Saturday, May 31, 2008

Big Hybrids

GM has had disappoining results selling its Tahoe and Yukon hybrid SUVs. It planned to sell 12,000 this year, but so far has sold only 1,100 through May. Fuel consumption is claimed to be 20 mpg vs. 14 mpg for the gasoline versions. Environmentalists may scoff at the idea of a green SUV, but consider this. At 14 mpg it takes a little over 7 gallons to go 100 miles, at 20 mpg this drops to 5 gallons. To get the same saving relative to a small sedan which does 30 mpg (3.33 gallons per 100 miles) you would have to switch to a scooter doing 85 mpg.

It would be nice if SUV drivers could be persuaded to drive smaller cars. For my part I cannot understand why anyone would want to drive one, for many reasons unrelated to gas mileage. But if for some reason people want them, SUVs are the low hanging fruit when it comes to energy saving. We should see a number of diesel SUVs soon, but in the mean time it is a real shame that hybrid SUVs are not selling better; the Prius drivers among us should encourage the SUV guys to go green rather than looking down their noses at them.

No comments: