A few years ago a report titled the ‘Dust to Dust’ report claimed that the total environmental footprint of a Hummer SUV was less than that of a Toyota Prius. If you want to read the entire 458 page report you can download the PDF here, but the synopsis of the report basically puts forth that once you take into the account the full costs associated with research, development, mining, operation and maintenance and finally the recycling of the hybrid car the total amount of energy consumed is greater than that of a Hummer over each vehicle’s usable lifetime.
Needless to say, the report was widely quoted in the media. However, a rebuttal has since been published by Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute which points out some questionable methods. Two of the highlights in the Dust to Dust Report:
- A Hummer is expected to last 35 years, whereas a Prius is expected to last less than 12
- A Hummer is expected to run for almost 400,000 miles versus a Prius’ 109,000 miles
I only briefly skimmed over the ‘Dust to Dust’ report, but there is lots of superfluous information (including cartoon pictures and song lyrics?) and it is not written as a proper scientific paper. The rebuttal on the other hand not only a slap on the wrists, but a veritable slap to the face as it pulls no punches in attempting to discredit the original report. It is also much more readable at 7 pages in length. Both reports aside, beyond walking clearly the mode of transportation that is best for the planet would be unicycles. (Less material than bicycles.)