Rush Limbaugh, piggish, ignorant, gassy gas hog

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. David Franklin
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    Rush on Hybrids (26 comments )

    A friend of mine and I were discussing the Oscars, and how many celebrities showed up for the event in their hybrids. He told me how stupid and naive he thought that was because he had heard on Rush Limbaugh's program that hybrids have proven to be a bust, that they cost more in the long run than comparable conventional vehicles, due to actual cost of ownership figures, and in the end we would still use the same amount of oil that we are using now!

    Perplexed, knowing quite well that this could not be further from the truth, I read what Rush had to say about hybrids on his website in an attempt to comprehend how he could possibly have arrived by these conclusions. I can sum up in one word what I think of Rush's logic when it comes to hybrids. "Flawed." It is due to this flawed logic that I believe his conclusions are so askew of reality.

    As a former Toyota salesperson specializing in Prius and Rav4 EV (how about NO oil!) sales, I cannot speak for the "American" hybrid offerings other than to say that Toyota invested $25 Billion in developing their hybrid technology (more than Ford or GM's net worth), and the American automaker to invest the most so far, Ford, has only put in about $2 Billion! Toyota invests in the future. The big three invest as far ahead as next year's sales, in reality because that's all they can afford to do. They have been dragged into the world of hybrid technology kicking and screaming. The real explanation behind their opposition to developing hybrids is that they don't have the resources to compete with Toyota. Ford's Escape Hybrid, while commendable in that it saves some fuel compared to what a conventional SUV consumes, is not destined to make much of a dent in our skyrocketing demand for foreign oil.

    Rush says that, "Contrary to any loose statements made by our marketing partners in the environmental community and media, petroleum not consumed by Prius owners is not 'saved.' It does not remain in the ground. It is consumed by someone else. Greenhouse pollutants are released." I find this statement baffling! Is there a backlog of "oil orders" that lies unfulfilled somewhere that I am unaware of? Are there companies out there just waiting for people to buy more hybrids, so that they can have their oil orders taken off backorder? Not to my knowledge. Logic would dictate that if demand for oil decreases, drilling and production of oil will decrease as well!

    Perhaps if it was put another way it would be easier for Rush to grasp the cold hard logic behind what hybrids can do for this nation; "If every privately owned vehicle in America was traded in today for a Prius, it would reduce the amount of oil our nation requires to a level that could be fully supported by our own resources!"

    Let me say that again in case it didn't sink in fully the first time; "If every privately owned vehicle in America was traded in today for a Prius, it would reduce the amount of oil our nation requires to a level that could be fully supported by our own resources!" (and that's without having to drill in Alaska!)

    How about that for a direct connection between the Prius, and reducing, nay, ELIMINATING our dependency on foreign oil! Imagine, American's making a single conscious choice simply of what automobile to buy, one that is currently available to everyone, that in no way inhibits them from continuing to live they way they do presently, yet ends our need to import oil! Can you imagine the far reaching ramifications of that?

    What's so sad is that while this possible future lies directly in front of us, waiting to be embraced, Rush Limbaugh still cannot "see the connection between hybrids and cutting our dependency on foreign oil" as he drives home in one of his vehicles, none of which, he is proud to admit, get better than 14mpg! He states that he would never drive a vehicle that gets better mileage than that because they are too small and unsafe! Personally, I think I would prefer the safety of living in a nation that doesn't have an economy that's stability depends upon purchasing oil from terrorist regimes!

    Rush says that you have to pay $10,000 more for a hybrid than you do for a comparable non-hybrid vehicle. Hmm! What can you compare a vehicle as unique as the Prius to I wonder? The Prius is one of the smoothest, quietest, most enjoyable vehicles I have ever driven! A buddy of mine says he prefers driving it over his brand new BMW 745! He even says the GPS navigation technology is more sophisticated in his Prius than it is in the BMW!

    The Prius starts at $22,000 - very well equipped! Let's see, that must mean that Rush feels that a comparable vehicle to the Prius ($22,000-$10,000) goes for around $12,000! Wow! What can you buy for $12,000? Do they still make Yugos? Even if they did, I doubt a $12,000 Yugo would have power windows, power door locks, AC, cruise control, Automatic (Maintenance Free!) CVT Transmission, AM FM Stereo with CD Player, keyless entry, etc. etc. etc. (all standard features on the Prius) The Yugo also doesn't get over 50mpg!

    Even Toyota's Highlander Hybrid gets DOUBLE the mileage of a Ford Explorer, with more power, more standard features, a similar price point, and 1/10 the emissions!

    Another thing that Rush is perhaps unaware of is that all these "Enviro Wackos" as he defines them, really ARE helping to reduce pollution by driving a Prius, due to the fact that a Prius produces 1/10 as many pollutants as your standard 5 passenger sedan. Put into perspective, when driving in the city, that means that often times the pollutants created by the engine, coming out of the tailpipe, are of lower concentration than those already in the air it is being released into! Maybe we should feed a hose from the tailpipe of the Prius into the passenger cabin when driving in downtown during rush hour so as to avoid breathing in all that smog!
  2. Continued:

    Rush says that the Prius's MPG numbers are fudged! Well duh! Who do you think comes up with those numbers? It's not Toyota, I'll tell you that much! Those numbers are generated by the US government. Toyota stands by the fact that you will get between 45mpg-52mpg on average in the Prius depending on your driving habits. This is less than the 60mpg City listed in the window, true. However, that being said, you certainly CAN get 60mpg in the Prius if you drive it conservatively enough. I have done it myself.

    The thing that people need to realize is that NO VEHICLE, driven normally, gets the mileage listed in the window! My understanding is that they ALL, on average, including the Prius, get about 26% less than the mileage listed in the window! When you compare a Hummer to a Prius though, a Hummer getting 7.4mpg instead of the 10pmg indicated in the window seems trivial compared to 44.4mpg instead of the 60mpg indicated in the window. They are both only 26% lower than advertised however.

    Rush also states that the Prius has no get up and go. When asked if Rush has ever driven a Prius, his response is "He'd never be caught dead in one of those things!" While this doesn't surprise me in the least, what he doesn't realize is the current Prius goes from 0-60 in 10 seconds! Speaking technically, that level of acceleration is referred to as "pretty darn fast!" (As fast as a Camry, and MUCH faster than a Yugo!) Thanks to its electric motor, which can run simultaneously with the gas engine, the Prius also has more torque than almost any other vehicle on the road! (Nearly as much as a Hummer H2 if you can believe it!)

    Rush proclaims that the cost of ownership is higher over 5 years on a hybrid than a comparable non-hybrid vehicle. This of course includes him factoring the $10,000 "premium" people have supposedly paid to buy a hybrid.

    In reality, the Prius is one of the first vehicles offered by Toyota to include a maintenance free transmission with only 5 moving parts! (a standard automatic transmission has over 500 moving parts, and requires maintenance every 15,000 miles) The transmission and all hybrid components in the Prius, including the batteries are also maintenance free, and GUARANTEED for 10 years, 150,000 miles in the State of California (and I think 8 years, 100,000 miles in the rest of the country). This is just the warranty however, and Toyota states that the actual life of the transmission, and all hybrid components, including batteries, should exceed the "lifetime of the vehicle" under normal driving conditions. In other words, you should never have to worry about or do anything to those items... EVER.

    The ONLY scheduled maintenance even listed in the maintenance guide other than the occasional inspections of components is oil changes! You can also expect the sophisticated regenerative braking aboard the Prius to save you money on brake pads as well.

    So basically, Rush's entire argument about the higher cost of ownership of the Prius is based ENTIRELY on his flawed comparison of the Prius to a $12,000 "Yugo," simply because the "Yugo" is cheaper to buy. (I say the Yugo, because there is no such car in existence, comparable to the Prius, at that price range to compare to!) Personally I'd say the Prius is more comparable to a Lexus is300 (which costs more than the Prius), both in ride quality, performance, and amenities. If you want to compare it to a Toyota branded model, the closest match is the Camry XLE, which also has a HIGHER price tag than the Prius!

    The bottom line is that you shouldn't believe everything you hear, especially if it comes out of Rush's mouth! If you want to give the Prius a fair shake, then go down to your local Toyota dealership and judge for yourself! I've rarely seen a person walk away from a Prius test drive without a smile on their face, and they are usually headed towards the sales desk!

    If you already drive a Prius, you should take a moment to pat yourself on the back! I "get" what you are doing even if Rush doesn't!

    Best regards,

    David Franklin
    Independent Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Consultant
  3. Unfortunately the Prius and other hybrids gas mileage are complete garbage, they are no where near the stated amount.

    Even the EPA recognizes the system is uses is completely flawed.
  4. No, they don't make Yugos, however the following cars are a hell of a lot better than said vehicle at a price "around" 12k at stated.

    2006 Saturn Ion $11k Base, MSRP $12k
    2006 Nissan Sentra Base $12k, MSRP $13k
    2006 Hyundai Elantra Base $12k, MSRP $13k
    2006 Ford Focus $12k, MSRP $13
  5. Analyses I have seen indicate that at current prices, hybrids do not save enough fuel to outweigh their extra cost. Of course, that would change if gas prices went substantially higher, but it could go the other way if it turns out that hybrids have substantial maintenance expenses that a normal vehicle would not incur. In fact, the latter consideration is highly likely.

    I think Rush's comment about hybrids not decreasing the total amount of oil consumed can be explained thusly. The major increases in demand are coming from rapidly industrializing nations like China and India. We are currently competing in the world oil market for supplies with them. If our useage decreases, it will only free up more supplies for them to consume. I am not certain this explanation is totally accurate, as market economics are dynamic and hard to predict. Certainly the writer is correct in pointing out there are independent virtues to our not having to import oil, two being improving the trade deficit and not supplying funds to countries that support terrorism.

    Actually, I question the notion that universal use of hybrids would rid us of the need to import oil. Perhaps it's true, but it seems dubious. Also, it seems to me a rational strategy would be to import as much as possible and thereby delay the inevitable exhaustion of domestic supplies as long as possible.
  6. "Perhaps if it was put another way it would be easier for Rush to grasp the cold hard logic behind what hybrids can do for this nation; "If every privately owned vehicle in America was traded in today for a Prius, it would reduce the amount of oil our nation requires to a level that could be fully supported by our own resources!"

    while i think hybrids are a good idea this statement is complete bs. todays hybrids are not getting much better mileage than comparable regular cars:

    The Toyota Prius advertises on its sticker that the EPA has determined through testing that the car achieves an average of 60 mpg in city driving and 51 mpg on the highway.

    Sandra took her Prius into the dealer for a check-up and was initially told that she was getting 46 miles to a gallon, which is less than the amount claimed by Toyota for city driving but still a pretty enviable figure. The service technician turned on the gas mileage icon of the onboard computer for her to prove his point.

    “The computer did say 46 miles per gallon,” Sandra wrote. “I asked them why it is that when I divide the miles from fill-up to fill-up by the gallons I put in, I get 34 or 33 miles a gallon?”

    The service technician admonished Sandra that she probably had her math wrong. “I said no and I wanted an answer,” she said.

    Finally the service department manager told Sandra, “Yes, you are right, you probably are getting 34 miles to a gallon.”

    When Sandra asked why the computer spit out the higher inaccurate, number the service manager told her, “That is a number Toyota has programmed into the car which accounts for wind resistance and other factors,” she said.

    Other Complaints
    Sandra is far from alone. Prius owners around the country are questioning the Toyota/EPA mileage claims.

    • displays the site owner's Prius fuel consumption records dating back to 2002. The lifetime average as of Nov. 20, 2005 is 43.2 mpg, a bit worse than Sandra's experience.

    • On another site,, a person we'll assume is Randy Rathbun displays his log dating back to March 31, 2002. His lifetime average: 47.332 mpg.

    • On the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association Website, a consumer identified as RJF has posted his Prius log, starting July 14, 2005. His lifetime average to date: 49.221 mpg.

    This comes as no surprise to automotive experts. Data from Consumer Reports indicates that hybrid cars get less than 60 percent of EPA estimates while navigating city streets. In Consumer Reports' real-world driving test, the Civic Hybrid averaged 26 mpg in the city, while the Toyota Prius averaged 35 mpg, much less than their respective EPA estimates of 47 and 60 mpg. Hybrid cars performed much closer to EPA estimates in Consumer Reports'
  7. another:
    ONE question lingers after driving the 2006 Lexus RX 400h: How did it come to this, that Toyota is now selling a hybrid gas-electric vehicle with no tangible fuel economy benefits?

    In my test-driving, the Lexus hybrid, which is based on the gasoline-only RX 330, did not achieve better mileage than the 2005 RX 330 that I drove for comparison.
    My first seat time in the Lexus hybrid came over a weekend in which I drove the 200 miles from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Mich. I spent a lot of time on the freeway, but I also traveled some back roads and slogged through a couple of stop-and-go city stints. By the time I returned to Chicago, I had put 531 miles on the odometer and calculated my fuel economy at 20.9 m.p.g.

    I returned this vehicle to Toyota, but later tested another RX 400h for a week. I drove this one 556 miles and did a bit better, averaging 23.0 m.p.g.

    In an effort to make a direct comparison with the conventional gasoline-only Lexus, I contacted Toyota and asked for an RX 330 test car. When the company said that none was available, I called on an acquaintance who had recently bought an RX 330 with all-wheel drive, and made arrangements to drive that vehicle over essentially the same Chicago-Grand Rapids route.

    While this was not a controlled experiment, the results from my stint in the RX 330 were nonetheless illuminating: 462 miles traveled, at an average of 21.6 m.p.g.

    I'll be charitable and call the gas mileage comparison between the hybrids and the standard RX a draw, though there is a clearly a loser - anyone who buys an RX 400h under the assumption that it will consume appreciably less fuel in a range of driving situations.
  8. Anybody driven one of the new Lexus hybrids?

    I heard they really kick some ass -- that the Lexus hybrid actually has better acceleration than the non-hybrid version, thanks to extra boost from the nickel hydride battery pack.

    Toyota isn't saving the world or anything, but hybrids are clearly the future in one form or another. And not just because of gas mileage. If you think Californians are bitchy about enviro issues now, just wait til 25% of L.A. smog is imported from China.

    p.s. just saw the previous post. I guess now we know the reason for buying a hybrid w/ no improvement in fuel economy. Acceleration baby...

    p.p.s. just read the full NYT article. Maybe the RX 400 isn't that impressive, but the writer sure does seem anxious to pan Toyota. Maybe they just saw a good market incentive to get version 1.0 into the showroom, so rich soccer moms can brag about their green status? Seems way too early to give a thumbs down, except as sour grapes...
  9. wouldnt mind owning that hybrid but i wouldnt want to pay an extra 10 -15 grand for it thinking i would be getting 40mpg.
    i have a full sized chev 4/4 truck that gets 19 and that lexus only gets 20-22.
  10. Pabst


    Z10, do you drive a hybrid?


    A premium gasoline burning Volvo?


    #10     Mar 9, 2006