Hybrid Cars

21 May, 2004 at 1:04 pm (uncategorized)

After a few weeks of being snooty and outraged by advertizements on National Public Radio for the new Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, I decided to find out whether my disregard was founded. Because my ‘blog reading is limited to a mere eleven sites, I don’t know if this is an issue that has been roundly discussed in the blogosphere. Ehn. My analysis will not be excessively in-depth, anyway, as for the purposes of this entry I will be solely comparing gas mileage.

I drive a 1993 Ford Taurus wagon. Which structurally has very little to compare it to either an SUV or the previous Hybrid entries onto the market. However, I shall not let this elementary fact dissuade me from drawing inaccurate conclusions.

Model Mileage City Mileage Highway
Ford Escape Hybrid 38 MPG 23 MPG
Toyota Prius Hybrid 52 MPG 45 MPG
Honda Civic Hybrid 46 MPG 51 MPG
Ford Taurus (non-hybrid) 19 MPG 26 MPG
2001 Ford Escape (non-hybrid) 18 MPG 24 MPG
GMC Envoy (non-hybrid SUV) 15 MPG 20 MPG

The stats on the Taurus are the official Ford numbers from the most recent model. I don’t isolate my city and highway driving, but I tend to get about 23 MPG, which is not bad for a ten year-old vehicle.

Still, my first thought was how silly it was to have a hybrid SUV in that the improvement in gas mileage would be minimal. However, Ford claims that the Escape has approximately a 70% increase in fuel efficiency. And while I will still hold reservations that such numbers are likely to change dramatically in a laden vehicle, that is very impressive. Early reports on the Prius from Scott O. Brown were that the gas mileage would alter significantly with number of passengers, whether the wheel covers were in place, etc., so I find the above numbers, even in terrible New York City traffic, to be speculative. Impressive, though. Impressive enough to make me worry that our national appetite for ugly vehicular behemoths will continue unabated.

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