Why is the Manitoba NDP subsidizing SUVs?

Posted: February 6, 2007 in Uncategorized

Yesterday Manitoba’s provincial government announced plans to rebate $2,000 to every citizen who buys a hybrid vehicle before Nov. 15, 2008. When I look at the gas guzzlers my tax dollars are going to support, I have to ask WHY???!!!

Here’s the list of vehicles that Manitoba will now subsidize and their respective fuel consumption estimates (miles per gallon) in parentheses (city/highway). Unless otherwise noted, fuel economy estimates come from the US Department of Energy/Environmental Protection Agency web site on fuel economy.

Trucks

SUVs

  • Ford – Escape Hybrid (36/31 FWD; 32/29 4WD)
  • Lexus – RX400H (32/27 2WD; 31/27 4WD)
  • Mercury – Mariner Hybrid (32/29)
  • Saturn – VUE Green Line (27/32)
  • Toyota – Highlander Hybrid (32/27 2WD; 31/27 4WD)

Cars

  • Honda – Accord Hybrid (28/35)
  • Honda – Civic Hybrid (49/51)
  • Honda – Insight (60/66)
  • Lexus – GS 450H (25/28)
  • Toyota – Camry Hybrid (40/38)
  • Toyota – Prius (60/51)

Now I drive an aging (1997) but still quite serviceable Mazda Protege which gets 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Seats four; lots of room for groceries. I don’t drive it much, but when I do, it compares favourably with the brand new SUVs my government is subsidizing and beats the pants of those trucks.

This policy is wrong headed in the extreme. Not all hybrids are equal; nor are they equally worthy of support.

All this policy achieves is the public bankrolling of middle class luxuries — which may play well in a pre-election period, but does nothing about global climate change except perpetuate the myth that we can not only continue to have our climate destroying toys, but that the public should pay for them.

If hybrid vehicles are to be subsidized, at least be selective and support those products that have obviously raised the bar (such as Toyota’s Prius).

Better yet, spend more on improve public transportation systems and legislate fuel economy and emissions standards that challenge automakers to build green vehicles or get out of business.

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