There is an interesting article which compares the total ecological footprint of a Prius to a Hummer. The conclusion that the article draws is that the Hummer is actually easier on the environment. How can this be? The article lists three reasons. First the actual fuel consumption is higher than claimed. Second, the manufacturing of the batteries that powers the motor invovles the toxic processing of nickel and takes a lot of energy to manufacture.

Second is the issue with the actual production of the batteries for the hybrid cars. It is only slowly being revealed that the nickel batteries that hybrids use are not environmentally friendly. The nickel for the Prius is produced in Sudbury, Ontario. According to Demorro, ” This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.” Toyota produces 1,000 tons annually. The production of the batteries does not end in Canada, the nickel is then sent off to a refinery in Europe and then off to China and finally it ends up in finished form in Japan. This in turn uses more energy to create the batteries since it involves many factories all over the world.

Third hybrids do not last as long as conventional vehicles. Interestingly, the article concludes that the most environmentally friendly cars are conventional sub compacts.

Basically if you want to save gas and pollute less you should buy a subcompact with a PZEV rated engine. It will save you more money in the long run and the earth will thank you.