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Critical Thinking: Don't get a Prius. [May. 12th, 2008|02:26 pm]
The American Caliban
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The hybrid car is a lie. Do not purchase one.

  1. The only reason the hybrid car exists is to allow auto manufacturers to continue selling grossly wasteful and polluting vehicles to consumers. Because California law requires an overall emissions target and minimum quantity of zero emissions vehicles, a manufacturer has to sell hybrid or electric powered vehicles in order to continue selling large commercial trucks to consumers as toys, and other sins.

  2. Purchasing a hybrid vehicle pays off the owner's conscience in the best American way: with a unique product. The buyer feels a sense of moral superiority, the seller makes some money, and the essential problem continues. It's no wonder the name of the most popular one sounds like "pious."

  3. Buying a hybrid car means buying a new car. Don't buy a new car. It's true that as your hybrid car runs it will put less direct pollutant material in the air and water. It's also true that it will use less gasoline. However, you have just bought a very large machine which was manufactured new. Add up the steel and aluminum, the machining and casting of parts, the chemicals used and dumped, the nonrenewable resources consumed or used to build the car, all the energy used to build a car and carry its materials around, the energy used to move the car around by ship and truck to the dealer, all of it. Making a car is a very top heavy resource-hungry industrial process.

    And your car doesn't go away. Unless you have it artfully crushed into a cube as a coffee table, or personally supervise its recycling, your car is sold to another person and stays on the road. And that person's car is sold down the line too, until we arrive at unusable or junked cars, which then go to a graveyard to be broken down. Everything about the car is toxic too, just in case you're curious.

    So now you've brought a new car into the world (they'll make more!) and given a nice big fat gut punch to Mother Nature in doing so. Failure.

  4. Keep your old car instead. If it's not so run down that the mileage is shot, and it's passing the emissions tests, it's a better deal for "the planet" and for you also. It is not as demonstrative of your love for the GREEN GAIA to continue with your serviceable older car, but trust me, she appreciates it.

  5. nstead, do things that don't burn fuel, or burn less. If you're physically able, ride a bike more to short drives. Use public transit. Even in Southern Californian Heck, where I live, I can (and now I do) take the train into Los Angeles when I am able.

  6. It will be a great day for this country when Americans can look at a serious problem and do something other than pick up a lifestyle magazine and look for some product guides. Buying things is a terrible solution to so many things.

[User Picture]From: caladri
2008-05-12 09:35 pm (UTC)
I just about punched this person I saw the other day with a "I'm doing my part! 45MPG" sticker the size of my torso on the back of their Prius. Our 1992 (or 1995?) Honda Civic gets 42MPG. Idiots.
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[User Picture]From: skepticle
2008-05-12 09:41 pm (UTC)

preachin to the choir, son.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-12 10:30 pm (UTC)
12 year old camrys are so motherfucking goth.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-12 10:31 pm (UTC)
I know the1withtheeyes was very interested in making such coffee tables as soon as it was mentioned, and she's good at artery. Maybe she could start with yours.
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[User Picture]From: turnip
2008-05-12 09:54 pm (UTC)
And your car doesn't go away. Unless you have it artfully crushed into a cube as a coffee table.

hey, TOTALLY UNRELATED, but I think I'm gonna open up a furniture store in San Francisco - you want in?

I'm glad I didn't get a Prius.

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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-12 10:30 pm (UTC)
TOTALLY UNRELATED I am all over that like a cheap suit.

i like that icon of you. it's how I want my life to be.
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[User Picture]From: etb
2008-05-12 10:18 pm (UTC)
If people want to show their Wuv for the Earth, I'd prefer they use the same amount of money to buy their next dozen (or two) pimped-out imoportedimported bicycles. And that's not just my Brompton lust talking.

Edited at 2008-05-12 10:19 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-12 10:29 pm (UTC)
Leave it to America. We'll somehow figure out how to make a hipster fixie out of 1.5 million barrels of Saudi oil and an endangered species.
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ha ha - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: perich
2008-05-12 11:27 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Ooh! Do "TerraPass" next!
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-12 11:34 pm (UTC)
Oh man I forgot about that thing

I want to buy vouchers that allow me to find and brutally beat TerraPass purchasers. It's what the market wants; it has to happen.
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[User Picture]From: jactitation
2008-05-13 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. Exactly.
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[User Picture]From: mr_flippant
2008-05-13 04:40 am (UTC)

You can't buy the strategy you don't have

This seems like a reasonable list and I agree with the theme...but I take issue with #3.

It's true that there are other viable transit options in many situations...even in SoCal. And as peak oil, pollution, gridlock and personal finance become larger issues, we will probably see more people driving (oh crap, a pun) improvements to our transit systems and land use policies. We are already seeing hints of changes to the established way of thinking with the declining appeal of suburban life. The road worshipping philosophies of Robert Moses, at least up here in crunchy Seattle, are also becoming less and less common.

But until we have a system of commerce and transportation that supports these values, we have to deal with an infrastructure that was not developed with them in mind. And I wonder if the issue isn't knotted enough that blacklisting a vehicle, that pollutes less, because of a disingenuous manufacturer washes over some of that complexity.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-13 04:25 pm (UTC)

Re: You can't buy the strategy you don't have

I'm blacklisting an idea, not a car. the Idea is: Buy a new car to make things better.
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From: ext_1001
2008-05-13 05:34 am (UTC)
Also: Flexcar (which is now Zipcar) is a sort of time-sharing car rental sort of thing that I know works really well in Boston and Portland (and other cities, too.) I have a number of friends who gave up their car (and the associated maintenance, insurance, and downtown parking costs, not to mention pollution) in favor of Flexcar. When you have a car in the garage, it's easy to take needless trips. Without a car in the garage, you walk/bike/bus more and save scheduling the car parked a few blocks over for larger-cargo trips.
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[User Picture]From: rpkrajewski
2008-05-13 01:30 pm (UTC)

The good is the enemy of the best

Now, some of this maybe company propaganda, but it appears that the environmental impact of a Prius in the manufacture and disposal stages is significantly, if still only incrementally, better than that of conventional motor vehicle:


Also, so far, it seems like that the Prius is well-made and reliable, and should last a long time. It's at least, if not more recyclable, than average car. I really wouldn't worry about the recycling issue for most of the car in general – there's a great market in scrap metal, and economic pressure that kind of reuse is only increasing.

Yes, it would be better if everybody could get around without a car, but even in the relatively dense and transit-friendly areas of the country, it's the only realistic strategy for getting around. It's going to take a while before transit networks and land-use patterns catch up with better arrangements.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-13 04:27 pm (UTC)

Re: The good is the enemy of the best

That's good to hear. I still think that buying a new car is the opposite of helping the environment. I seriously wonder how many owners of shiny new hybrids could have got away with keeping the one they had and living more car-light.
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[User Picture]From: drieuxster
2008-05-13 11:57 pm (UTC)

generally usefulish.

p1: the first problem is that the California Clean Air Initiatives were shot down when GM decided that it wanted to prevent itself from taking advantage of it's lead in the ZEV that it had with the electric cars that it was making. SO they brokered a deal with the California Clean Air Board to stop it from offering GM an unbridled head start.

p2: the Hybrid Car was the Also Ran in the process.

But since you are trying to argue about a process, rather than a type of car, there are some deeper issues that will need to be addressed. This may be a great time to read Kevin Phillip's Bad Money as the "Peak Oil" meets the "global warming" trend is only a part of the problem that americans face, given the unwrapping of the FINANCIALIZATION of the american economy.

Unless americans want to back the 'winning side' in the 'resource wars' they may not be in a position to have the money to buy foreign made products that will no longer be shipped to the americans until they have a convertable currency accepted in the rest of the world.

So if Process is the Concern, maybe it is time to step back and really address the core process issues.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-14 12:00 am (UTC)

Re: generally usefulish.

Many processes are of concern, and there isn't One Solution to Everything except in the Kooks Museum.

I don't see what's so hard about "stop buying products to stop a consumption problem" as a concept, though.
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[User Picture]From: baconmeteor
2008-05-15 02:14 am (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: wrecking__ball
2008-05-15 02:16 am (UTC)
Yay! Especially about buying things to solve problems created by gross over-consumption of limited resources. Like that whole Product (RED)TARDED thing. What? Stupidity/Bono ensues.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-05-15 04:24 am (UTC)
Stupidity/Bono ensues.

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