Are hybrids really good for the environment?

The BBC's 'Top Gear' programme isn't always the most thought-provoking programme on television. Normally it is pure entertainment. However, the recent item about the Toyota Prius did suggest that we think more deeply than many of the Hollywood elite about our evironmentally-friendly motoring solutions.

For those who didn't see it, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson explained the globe-crossing journeys involved in getting the material for the Prius batteries from Canada to Japan, via China.

Having suggested that its carbon footprint was already big, he then introduced a test around the Top Gear circuit with a Prius going as fast as it could and a BMW M3 keeping up with it.

BMW M3

BMW M3 - more economical than a Toyota Prius? On Top Gear's circuit test it was.

Not surprisingly, the M3 did around 2 mpg more than the Prius.

Clearly it was not a convincing scientific test. Not many Prius drivers would drive with their foot welded to the floor. Conversely, how many M3 drivers would drive with economy uppermost in their minds?

However, it did suggest we should be giving deeper thought to what cars are good for the environment. As I found out with the Polo Bluemotion, there are some more conventional and extremely low emission motors out there.
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