Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Re: Green Cars
Environmentalists, our federal government, and now Buzz Hargrove, all like to pass the responsibility for the emissions from cars to the manufacturers (“Auto workers rev up “Green Car” idea”, 03/07/08, B4). Mr. Hargrove has chosen to drive a Chrysler Concorde. He could easily meet the requested federal goal of 25% fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission improvement - and save some money by switching to a Neon. Instead, he asks that Chrysler be forced to improve the fuel efficiency of all models.
No doubt that is possible, if not practical. Hybrid vehicles are noted as one means of achieving better efficiency. Honda sells a hybrid gasoline - electric model of the Civic which allows for an "apple to apple" comparison of a conventional car with its equivalent hybrid model.
Data from the Natural Resources Canada Fuel Consumption Guide shows the conventional Civic uses 1413 liters of fuel annually, whereas the hybrid Civic uses only 953 liters. The hybrid Civic produces one tonne less greenhouse gas. This is a 32% fuel efficiency improvement. It is comparable to the 25% improvement our ”Green People” want forced on all models by federal legislation.
What is the cost to the civic minded Civic hybrid buyers? They can improve efficiency by 32% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne annually simply by ticking off the hybrid option. The additional purchase cost is $10,000. Assuming the car lasts 10 years, considering interest costs of 5% and fuel savings, the annual cost is about $1200 and the annual cost of greenhouse gas avoidance is $1200/tonne.
On the other hand, large industrial emitters are assured they will pay no more than $15/tonne for emission reduction credits and Canadians are advised by our federal government the cost of Kyoto will be negligible. Can we expect Ottawa to offer a $1200 annual carrot to car buyers to cover the additional cost? I think not.
Only in Canada would anyone contemplate and recommend such an extravagant strategy.