Bad Journalism? ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Bad Journalism?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bad Journalism?

I just read an article over at msnbc that just ticked me off by how wrong it was in its fact reporting that I ended up writing a response on their discussion board. I've copied it here to give you a chance to go over my response.

There were so many facts wrong in this article (or just plain misleading) that I felt I had to write in.
But sales of hybrid vehicles have fallen sharply since August as the price of gas has declined and Toyota has run up against a federal limit for tax credits that have helped fuel sales of the vehicles. From September to October, sales of Toyota hybrids, including the popular Prius model, tumbled 22.4 percent — a downturn that can be attributed in large part to a quirk in federal law, according to Alex Rosten,’s manger of pricing and market analysis.
All car sales are down from August. You need to compare to last year same month the way car reports are done. If you do so, you will see that hybrid car sales are up. See GreenCarCongress or my hybrid review site for details.

The Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid, for example, is one of several “value” hybrids to be introduced by General Motors over the next few years. It goes on sale next year and will cost just $1,000 more than the regular Saturn Vue.
The Vue Green Line is already on sale.

"Some think a hybrid will get the stated EPA mileage returns of 50 or 60 miles per gallon all the time," Rosten said. "But if you are using the hybrid on the highway you are using the gas engine, and cars like the Prius are much better-suited for around town driving in gridlock — they are not meant to be long-distance driving cars."
Yes, hybrid cars get better mileage in the city vs highway, which is the reverse of what people are used to, but the Prius is still rated at 51 mpg on the highway. How is this not meant for long distance driving?

She concludes that a driver who buys a Honda Accord hybrid, which can cost some $3,000 more than a regular model, will need 10 to 12 years to break even in fuel savings, assuming the price of gas remains within the $2.50 to $3 range.
You picked the Accord Hybrid for comparison? The Accord hybrid was built to improve performance, not fuel economy. When Edmunds (search for their press release or go here) asked the same question, they found it took 2.9 years driving the Ford Escape hybrid 15,000 miles a year to break even (I can cherry pick, too).

Please do some more research before you write another article, or at least try to present a more balanced report.

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