Buy a used car or a new Prius?

Which is better for the environment (new or used), based on BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy consumed over the total life of the car? Curious? check out the Slate article with the answer.

[image from garyhymes at flickr]



i) find and comare fuel efficiencies at EPAs website

ii) wikipedia on MPG to GPM conversion:

“A vehicle getting 10 mpg would consume 0.1 gallons per mile. Reducing fuel consumption by increments of 0.01 gal/mile results in the following measurements:

  • 11.1 mpg (0.09 gal/mile)
  • 12.5 mpg (0.08 gal/mile)
  • 14.3 mpg (0.07 gal/mile)
  • 16.7 mpg (0.06 gal/mile)
  • 20 mpg (0.05 gal/mile)
  • 25 mpg (0.04 gal/mile)
  • 33.3 mpg (0.03 gal/mile)
  • 50 mpg (0.02 gal/mile)
  • 100 mpg (0.01 gal/mile) “

7 responses to “Buy a used car or a new Prius?

  1. or you can buy what my brother just bought:


    when he’s bellyaching about gas prices in a year, i’ll tell him it’s his own damn fault.

  2. As a very contented Prius owner, I am pleased with the outcome.
    It would take a lot to make me want to switch.

  3. So…I think there is a bit of an oversight (deception?) in the article. To determine the ‘cost’ of producing a new car in terms of energy alone overlooks the importance of the physical resources that go into a new car. There is nothing to account for environmental degradation (mining!), resource depletion, etc. I wonder too if the energy ‘cost’ that they quoted included the costs of mining and transportation of these resources.

  4. yeah, khalid. there are a lot of externalities. they also didn’t account for ease of recycling the car (probably because nobody thinks to recycle at end of life)

  5. Mike J. Casteel

    While the hybrids are definitely a step in the right direction, I’m still concerned that such automobiles operate partially on fossil fuels. In order to really make a difference, wouldn’t we all need to go hybrid?

    The TV commerciasl for vehicles like hybrid SUVs are amusing – I think it’s like going on methadone after riding the “H” (horse) for awhile. Also like giving up nicotine or other addicitive substances – I think we will all have to go “cold turkey” on this one. Did you ever see the movie the “5th Element” ? It had a joke in a few scenes, with a cigarette filter longer than the wrapper with the tobacco. I don’t ever see this happening, however – there is too many oil junkies around the world.

    Now, flame away my fellow bloggers….

    Mike J. Casteel

  6. Mike I agree Hybrid SUVs are a joke. The Toyota Highlander SUV gets 18/24 (city/hwy) mpg regular vs 24/25 mpg hybrid. For hwy driving there is a 4% improvement in gallons used to drive 100 miles, and for city driving there is a 25% improvement for the same 100 miles. Are they intentionally guzzling gas on the conventional model just to make the hybrid look good? And why do American car companies use MPG instead of GPM (gallons per mile), the latter being much more intuitive for people wanting gas savings.

    Jordon, I am going to laugh when Kemper gets his first $100 tank of gas. Tell him to take the bus when he complains!

  7. well, maybe if he didn’t essentially live in an exurb he might be able to take one.

    the hilarious thing was that his rationale was such a cliche: “we travel a lot…we’re thinking about the future (i.e. kids).” i mean, growing up, for most of my life our family had a stationwagon and a toyota corrolla HATCHBACK, and i don’t think we experienced any emotional scars. and we traveled a long way for vacation in those cars. why does he think that you need a massive SUV if you are going to put a couple of kids in it? then he touted the “optional third row seating.” why do you need that? how many fucking kids are they going to have?

    i would say “to each his own,” but the problem is that when he drives a car like that, he’s belching more exhaust into the atmosphere, which is making all of us sick. it’s just so typically regressive.

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