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Old 12-11-2007, 04:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are hybrid SUVs a good or bad thing?

ABG just posted this story on new GMC/Chevy hybrid SUVs and it got me to thinking.

In September, GM announced their official MPG numbers for the new 2008 Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids. The EPA has now posted the official government verdict, and the numbers match what GM announced. The
two large hybrids share official EPA estimates: The 2WD versions get 21 city, 22 highway (21 combined) while the 4WD versions get 20 mpg in all those categories. You can find EPA's pages for the Tahoe hybrids here and the Yukon hybrids here. For comparison, the non-hybrid 2008 GMC Yukon 1500 2WD gets between 11 and 14 mpg in the city and 15 and 20 mpg on the highway (depending on engine type, fuel and how many speeds the transmission has).
Looking at the issue I see that there are two sides and a middle ground of sorts. The two sides as I see it:

Position #1: Hybrid SUVs are great, they use the most gas and if every vehicle were hybrid then there would be an instant, passive savings of %20 of fuel used. Everytime the market balance shifts towards hybrids, it is a good thing.

Position #2: Hybrid SUVs are a great example of greenwashing. Even if it's a hybrid, it still embodies everything that waste is about. It shouldn't seem "ok" to drive an SUV because it's a hybrid, people should all be driving cars. Hybrid SUVs just encourage SUV ownership, which is a negative trend.

What do you think? I personally fall in the undecided pile, as I haven't seen a study done on the purchasing patterns of hybrid SUV owners v. regular SUV owners, and I think anyone trying to say one way or another is blowing hot air (ペラペラフアフア)...that said I think the balance prolly tips towards #1, though I'll still vote undecided.

Anyone have any anecdotal observations?

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