Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Friday, January 06, 2006


Today, I'm renting a hybrid for the weekend. Fox car rentals at Oakland Airport, typically the cheapest service, now offers hybrids and one CNG vehicle. I checked out the mileages for their fleet, and am apalled that the hybrid Ford Escape can only manage 36 city/31 hwy. The Honda Civic Natural gas gets 28 city/34 hwy and the Civic hybrid a whopping 46 city/51 hwy!

There are natural gas filling stations all over, these days. It's a "clean" fuel, in that it pretty much makes just water and CO2 (unlike gasoline which makes all sorts of compounds: look at your smog check documentation to see some of them). Hybrids are sort of a stop-gap measure as we wean ourselves from petroleum. Comparing my 17 mpg van to a 50 mpg hybrid, it's a third of the fuel use (and a third of the combustion products/pollutants). But that's still hundreds of pounds of airborne stuff each year of driving. Comparing my all-electric Sparrow to a hybrid... um, I'm not sure that's a comparison that makes any sense. Neighborhood EVs satisfy a different need than a full-size car.

Bio-fuels are best, in terms of keeping fossil CO2 in the ground, but hybrids are certainly a step in the right direction. I'm pretty excited to learn first-hand what driving a hybrid feels like.


  1. that was interesting. i appreciate the comparison. we are not curently inthe market for a new car but i keep my ears pricked for when the day comes. i'd really like to go either hybrid or biodiesel at that time.

  2. I've written a fair amount about biodiesel. There's a couple of groups in my area that are very keen on it.

    It's one of the few possibilities with some real traction, mostly because it pits agri-business against big oil. Agri-business is currently a huge consumer of big oils' products, and therefore has some pretty good motivations to keep bringing bio-diesel to market.

    The trick is going to be keeping bio-fuel production regional, so we don't end up with the same super-centralized power base we currently have. Or, the trick is making sure that power base answers to a higher calling than mere profits.