Do Hybrids Consume Too Much Energy?

Posted on May 20, 2008 by LCT Magazine

The “E Cost Per Mile” is the energy needed translated into cost per mile for a vehicle from concept to scrappage, otherwise known as dust-to-dust over an estimated lifespan. Data is based on historic scrappage of same or like vehicles adjusted for quality improvements that would result in longer life of the vehicle.

Energy Efficiency is More than Just Fuel Economy

Looking for an energy efficient vehicle? Scion xB leads the list, significantly better than even the best hybrids.

That’s the conclusion of long-term study by CNW Marketing Research Inc. of Brandon, Oregon, of “dust to dust” energy costs for cars and trucks. The research tracked and calculated the energy cost of each model sold in the U.S. in 2005 from initial concept to the projected time it is scrapped.

The Top 10 most energy efficient vehicles over their lifetime:

  1. Scion xB ($0.48 per mile)
  2. Ford Escort (0.57 per mile)
  3. Jeep Wrangler ($0.60 per mile)
  4. Chevrolet Tracker ($0.69 per mile)
  5. Toyota Echo ($0.70 per mile)
  6. Saturn Ion ($0.71 per mile)
  7. Hyundai Elantra ($0.72 per mile)
  8. Dodge Neon ($0.73 per mile)
  9. Toyota Corolla ($0.73 per mile)
  10. Scion xA ($0.74 per mile)

The 10 least energy efficient vehicles over their lifetime:

  1. Mercedes Benz produced Maybach ($11.58 per mile)
  2. Volkswagen Phaeton ($11.21 per mile)
  3. Rolls-Royce (full line average: $10.66 per mile)
  4. Bentley (full line average: $10.56 per mile)
  5. Audi allroad Quattro ($5.59 per mile)
  6. Audi A8 ($4.96 per mile)
  7. Audi A6 ($4.96 per mile)
  8. Lexus LS430 ($4.73 per mile)
  9. Porsche Carrera GT ($4.53 per mile)
  10. Acura NSX ($4.45 per mile)

Hybrid energy efficiency over their lifetime:

  1. Honda Insight ($2.94 per mile)
  2. Ford Escape Hybrid ($3.18 per mile)
  3. Honda Civic Hybrid ($3.24 per mile)
  4. Toyota Prius ($3.25 per mile)
  5. Honda Accord Hybrid ($3.30 per mile)

Prominent livery vehicles:

  1. Ford Expedition ($3.05 per mile)
  2. GMC Yukon ($3.13 per mile)
  3. GMC Tahoe ($2.93 per mile)
  4. Lincoln Town Car ($2.75 per mile)
  5. Cadillac Escalade ($2.75 per mile)
  6. Lincoln Navigator ($2.67 per mile)

The study measures all energy needed for vehicles sold in the U.S. in cy2005. The data applies to new and used vehicles even though calculations were made on cy05 models.

Data includes supplier as well as brand manufacturer energy consumption for the listed vehicles; transportation at all levels of distribution; use of materials (plastics, steel, light-weight steel, aluminum, etc.) and literally hundreds of other factors.

While historical data is spotty, CNW analysis shows the industry as a whole has improved manufacturing energy efficiency significantly in the production portion of the calculation – between 15 and 20 percent – since 1995. This, however, is only a small part of the total Energy Cost Per Mile calculation.

For the complete list of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in calendar year 2005 and their energy cost, visit, and click on the Dust to Dust Energy Report. For a dissenting view of the study, CLICK HERE.

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