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The impression left by the media coverage was to cast doubts on the real benefits of hybrids.
In all fairness, it was not Spinella’s fault that journalists were not nearly as thorough in representing the report as CNW was in their research.
If reporters had dug a little deeper, they would have clearly seen what the podcast interview exposed: the Hummer H3 looks a whole lot better than the hybrids because it uses "crude old technology that has long ago been paid for," according to Spinella.
If you thought the hybrid bashers had exhausted their list of criticisms of gas-electric vehicles—they’re small, underpowered, ugly, driven only by enviro-weenies and not worth the extra cost in any case—then you probably underestimated the creativity and persistence of the anti-hybrid crowd.
The latest reason, we are told, that hybrids are not the answer is that they are less energy-efficient than conventional vehicles if you look not just at the period when the hybrid is driven, but at their entire dust-to-dust lifecycle.
Perhaps the most critical one was the anticipated number of miles to be driven by each car.
For example, CNW set the number of expected lifetime miles for a Prius at 100,000 miles, which, according to CNW President Art Spinella, was based on public statements from Toyota.
The firm spent two years collecting more than 4,000 data points for all vehicles on the road—not just hybrids—studying energy costs for every single aspect of the vehicle’s creation, from research and development to final disposal.
In an interview with the podcast "The Watt," Spinella admitted that, "If you can drive the Prius 200,000 miles, and do the same levels of costs and repairs, the cost per mile obviously comes down dramatically." As you might expect, the media and blogosphere had a field day with the study.
CNW’s press releases were picked up from New York to Hong Kong.