Obama's Carbon Footprint

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: May 25, 2008 11:19 AM
I got a kick out of reading some Q and A from a recent Obama press avail.
He says he has a hybrid, but doesn't drive it. (Too busy flying around in jets while campaigning.)

While Obama's busy emitting extra greenhouse gases trying to become president he says President Bush should do more work to advance alternative fuels. Hah.

Here's the excerpt:

Q: When will you, would you, ask the American people to stop buying SUVs? And what do you do in your own life?

Obama: Well these days I don’t drive much. I bought a hybrid but we keep it in the garage mostly. This is part of the reason why it’s important to continue to raise fuel efficiency standards on cars. One the advantages if we do so is you can see a gradual hike in fuel mileage standards, as opposed to these abrupt jumps, and that would probably smooth out increases in oil prices. Obviously that’s not an immediate option for this summer, and I think, as I’ve said on the stump, the most important thing we can do right now is provide some relief potentially in the form of an additional tax stimulus, and make sure that the next President starts immediately on implementing the kinds of alternative fuel strategies and gasoline savings strategies that can help reduce our oil consumption over the long term.

 By the way, there's a great feature in Wired magazine this month that explains how making hybrid cars is bad for the environment. "Pound for pound, making a Prius contributes more carbon to the atmosphere than making a Hummer largely because of the nickel in the hybrid's battery," it says. Making a Prius takes about 113 million Btus. A gallon of gasoline is about 113,000 Btus. Wired calculates a Prius drinks about 1,000 gallons worth of gasoline energy before it makes its first test drive.

Real conservationists would be sticking with their beaters, rather than buying the Lexus hybrid like Al Gore. "A used car on the other hand, starts with a significant advantage," Wired says. "The first owner has already paid off its carbon debt"--meaning since it was more energy-efficient to produce the older car, it doesn't hit the road with such a huge energy deficit. The article estimates it would take the Prius 100,000 miles to close the carbon gap with a 10-year old Toyota Tercel.