Kurt Davies, the research director for Greenpeace in Washington,
said the organization supports the use of these newer vehicles.
“We are all in favor of anything that reduces the amount of oil
we use,” Davies said. “The beauty of the hybrid is it’s a
transitional move from petroleum to hydrogen.”
According to Davies, there are enormous implications for using
less oil, and said some companies are already inventing fuel cell
cars, which replace gasoline engines.
The United States has become more of a “car culture” than other
countries, Davies said. He questions whether or not people are
aware of the effects of driving a Hummer or SUV, in relation to
“If the whole world were like us, we’d be out of oil in years,
not decades,” he said.
He said the use of hybrid cars is something citizens should
pursue as “a moral responsibility to do the right thing.”
The 2004 Toyota Prius, released in Denver in November introduces
features not seen in conventional cars.
Ron Lewis, the sales consultant for Pederson Toyota, explained
advances taken in the Prius, as well as all Prius cars on the
The Prius is an electric powered vehicle with a gasoline backup,
but can also run simultaneously, according to Lewis. It does not
run through automatic or manual transmission. Instead, the Prius
has Continuously Variable Drive, which works with the momentum of
“We always come down to this double-edged sword, with efficiency
and the environmental standpoint,” Lewis said.
The Prius is EPA rated at 52 miles to the gallon in the city and
45 on the highway. It is rare to have better fuel efficiency during
city driving town than on the highway, according to Lewis.
The environmental standpoint is seen in that the Prius is rated
at a Partial Zero Emissions, meaning it is 90 percent cleaner than
other brand new conventional cars.
Previous Prius models were at a Super-ultra-low Emissions Level.
All Prius cars are exempt from the state emissions program.
“The belief that hybrids lack power is the farthest thing from
the truth,” Lewis said. “The Prius has three times the amount of
power as a conventional motor.”
The first generation of the Prius had 340-foot pound torque,
which is the power required for the car to be put into motion. The
2004 Prius has 377-foot pounds torque. The Toyota Corolla, a
conventional gasoline-powered car has 125-foot pounds torque.
The cost of the new Prius is a base price of $19,995, not
including a destination fee of $515 fin order to ship the car to
the United States from Japan.
“To offset that price,” Lewis said, “the government gives tax
incentives for those who buy hybrids.”
Curt Hanson, salesperson at Markley Honda in Fort Collins, said
the Honda hybrids are similar to the Prius in terms of size and
that they both use gasoline and electric-powered engines.
The Hondas differ from the Prius in that the cars are
gasoline-powered with an electrical start-up, and electrical help
with acceleration. Gasoline and electrical power cannot run
simultaneously in Hondas, but one couldn’t work without the other,
“If (the hybrids) didn’t have the electrical power, the car
wouldn’t function,” he said.
The Hondas have an IMA, or Integrated Motor Assist, which mean
the electrical power and gasoline power are built into the same
The Hondas have an EPA rating of 50 miles to the gallon.
Aaron Kocurek, a math education sophomore, owns a Honda Accord
and is aware of both Toyota and Honda hybrids.
“My car’s not a hybrid, but I’d switch to one because they’re
less expensive in the long run,” Kocurek said. “You won’t be
spending as much money on gas.”
Kocurek said he would also switch to a hybrid because they are
cleaner, more efficient and prevent using resources such as oil and
Lewis stated that the infrastructure is not yet ready for a
hydrogen cell car, the next step after hybrids. Gas stations are
also opposed to the idea because oil companies are hesitant to move
in that direction. Lewis said it might take over a decade for
completely electric-powered cars to come into the car-manufacturing
“The hybrids are a bridge,” Lewis said.
Hanson also feels the cars are “on the cutting edge of the