Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Greenwashing the Camry

In today’s Australian, Paul Kerin launches a devastating attack on the Rudd government’s $70 million dollar handout to Toyota to support the manufacture of Camry hybrids in Melbourne. While hybrid technology generally improves the fuel efficiency of a car, the Camry was a gas guzzler to start with, so the improvements only make it middle of the road. So unlike the fuel efficient Prius, the hybrid Camry will only be the 120th most fuel efficient vehicle on the road. Money that could otherwise go towards developing solar or wind power generation will instead be used to subsidize a car that generates twice the CO2/km than the market leading models.
To me, this sounds like yet another example that the Rudd government’s main goal is to use public funds to prop up unionized industries under the justification of climate change action. While not of the magnitude of his carbon sequestration proposals, it is even more blatantly a subsidy for mediocrity, which will make it harder for genuinely innovative and useful technologies to become economically competitive.

4 comments:

Silver Fox said...

I think they should put that money into making my truck a hybrid - if it was middle-of-the-road, it would be quite an improvement.

coconino said...

I think I've left a similar comment before - most of the folks around where I am really need a hybrid 4WD pickup truck that can really haul a large load (as opposed to haul a__). A prius is cute, but doesn't haul hay or cows or horses (or large rocks) worth a darn.

djm said...

IMO it is completely absurd to compare the efficiency of a large family car like the Camry to that of a small car like the Prius or the Civic. I bet most of those other 199 cars above the Camry in efficiency are small cars too.

Many consumers (e.g. large families) will simply not purchase small cars and so I think it is important that there are improved efficiency options for all vehicle classes.

I'm more than happy for Rudd & co to plonk down $70m on stimulating the local car industry towards a desirable end. Compared to the hundreds of millions (billios?) being blown on "clean coal" it seems money well spent.

Peter said...

Reminds of the story in the NY Times recently about one of the Japanese SUVs being marketed in France as having been "conceived and developed in the homeland of the Kyoto accords." My favorite is the Yukon hybrid ... only in America would anyone have the gall to call that going green. This baby is almost 17 feet long and has a gross vehicle weigh rating of 7100 lbs. Oh, yeah, and thanks to GM's advanced hybrid technology now gets 20 miles a gallon. Now that's what I call a real breakthrough. Jeeessh...