My husband and I were chatting with a friend today about vehicles and gas mileage. The subject came up when I mentioned that I may be in the market for a new vehicle in about a year or so (my beloved Lumina is approaching the 200K mark, and I'd really like for her not to become a money pit), and my husband is less than thrilled with me because the vehicle I would love to have (at the moment) only gets 24MPG (shut up, I know). He keeps asking me when I'm going to wise up and not be absolutely petrified to drive a Fortwo. I brought up an article I'd read recently (which I can't find now), where the Fortwo actually came in third in gas mileage, behind the Toyota Prius and a Honda something-or-other (instinct says it was probaby the Insight, but for some reason, I remember it being the Civic hybrid).
As a large person, it's not like I'd fit comfortably in any of them, but I digress...
Our friend was telling us about an article he'd read, suggesting that the Prius was actually less "green" than a Hummer. I did a little bit of Googling and found that the situation is not quite as bad as some people on the internet have made it out to be, but have still been given the impression that while the Prius gets MUCH better gas mileage, it's not exactly going to win any awards for overall environmental impact over the life of the vehicle.
I was reading a few things about the flex-fuel Impala a few weeks ago and found that its fuel efficiency while on ethanol is so much lower than when on gasoline that it doesn't make financial sense for the end-user to fill-er-up with E85. But ethanol burns cleaner. But the processes used to produce it still have negative environmental implications.
And then there are vehicles that use electricity, which is mass-produced by burning coal (yeah, there's something fabulous for the environment), until more folks in appropriate places are convinced that wind energy and solar energy might be better for us (I'll admit to not having done an appropriate amount of research to expound further with any modicum of intelligence).
Is there anyone out there who makes a vehicle that effectively balances environmental impact and fuel efficiency? No wonder people don't care - I care, I'm relatively intelligent, and my head's about to explode.