrid, I’ve been known to surprise myself by looking at the speedometer and find it going 90mph cause it rides smooth and quiet. I’ve also surprised myself discovering I was getting 78 miles per gallon on a trip down our local 55 mph street. I personally chose the hybrid I drive because after watching neighbors kids go to defend oil I don’t really own I needed to do what I could to justify the missing bodypart and disfigurement I saw rather than celebrate my freedom to do anything I want at their costs.

  28. bud

    I did a bit of math on my own to check out Lee’s claims. Here’s what I found. Comparing a Toyota Matrix, a vehicle very similiar in size to a Prius the base sticker price is roughly $17k for a Matrix and $23k for a Prius, difference $6K. If you drive 15k, mostly city miles, per year a Matrix will use about 500 gallons of gas (using EPA estimates which are probably too high for both vehicles). A Prius would use exactly half that, 250 gallons. The following table gives cost recovery time for various gasoline prices per gallon:
    Price/gallon Recovery (years)
    $2.00 12
    $2.35 10.2
    $2.50 9.6
    $2.75 8.7
    $3.00 8
    $3.50 6.9
    $4.00 6
    As you can see if gasoline prices increase dramatically purchasing a Prius becomes a very attractive financial option, even without incentives.

  29. Dan

    EV, Hybrid, Ethonal, BioDesiel, or whatever. Everytime we buy gas, some (even if only a penny) of that purchase falls into the hands of people who would like to see a mushroom cloud over DC. I for one don’t like giving them money (even my pennies).
    Wether your a Eco-Nut or a Nationalist-Nut, Red or Blue, burning gas is burning America alive. We have to conserve. I for one don’t care if it’s done with an EV or with a bicycle, the point is to do it.
    State of the Union Address, 2007:
    Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.
    State of the Union Address, 2006:
    Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.
    State of the Union Address, 2005:
    And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology — from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to renewable sources such as ethanol. (Applause.) Four years of debate is enough: I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.
    State of the Union Address, 2004:
    Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run — so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
    State of the Union Address, 2003:
    Our third goal is to promote energy independence for our country, while dramatically improving the environment. (Applause.) I have sent you a comprehensive energy plan to promote energy efficiency and conservation, to develop cleaner technology, and to produce more energy at home.
    State of the Union Address, 2002:
    Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.
    Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov

  30. Ready to Hurl

    I personally chose the hybrid I drive because after watching neighbors kids go to defend oil …

    Not only is Lee willing to make that trade but he’s anxious to sacrifice the environment that we depend on for life on Earth. He’s just not willing to face any facts that non-oil company “scientists” provide.
    Brad, OTOH, thinks that sacrificing other Americans for some nebulous, futile “change-the-Middle-East” delusion is well-worth others’ sacrifice. Controlling the oil is just gravy.

  31. Lee

    First of all, bud, your theoretical payback numbers for the Prius are off by 8 years.
    Being a professional economist and systems engineer who calculates paypacks for high technology equipment every week, I trust my numbers more than the head figuring of some hippie with an emotional bias.
    Besides, my numbers are confirmed by the calculations of the automobile companies and of MIT’s study of AFVs.
    If you want to risk your money on a hybrid, that is fine. Just don’t ask me to help buy your vehicle with a tax credit. If it won’t pay its own way for your style of driving, it is not just a bad purchase for you, but too bad for the taxpayers to subsidize.

  32. bud

    Ok Mr. Economist, show me where my math is wrong:
    EPA estimates for a 2007 Prius are 60 mpg city, for a Matrix – 30 mpg. In a years time a Matrix driven 15,000 will burn 500 gallons of gasoline. That’s 15,000 divided by 30. @ $2/gallon that’s $1000. A Prius burns half that, 15,000 divided by 600 = 250 gallons or $500 worth. According to the Toyota web site a Prius lists for about $23,000; a Matrix $17,000, a difference of $6,000. 6000 divided by 500 equals 12. The math is the same for the other costs I provided. If you have a 20 year payback your numbers are clearly bogus.
    If Lee was educated in South Carolina then we definitely do have a problem that needs fixing. He was able to become an economist and an engineer and can’t even solve a 5th grade math problem.

  33. bud

    Lee, thanks for the link. Here’s an excerpt from the same Consumer Reports:
    The bottom line. The Toyota Prius ranks as the most satisfying vehicle overall for the fourth straight year, with 92 percent of owners saying they’d get another one. Second place again goes to the Chevrolet Corvette. The Chevrolet Uplander minivan was the lowest–ranked model in the survey.
    So if this car is so awful why are it’s owners so satisfied?

  34. Dave

    Here is an interesting situation. On Ebay Motors, Used Hybrid Honda Civics are in general going for lower than Used regular Civics. That says it all. You can cite all the magazine articles you want but the market isnt lying. As these cars near their battery life replacement time, their value is dropping. So go ahead greenies, get out there and perform a public service and buy them up. Its only your wallet that can suffer.

  35. ed

    Bud, you say that fuel costs are likely to rise in the future to make your point that the Prius will become more attractive. Not so fast. The cost of the Prius will tend to rise with time as well, thus offsetting the effect of fuel price increases. You can’t just say that one variable will change to make your point, when there are about twenty other variables that will change as well. Ed

  36. Lee

    How many owners of the Prius would get another one without the huge welfare check from other taxpayers to subsidize their purchase?
    Not many, judging by the plunge in sales when the tax credits expired.
    Just as ethanol is a junk fuel, most of these AFVs are junk cars, less economical than conventional gasoline-powered Civics, Corollas, and Diesel Jettas.

  37. Ready to Hurl

    Holy Cow, Lee! You talk about “welfare” for Prius owners?
    How many Prius owners got invited to write the bill like Darth Cheney invited the oil companies?
    Before you proudly point to the pittance allowed for alternative fuel research do some math. What’s it compare to the corporate welfare trough that Big Oil has been fed at for years?

  38. Ready to Hurl

    BTW, a good starting point for Big Oil welfare is the deposing of Iran’s democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 by the CIA.
    Mossadegh’s error was attempting to reclaim Iran’s most valuable asset, oil, from British and American oil companies.
    The CIA set up Mohammad Reza as a putative royal shah of Iran. The Shiite counter-revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini was in reaction against the brutal and dictatorial American puppet.
    Much of the state-sponsored terrorism and hatred of the U.S. which grew out of the radical Islamic opposition to the Shah can be charged to the U.S. government’s “assistance” with Big Oil profits.

  39. Tony

    About the comment that electricity generation makes pollution, that is true. But to refine one gallon of gas uses 14kWh of electricity. That SAME 14kWh of electricity can power an electric car for 56 miles (assuming 250kWh per mile). This is ignoring the pollution the gas generates when burned in the vehicle, and transporting it from the middle east, not to mention the pollution caused by extraction from the ground. People who say electric cars pollute just as much but at the power plant need too look at the oil well to wheel pollution, not just compare electric power generation to gas exhaust generation.

  40. Dave

    Hurl, I find it interesting how we have “taken” all of Saudi Arabia’s oil, and Kuwait, and UAR etc while being the evil imperialistic west. I don’t think any of those nations are broke the last time I checked. And in the first place, it was US and British companies that found the oil, and had the technology to get it. For some reason people want to think that nomadic tribal chiefs suddenly can claim all minerals found anywhere within thousands of miles of their tent cities. If that were true, the American Indians still own every single mineral in America. Finders keepers I say.

  41. bud

    “Bud, you say that fuel costs are likely to rise in the future to make your point that the Prius will become more attractive. Not so fast. The cost of the Prius will tend to rise with time as well, thus offsetting the effect of fuel price increases. You can’t just say that one variable will change to make your point, when there are about twenty other variables that will change as well. Ed”
    The initial purchase price of a Prius IS fixed. Regardless of what that price will be in 8 years when it needs replacing, what you pay in 2007 for your new car won’t change. But gasoline prices are variable over those 8 years and will almost certainly rise, at least as fast as the rate of inflation. In 2015 when you are again in the new car market you have to make the calculations again but that’s irrelevant to today’s decision.
    Let’s not make this more complicated than it is. The savings in gasoline costs will probably not make up the difference in the price of a Prius compared to a standard gasoline powered automobile of the same size. I conceed that point. But it will substantially reduce the cost differential, even without tax incentives, especially if gas prices go up (which I think they will). Given the extremely high consumer satisfaction of this extrodinary vehicle shouldn’t this be a vehicle to consider when making that new car decision?

  42. Ready to Hurl

    Finders keepers I say.

    A perfectly juvenile response, Dave.
    When the people who live and own the country (and the resources) wake up to the fact that the oil companies have bought off the leadership (or imposed a fake monarch) then they get rather upset.
    BTW, I don’t think that the Iranians were “nomadic” or particularly “tribal” but you use that racist code to denigrate the people who happen to claim the country by virtue of living there.
    How ironic that you cite the European conquest of Native Americans and the New World.
    Obviously, might makes right for you, Dave. I don’t see how you can be so outraged when some of the people who take exception to having their country’s resources “bought” by a combination of bribery and military force decide to massacre innocent civilians in retaliation.
    I condemn it but I also condemn strong arming other countries out of their resources. You just think that it’s the right of Western corporations by virtue of better technology and stronger military forces.
    You’re the quintessential economic imperialist, Dave. Why shouldn’t foreign companies be allowed to suck your country’s resources dry for a pittance and ship profits to their headquarters?

  43. Lee

    These phony environmentalists are a hoot.
    They defend the Iranians, Libyans and other terrorists as victims of Americans “stealing their oil”.
    They praise alternative fuel cars that they won’t buy for themselves without a huge welfare kickback from the taxpayers. They drive old beater gas guzzlers and preach to us.

  44. Lee

    Hardy har har, Ready. Is that pathetic insult all you can muster?
    Do you think American agression is the cause of Iranian and Al Qaeda militancy?
    I guess defending the PC vehichles was not going well for those of you who refuse to buy one, so you jumped out of the frying pan as a diversion. Ouch!

  45. Ready to Hurl

    It’s just good advice since you obviously didn’t comprehend paragraphs 5 & 6 of my last post.
    I’m not interested in getting into a school yard name-calling contest with you, Lee. The content of your posts describe you well enough.
    The Iranians naturally resent our government mightily for imposing a brutal monarchy on their country in order to save the oil company’s profits.
    AQ has it’s own issues with the U.S. but they don’t begin to reach the legitimacy of the Iranians’ grievances.
    Nothing in my book justifies killing innocent civilians whether it’s by cruise missiles or civilian airliners. Obviously, you and the rest of the war mongers disagree.
    Keep patting yourself on the back, Lee. It’s easy to claim non-existent debate “victories” when you live in denial.

  46. bud

    Lee, I drive an old Buick right now. In a couple of years it will need replacing. I will probably buy a Prius. When I do I’ll send you a photo. So tell me Lee what do you drive?

  47. Lee

    I already told you folks what I drive, and why. Cadillacs, Yukon, Mercedes – much more economical for my use than an econobox, and much safer.
    If a hybrid is such a good deal for you, why don’t you replace your present car right now?
    In a few years, though, you might be able to pick up a Prius cheap, since they don’t seem to be holding much resale value.
    Ready, you need to try to state what you believe in simple language. Your ramblings are an indication of poorly-formed thoughts.

  48. bud

    Lee, where do you find your information? Everything I can find shows an excellent resale value for the Prius. It’s certainly far higher than for a 14 mpg Yukon. The battery life issue is really a non-issue. Everything I’ve been able to find shows a battery life at least as long as the life of a typical engine or transmission. Toyota will introduce a new Prius in 2009 that should get even better mileage and last longer too. It’s actually hard to find anything wrong with a Prius other than it’s high initial purchase price. Hopefully that will change by the time I need to buy one.

  49. Lee

    If you aren’t going to read the sources I cited, don’t ask me for more.
    If you think resale is so good for the Prius, why are you waiting to replace your present vehicle? Have you done the calculations and found that you cannot afford to, because it is not a good economic move?

  50. Dave

    Hurl, the only hope these mUslim countries have is for western capital and technology to enter their markets. Why do you think Libya is now opening up its markets? Then again, you may have an affection for closed economies like N. Korea and its rulers. But, back to Muslims, these people have 2 strikes against them from the gitgo because they restrict knowledge, repress women, etc. But as Herb would say like a real liberal, everyone is morally equivalent. I like the approach of forced conversions and eradication of the Mooslim faith entirely. Then these people would have some hope for the future.

  51. bud

    Unfortunatally Lee I’m stuck with a 10 year old, fuel inefficient Buick for now. It’s paid for, runs ok and gets me where I need to be. As you’ve pointed out, and I agree, the gas savings alone will not pay for a new, or even a used Prius. It’s a matter of economics. The purchase price of any vehicle is beyond my means right now.
    If that fact somehow justifies in your mind that a Yukon makes better economic sense than a Prius then you simply cannot be convinced by facts. If you leave the emotion out of this discussion the comparison is obvious, a Prius will save tens of thousands of dollars over 10 years compared to the Yukon.

  52. Herb Brasher

    But as Herb would say like a real liberal, everyone is morally equivalent.

    Dave, where did you get that from? You trying to get my goat or something?

    I like the approach of forced conversions and eradication of the Mooslim faith entirely.

    So much for loving one’s enemies. Just don’t pull the Christianity lever in the future, because this kind of statement doesn’t even come close to it.

  53. bud

    Dave must read a lot of Ann Coulter. His comment about eradicating the Mooslim faith is very close to a comment she made shortly after 9-11. Really Dave, do you think Jesus had forced eradication in mind when he was talking about peace and brotherly love. Sounds like Dave practices the gospel according to the book of Coulter. And that’s a pretty sorry book to quote scripture from.

  54. Dave

    Herb, I may have crossed your wires with someone else. No offense meant if you didnt claim that the Islam faith was equally as moral as Christianity. Someone else did though..Sorry
    Bud, Jesus wouldnt promote forced eradication of people but would be pleased to see some aggressive action to convert people who believe in a violence oriented cult to the one true faith thus eradicating their false beliefs. As I noted to Randy months ago, does anyone on this blog believe that God sacrificed his only son 2000 years ago, then waited 1000 years and handpicked a violent Arab nomad (who was a pedophile on top of it) to start up a competing sect of faith. If you believe that, what can I say.

  55. bud

    Dave, I have to laugh when a so-called ‘Christian’ criticizes another religion for pedophilia. The Catholic Church has discredited itself with it’s disgusting failure to curb the epidemic of pedophilia within it’s ranks. As for violence, nobody has anything on “Christians” when it comes to violence. Remember the crusades? And of course Hitler thought of himself as a Christian. I think you should leave Jesus out of this. He’d be aghast at a war-mongering, phoney Christian using his name to slander another religion.

  56. Dave

    Bud, Christians have always been the recipients of slaughter and mass murder, dating back to the pagan Roman empire. Even today, they are being massacred still in Bosnia and the Sudan. Hitler and most of his cohorts were supposedly Lutherans, and it is a fact that the foundations of Lutheranism were racist in nature, but I wouldn’t castigate modern day Lutherans in that manner. By your definition, I guess Stalin was a Christian as he may have attended a church at some point in his life. The communists have killed more people on this planet than any Christian ever killed and given the opportunity would do so even more. As for the Catholics, newsflash for you but the church has taken drastic measures to cleanse itself of practicing homos and pedophiles in the clergy. Since we have a much larger epidemic of pedophilia in our public schools, I am waiting to see when that will be addressed. But the liberal media gives the government workers a free pass as it would be against the known agenda to go after and illuminate this subject.

  57. Lee

    Thanks, bud, for finally admitting that no AFV makes economic sense for you…nor for me nor for most Americans. That’s why the sales plummet without huge tax credit subsidies for the purchase, and for the fuels.
    I remember when Jimmy Carter’s former Secretary of Energy, James Schlesinger, made a big deal about buying little Nissan Sentras, and Chevy Vegas for his family. The only problem was that he had about 11 kids and needed 3 cars to go anywhere. The eqivalent to a single vehicle was about 9 MPG. A big church van would have been more economical, and more safe for them.

  58. bud

    If you say a lie often enough it becomes the truth in the mind of the conservative. Here are U.S. hybrid vehicle sales since 2000:
    2000: 9,367
    2001: 20,287
    2002: 35,961
    2003: 47,525
    2004: 83,153
    2005: 209,711
    2006: 246,642
    Now how do these figures support a drop in hybrid car sales? Even with my South Carolina education I understand that bigger numbers mean an INCREASE in sales.
    As for the safety of big vans, remember the tragic incident involving the Heathwood van a few years back? That one tragedy forever destroyed the mythical safety perception of large vehicles. Those vans are actually death traps. SUVs are no more safe than smaller cars because of their propensity to roll over.

  59. Herb Brasher

    . . . and it is a fact that the foundations of Lutheranism were racist in nature,

    Some statements aren’t worthy of a response, and this one comes pretty close. What is the basis of this statement, Dave?
    And by the way, Hitler was a Catholic. Of all the denominations in Germany, Lutherans were some of the most resistant to the Nazis, see Bonhoeffer, Barth, and others in the Confessing Church and the statement of Bonhoeffer’s that there is no salvation outside of the confessing church. Many Baptists and free church people went along with the Nazis, at least at first. This grave mistake was not limited to any denomination. Even an experienced evangelical missionary like Christian Keysser was hoodwinked by Nazi ideology.

  60. Lee

    bud, you need to read the detailed articles which shop DROPS in sales of AFVs every time the government stops handing out welfare checks to the buyers.
    As long as the subsidies keep flowing from your paycheck into the hands of the automakers, delivered by buyers of AFVs, the sales will continue to increase.
    Only when purchasers have to pay the full price will you see what the real demand for these cars are.
    Of course, there is always the next step after liberal subsidizes – the mandate that you MUST buy this or that puny vehicle, just like they made you buy all these former safety and pollution control options on your current vehicle.

  61. Dave

    Herb, go ahead and enlighten all of us.. here is one excerpt I found:
    In 1917, German Protestants celebrated the 400th anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. Although the intention was to revive interest in the church, this event became the vehicle for an idolatry of Luther as a German hero, and as an incarnation of the German spirit. Later, when Hitler gained national prominence, some saw him as an heir of Luther. This comparison was helped by Luther’s own severe anti-Semitism that he revealed late in his life. Indeed, when Hitler wrote Mien Camp, he listed Luther as one of Germany’s great reformers. Luther’s 1543 book On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther advocated the burning of synagogues and schools, the deportation of Jews, and other measures that closely resemble the actions taken by the Nazis. Regard this excerpt from On the Jews and Their Lies:
    Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is:
    First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire…
    Second, that all their books– their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible– be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted…
    Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country…
    Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it. (http://members.icanect.net/~zardoz/luther.htm)

  62. Herb Brasher

    Not much time, Dave, but I object strongly to your term, “foundations of Lutheranism.” What denomination do you belong to? I don’t know, but let’s say Southern Baptist (that’s the denomination I grew up in, so I’ll project a little). I don’t have to tell you the significance of the date 1845, and the separation of Southern Baptists from the northern convention over the slavery issue. Are these the “foundations” then of your denomination? I don’t think so, especially since the SBC repudiated them officially in 1995. I believe that the foundations of the SBC convention are in the historic creeds of the church, the English reformation, the emphasis upon personal faith in Christ, etc. I think you would want to identify more with a missionary like Lottie Moon, literally starving herself to death in her effort to reach the people of China, than a James Reeve (slaveholder).
    In other words, you can go around and take photographs of all the manure piles in southern Germany, and produce a volume entitled “Beautiful Bavaria.” But would that be fair? The truth is, as Lucy said to Linus, after Linus had pontificated on the great potential hidden in his own hands, hands that will one day “write great novels, or perform delicate surgery”: “your fingers have jelly on them.” No matter what great things a person may do, everybody has got jelly on their fingers. All of us are the children of our own generation, and are called to find the Truth, and to live it out in the context of the times in which we live. To criticize someone who sought to live out the Truth in their own historical context, without understanding how that context affected them, is misleading. To adopt their failures as an excuse for far worse behavior today is downright demonic.
    To sum up, Luther’s failure in this area is not a “foundation.” I’m sure you don’t me or anyone else (well, I know you don’t want me!) preaching at your funeral on all the mistakes you made in your life, and calling them “foundations.”
    Luther’s foundation was “faith alone,” and “Scripture alone.” He countered the sale of “grace,” as something that could be bought with money, and he emphasized the biblical principle of the authority of the state in this world, and helped set the stage for what has developed into modern democratic principles, and separation of church and state into their proper realms.

  63. Lee

    The sale of indulgences traces is origins back to the practice among Jewish priests and pagans. Luther was certainly aware of that

  64. Ready to Hurl

    The sale of indulgences traces is origins back to the practice among Jewish priests and pagans. Luther was certainly aware of that

    Chattel slavery in the U.S. could be “traced back to the practice” in Biblical times, also.
    What else should we blame the Jews and pagans for, Lee?
    Do 19th Century protestant Christian slaveowners get a “pass” on the inhumanity of chattel slavery?
    Blaming ancient Jews and pagans certainly seems to come in handy! I guess this concept makes you a leftist since you’ve claimed numerous times that the Left is anti-semitic.

  65. Lee

    As usual, Randy attempts to create a straw man or two, and fails.
    Try discussing electric cars, Randy.
    The history of religion as it relates to Luther’s belief system is a bit too complex for you to fake your way with some Google and Wikipedia tidbits.

  66. Dave

    Herb, I love ya but on this you are in denial. Luther personally writes a book called On Jews and Their Lies and you think it is inconsequential. And, just about every top officer surrounding Hitler was Lutheran. No offense to modern day Luther followers, but at least let’s not rewrite history.

  67. Lee

    Ready, Randy, bud … the reality is that you all post nonsense because you are totally unfamiliar with the subjects.
    You hate religion and anything moral, so you try to link Martin Luther to Hitler.
    Hitler had more in common with the beliefs of modern socialist democrats. It is your common bond with fascism that should be your concern.

  68. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, Dave is the one fixated on the Hitler-Luther link– not Ready, Randy, or bud…
    Once again, reading incomprehension strikes… unless Dave is a “modern socialist democrat” in disguise.

  69. bud

    Lee writes:
    Hitler had more in common with the beliefs of modern socialist democrats.
    Who specifically are you talking about? I don’t know of anyone in the Democratic party supporting genocide as public policy. Many of the neocons who write here, including Lee and Dave, have gleefully claimed that we are killing thousands of so-called AQ terrorists. Would that not be a form of genocide? Genocide was a policy of Hitler. Therefore it would seem the neocons are philosophically closer to Hitler than the socialist Democrats (whoever they are), at least on the genocide issue.

  70. Lee

    You don’t know any history, or you would know of New Deal Democrats who were big fans of Adolf Hitler.
    Some of the same Democrats who are today trying to pull the funding from our troops in Iraq, also pushed for pulling the funding from our troops in Vietnam, then for pulling the support for the elected government of South Vietnam. They invited and allowed the communists to come in and murder 4,000,000 innocent civilians.
    That’s genocide, liberal style.

  71. Ready to Hurl

    You don’t know any history, or you would know of New Deal Democrats who were big fans of Adolf Hitler.

    And, some of the neo-cons are former Leninists who still espouse his methods, if not the particulars of his political philosophy.
    In ‘Nam, just like Iraq, the wingnuts couldn’t advance any tactics or strategies that didn’t involve mass murder. So they leave it to the other 75% of the country to decide that leaving the future of the country to the inhabitants is the least bad option.
    The other options? Either (a) interminable sacrifice of Americans in another country’s civil war; or, (b) killing enough men, women and children until the country sullenly surrenders to glorious “democracy.”
    In ‘Nam and Iraq we had instructive examples. In ‘Nam, the French fought Ho Chi Minh for a decade. In Iraq, the Brits left Iraq little better after 25 years.
    But, of course in the exceptionalist righwing’s view, America’s holy mission to spread democracy isn’t subject to petty rationality.

  72. Lee

    More anti-American vitrol from Ready to Smear.
    America is not a democracy, so it has no business spreading that failed ideology anywhere, but that is not our primary mission in Iraq.
    Our reason for invading Iraq was because Saddam Hussein was training terrorists and hijackers there, financing their plots, and paying their families. And he had purchased an old Soviet nuclear bomb facility from Red China and was building a nuclear weapon as well as chemical and biological weapons, all of which we found in some quantity and lots of engineering log books of the work. Just last week, our troops found another cache of poisonous gas in artillery shells.

  73. Ready to Hurl

    Not even Darth Cheney or Rummy is willing to make the frequently disproven WMD argument, Lee.(They just claim that it was “bad intel”– conveniently fabricated by Doug Feith & Co.)
    Get over it. You just confirm your reputation as a desperate and demented conspiracist.
    Most readers of this blog probably don’t recongize you as an admitted anti-democrat (note lower-case “d”), however. Please expound upon your anti-American hatred for democracy.

  74. Lee

    Just because the Bush team has given up on trying to overcome the shrill lies of Big Media about “there were no WMD”, doesn’t make the facts go away.
    * Saddam was funding the terrorists
    * Saddam was training hijackers at two camps in Iraq
    * Saddam did purchase an entire Soviet nuclear bomb making facility from Red China.
    * Saddam did pay millions in bribes to UN and European officials.
    * Saddam did build several chemical factories and manufactured chemical and biological weapons, which he used on the Iranians and Kurds.
    * Our troops have captured over 500,000 tons of bombs, artillery shells, biological weapons, chlorine, mustard gas, and Sarin, which is being disposed of daily. The long list referenced in the 9/11 Report has increased a lot since then.

  75. Lee

    America is a limited republic, not a democracy, because the Founders recognized democracy as being a temporary transition to tyranny, first by mob rule, then by despot.

  76. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, please point out where I maintained that the U.S. is a pure democracy.
    It’s the neo-conservative war mongers who’ve sung the hymns of praise to exporting democracy.
    Many have made the fallacious observation that democracies don’t attack other democracies as an excuse for invading Iraq.

  77. Lee

    I never said anything about what you maintained, Straw Man.
    You operate entirely on fallacy. The name for that is self-delusion.
    Do you undertand whay democracy is bad, and why America is not constructed as a democracy?

  78. Ready to Hurl

    Here on Earth, Lee, the ever-evolving rationale for invading Iraq seems to stabilized on delivering the bountiful fruits of “freedom and democracy” to Iraqis.
    Debating why the U.S. isn’t a pure democracy is irrelevant to this conversation.
    The neo-cons have blathered ad nauseum about making Iraq a show place of democracy for the Middle East.
    If you have a problem with that then take it up with your fellow war mongers, the neo-cons.
    But, I find it instructive that you’re so adamantly opposed to the very concept of democracy. As a “expert” in political theory, you may have noticed that democracy is actually one of the cornerstones of the United States.
    Or, maybe you haven’t. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  79. Lee

    Anyone who wants to establish democracy anywhere is wrong. A lot of people, including onlookers like Ready, don’t understand the difference between democracy as an unstable form of government, and democratic methods used to determine how to implement a very stable form of limited government.
    The ones moving the goal posts on Iraq are those who have opposed attacking Muslim terrorists on their own soil.
    * First they say the war could not be won.
    The Taliban was wiped out in a month.
    Iraq was conquered in a week.
    * Then they said America just broke everything and was going to leave. But we didn’t. We rebuilt the country and started selling oil to get the economy going.
    * Then they went through a litany of short lies which were debunked and dropped by them – not enough body armor, not enough troops, torture of innocentn prisoners, our troops were like Nazis – all lies.
    * Now they are cornered and revealing their core belief: they want to back off the terrorists and leave Iraq to Al Qaeda.

  80. bud

    Lee, Saddam is dead. Yet you rant on and on about the threat he posed. So why do we remain in Iraq if HE was the threat? Seems like the threat is over.

  81. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, every one of your statements above have been disproved and debunked with contrary facts.
    Yet, you continue to trot them out as if repetition of unsubstantiated claims will convince us.
    Are you Baghdad Bob’s doppelganger?

  82. Lee

    Ready, I notice you don’t dare challenge the historical facts. In fact, you don’t even dare name them. You just declare them to be “debunked”, and the rest of us laugh at your pitiful ruse.
    * Salman Pak hijacker training camp was real. We captured the names of the trainees, their native country, terrorist group, and a videotape of Saddam urging them to “destroy Israel, but attack America first!”

  83. Dave

    Lee, I bet Hurl thinks that the 15 Brit sailors and marines are getting what they deserve. After all, isnt Iran just a nice peaceful nation that is trying to keep the imperialistic Brits and Yanks off their shores. The left will celebrate if the 15 are imprisoned in Iran. Meanwhile, Iran has been paying the suicide killer’s families a bounty and sending IEDs and agents into Iraq to kill US soldiers. Iraq wouild have been over by now if not for Iran. We owe them bigtime.

  84. Lee

    We are holding Iranians with diplomatic passports who were caught in a roadside bomb ring.
    There are very few Improvised explosive devices anymore. Over 90% of the roadside bombs in Iraq are now driven by manufactured electronic contols built in Iran. We know that from the serial numbers on the chips, traced to Iranian companies.
    Our troops find, deactivate, dismantle and study over 2,000 such bombs a month.

  85. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, I wasn’t writing of your claims being debunked elsewhere. Numerous times you’ve made your ludicrous statements here on this blog– only to have them swatted down.
    After a while folks just get weary of repeatedly disproving such patently false blather.
    They don’t even pass the laugh test. For instance, I’m sure that 75% of your fellow Americans wouldn’t disapprove of Dear Leader’s handling of the war if the administration could factually make the case that you allege.
    But, they can’t. And, you can’t. Case closed.

  86. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, I’ll be happy to respond to posts that actually address MY statements– not straw man arguments that you make up out of whole cloth.
    I’ve yet to even comment on the Iran-Brit dust up but you just can’t resist unfounded slanders lazily recycled from the reich-wing blogosphere.

  87. bud

    RTH, you are correct about Lee. It does grow tiresome debunking his ridiculous claims. But this one doesn’t need debunking. If this is true it dramatically supports what we “bring the troops home” folks have been saying all along — That is, the war in Iraq is creating more terrorists:
    “There are very few Improvised explosive devices anymore. Over 90% of the roadside bombs in Iraq are now driven by manufactured electronic contols built in Iran. We know that from the serial numbers on the chips, traced to Iranian companies.”
    How could that statement possibly be evidence that what we’re doing in Iraq is successful? Seems like after 4 loooong years of war we’ve helped create a booming (no pun intended) industry for bomb makers.

  88. Dave

    Bud, you are right, and since we know who the bomb makers are, lets kill them, immediately if not sooner. We have the capability to flatten most of Iran without harming the populace. The 15 hostages have given us and Britain the right to do it, so let the bombs fly now.

  89. bud

    Dave, since when did you become a British citizen? The spat over the 15 British service men is not our concern. The U.S. has no business taking sides in this.

  90. bud

    I had one of those rare WOW moments yesterday. A friend of mine just bought a Prius and he let me sit in it and play with the controls. WOW. I started it up and it made absolutely no noice. It had a navigation system and a backup camera. He said it gets an honest 42 mph highway and 46 in town. WOW. Imagine a car that gets 46 mpg in heavy downtown driving. He says it easily goes 80mph on the The details were simply amazing. And roomy. It can easily fit 4 adults in comfort and a fifth for short trips. It’s no wonder Toyota is selling these like crazy and owner satisfaction is 92%, an industry high. (For comparison, Lee’s Yukon gets around 14 mpg and has a 53% owner satisfaction rating.

  91. Lee

    IMAGINE is the right word.
    I talked to a Prius owner yesterday at the gas pump. She said they got 49 on the highway if they held the speed under 70, and 35 in town with one person, but MPG fell off sharply as you loaded up the vehicle with 40 people, as you would expect for such a light car with low horsepower.
    Consumer Reports, ASE, and the Society of Automotive Engineers testing shows these to be about the mileage to expect from the hybrid cars. It is not much better than larger gasoline cars like the Toyota Corolla, and not as good as the much larger and safer Jetta Diesel.
    I suspect I could get 50/35 in the Prius body with a conventional gasoline engine, which means the extra cost of the hybrid engine is no justfied economically. That’s why sales plummet without big tax refunds as subsidies.

  92. Lee

    Typo correction: “…40 people..” should be
    “….MPG fell off sharply as you loaded up the vehicle with 40 people…”
    My Suburban gets 25 mpg at 70 mph with one person and luggage. Fully loaded with 4 passengers and luggage for a long trip, it gets 22 mpg.
    If I drove 50,000 miles a year, I would save $2,500 fuel cost in a Prius, pay more in amortized purchase costs, and be far less safe.
    It’s really not fair to compare vastly disimilar vehicles. The Prius is very specialized and far less functional than a large, general purpose UTILITY vehicle.

  93. bud

    Lee, first of all a Prius is not a teeny, tiney car. It has a 106 inch wheelbase that classifies it as a mid-size. It’s actually comparable in size to a Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe. It’s plenty big enough for 4 adults with room for stuff in the trunk.
    Second, your example runs counter to both consumer reports (44 mpg) and even heavy-footed Car and Driver (42 mpg). Mileage depends a great deal on how you drive a car but with a little practice it should be possible to get 46-50 combined mpg with the proper driving technique. Here are two web sites from Prius owners who tracked actual mileage for several years and they were able to get mileage of 53 and 46 respectively.
    Third, as for the 25 mpg Suburban, that’s just plain laughable. For many years I drove a much smaller Dodge Caravan and never got more than 22 mpg. My wife drives a much smaller Chrysler Pacifica and we’ve never gotten more than about 21 highway and if we’re lucky 17 combined. Consumer Reports has the largest SUVs (such as the Suburban) getting a combined 14 mpg or less. Even the wildly over-stated EPA estimates (a point you’ve already acknowledged) have the 2-wheel drive Suburban getting only 15 city/21 highway.
    Fourth, a Suburban is far more dangerous than a Prius. The bulky, ungainly dynasore has a propensity to roll over easily. The handling characteristics of that monster render it’s ability to avoid a collision far worse than the nimble Prius.
    Bottom line: With gasoline prices poised to go up over time a Prius begins to look like a bargain compared to other vehicles. Given the robust sales figures the public apparently agrees.

  94. Lee

    1. Find some examples of collisions between large SUVs like the Suburban and econoboxes like the Prius, and see who got killed. You only turn over a Suburban if you lose control and run off the road. Try losing control of a Prius and running it off the road and see how you come out.
    2. My Caravan got 25 mpg at 70 mph, all day long, and it had the large V6.
    3. EPA doesn’t actually test the Suburban or Prius mileage. They estimate the mileage based on an old formula that is quite wrong, but retained because it has been used on all the previous vehicles.
    Consumer Reports began as a socialist organization and the residue shows in its bias against any big cars, or expensive cars, or American cars. They dislike the Mercedes and Lexus, although they can find no faults in them.
    4. Even if Vehicle X only got 15 miles per gallon and the Prius got 45, the average driver only drives 15,000 miles a year, for a savings of 700 gallons, or $1,600 a year. That is why the Prius takes 20 years to pay for itself, and it won’t last 20 years.
    Anyway, my business use and safety choices, like my other vehicle purchase criteria, is none of your business.

  95. Dave

    Hurl, surgical missile strikes can destroy infrastructure, military installations, and government buildings. It was done in Iraq with very little civilian death. Clinton used this technique on the aspirin factory in Sudan.

  96. Lee

    Clinton also dropped 80,000 tons of bombs on Iraq during 1999, under the same Congressional authorization which President Bush invaded Iraq, “…to destroy their weapons of mass destruction.”
    Clinton knew the Sudan factory was benign, because he signed the approval for its World Bank Loan, and Sandy Berger received a monthly inspection report on the plant. That’s why Janet Reno quietly settled the lawsuits for $8,000,000, with the plant owner’s lawyer being one of Clinton’s lawyers in the Lewinsky scandal.

  97. bud

    I know I should just walk away but this is too much fun. Lee is proving just what a bunch of morans the the neo-cons are. If a Prius saves $1,600 on gasoline per year compared to a vehicle that gets 1/3 the mileage Lee claims it would take 20 years to recover the cost. (Apparently this is based on a $2.30/gallon price — a price likely to double within 5 years) 20 x 1600 = $32,000. Since the Prius doesn’t cost but $25,000 to start with what Lee is saying is that the fictional comparison vehicle costs negative $7,000!
    Fact is, most vehicles that get 15 mpg probably cost about at least $25,000 to start with.
    Lee further falls into the trap that many people make when evaluating the safety of a vehicle. They assume that any traffic accident will be a collision between 2 motor vehicles. It is further assumed this collision is just as likely to occur for any vehicle type. The problem with SUVs is that they have a very high propensity to roll over. Much higher than say a Mazda Miata. Of course in a head-on collision between a Suburban and a Miata you’d be far safer in the Suburban. But if you have to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a deer (or child) the Suburban is much, much more likely to roll over. And rollover crashes are notoriously dangerous. Further, if a rollover does occur the Suburban rollover tends to be more deadly than for a Miata. (At least for the hardtop version of the Miata).
    So if Safety is your primary concern when buying a new vehicle, avoid the large, top heavy SUVs. A large sedan is probably your best bet. But a smaller car should be at least as safe as a huge SUV, have nearly as much room for 4 people to ride in comfort and save hundreds of dollars each year on gas.

  98. Lee

    As a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, I see in “bud” the results of public education not preparing student to perform simple home economics shopping comparisons.
    He hasn’t bought the vehicles he claims are so great, though, because they are economical for him, even with the welfare subsidy.

  99. Ready to Hurl

    As a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers…

    If Lee is representative of these organizations then it’s apparent why American auto manufacturers are swiftly going out of business.

  100. bud

    Lee would it make any difference to you if I told you I own a Prius? That may happen soon. I will likely be in the new car market within a month.

  101. Lee

    I hope you do some analysis of the actual life-cycle costs of a Prius or any small, less-safe economy vehicle prior to committing to a purchase.
    I am shopping for an economical car myself, but none of the hybrids are even close to some of the other vehicles in my unicost model.
    The most economical choice is to drive fewer miles, which also is the simplest way to reduce tailpipe emissions. The fewer miles you drive, the less significant the miles per gallons of a vehicle are.

  102. bud

    Lee writes:
    “The most economical choice is to drive fewer miles, which also is the simplest way to reduce tailpipe emissions. The fewer miles you drive, the less significant the miles per gallons of a vehicle are.”
    DUH! How many years of education did it take to figure that out.

  103. Lee

    I’ll be glad to analyze your automobile purchase after the fact and show you what a bad business decision you made.

  104. bud

    Lee, has certainly gotten me to think about the hybrid car issue. There have been many false starts in the development of a replacement for the piston engine car powered by gasoline. We’ve had the Wankel engine, diesel, ethonal and electric. None of these has panned out for a variety of reasons. Time will tell if the hybrid goes down a similiar path to oblivion. But it does have some great things going for it.
    The Prius demonstrates a huge potential for saving fuel while demonstrating it can compete with standard gasoline powered cars in areas of performance. The batteries are proving to last a very long time, at least 10 years. This should only improve with advances in battery technology. Aside from the gasoline savings a hybrid saves engine, transmission and brake wear. All of which help to offset the initial high cost. Crash tests demonstrate these cars are safe compared to similar sized cars. So safety should not be an issue. With gasoline prices again heading toward $3/gallon the long term return is now about 10 years for a Prius to recover the initial purchase price compared to a similiar sized Toyota Matrix. (This assumes many assumptions about how much driving is done, what the cost of gasoline will be and so forth but this fall somewhere in the middle of normal driving/pricing expectations) That’s probably still a bit on the long side, but not outrageous.
    Will the Prius (and other hybrids) go the way of the Wankel powered Mazda sedan, diesel Rabbit or Hummer H-1? Only time will tell. But because it has so much going for it I’m betting we’ll see many more of these exciting vehicles over the next few years. And what will the doubting Thomases have to say then?

  105. Dave

    Bud, go on Ebay Motors and look at the eroding prices of the used Hybrid market. Unless Uncle Sam and the state of SC give you a welfare check to subsidize purchase of a new one, proceed cautiously.

  106. bud

    Dave, consumers are very fickle. Check out Ebay Motors again in a month with gas prices soaring to the $3/gallon level and we’ll see how those Prius prices are then.
    I just checked out some owner reviews for the Prius and the Civic Hybrid. The Prius owners were extremely satisfied. The Civic folks gave mixed reviews, especially on the mileage issue.

  107. Lee

    Get back to us after those owners have had to replace some $1,000 batteries, or been in a wreck with car made out of steel.
    The primary fuel-saving design feature of all these cars is weight reduction. I had a 1972 Corolla with a truck engine and transmission that got 38 mpg, same as the current plastic econoboxes, after lots of ballyhoo about engineering and lots of price increases.

  108. bud

    Lee, open your mind up a little. I’m not dissing traditional gasoline powered automobiles. In their day they were wonderful. But the age of cheap gasoline is coming to an end. With no real political reason for it gasoline prices are approaching $2.80 gaollon nation wide.
    Here are the specs for a Toyota Prius.
    It’s not that small or light (nearly 3,000 pouns). Yet it gets astonishing gas mileage (owners consistently claim 44-51 combined, far better than your tiny 1972 Corolla). Right now I’m not so sure the other hybrids are a particularly good bargain. They are really just retrofits of traditional car models. But the Prius is special. It’s designed from the ground up as a hybrid. It’s great to look at, drives wonderfully, gets astonishing gas mileage and has great potential for further development.
    There have been a number of revolutionary developments in the past that were dismissed by the naysayers. Among them: The electric light (what’s wrong with our kerosene lamp), the steam engine powered ship (Fulton’s Folly), the automobile itself (it will never replace the horse). The hybrid car has the potential to be another one of those breakthrough technologies. I predict in 5 years Lee will be driving a hybrid.
    It’s not that small or light. Yet it gets astonishing gas mileage. Right now I’m not so sure the other hybrids are a particularly good bargain. They are really just retorfits onto traditional car models. But the Prius is special. It’s designed from the ground up as a hybrid. It’s great to look at, drives wonderfully, gets astonishing gas mileage and has great potential for further development.
    There have been a number of revolutionary developments in the past that were dismissed by the naysayers. Among them: The electric light (what’s wrong with our kerosene lamp), the steam engine ship (Fulton’s Folly), the automobile itself (it will never replace the horse). The hybrid car has the potential to be another one of those breakthrough technologies.

  109. Lee

    Right now, the revolutionary developments being dismissed by the backward naysayers are school vouchers, armed citizens, lower taxes, and an end to socialism and other supertitions.
    I agree that the Prius looks better than some of the other hybrids, which look like what they are: thrown together to create a vehicle which will qualify for vouchers from the government.


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