Hummer vs. Prius Redux: Prius (Still) Leaves Hummer in the DustNew Data Affirms Prius More Energy Efficient


by Peter Gleick,
March, 2008

A year after a faulty marketing report fueled an automotive face-off, the Pacific Institute, armed with newly released Consumer Reports’ data, returns to the Hummer versus Prius debate and finds the Prius is (still) more energy efficient over its lifetime than the Hummer.

Last March, a marketing research report turned some heads when it produced the startling conclusion that large SUVs like the Hummer are more energy efficient over their entire lifetime than small cars and even hybrids, like the Toyota Prius.

The 2007 report, “Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal,” was produced by CNW Marketing Research, Inc., and found an enthusiastic audience, including George Will, who published an opinion piece about it in the Washington Post. The only problem? The conclusions were wrong.

The Pacific Institute’s Integrity of Science program did a reanalysis and found the automotive industry consultant’s report relied on faulty analysis and misleading assumptions. When corrected, it turns out that, as previously believed, smaller cars are more energy efficient throughout their lifetimes than larger ones.

Newly released data further support that conclusion: Revisiting the lifetime energy costs of vehicles, the Institute’s recently released “Hummer vs. Prius 2008 Redux,” utilizes data from the new Consumer Reports’ “2008 Annual Auto Issue,” and finds the Institute’s original analysis holds stronger than ever: the Hummer and other large SUVs are far bigger energy hogs than the Prius and other smaller cars.

In addition, Consumer Reports finds the Toyota Prius to be rated one of the most reliable vehicles on the road. One of the least reliable? General Motor’s Hummer.

Download the Pacific Institute’s “Hummer vs. Prius 2008 Redux” (PDF).