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Earth Power Transportation Technology

Environmental Cost of Hybrids' Battery Recycling? 520

LostMyBeaver writes "I have been considering the purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle for some time. The biggest problem I have currently is that both technologies make use of rechargable batteries. The same tree-huggers telling me gasoline is bad are telling me that batteries are bad too. I'm only partially knowledgable in this area, but it appears the battery technologies are generally based at least on lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, lead acid and nickel-cadmium. I was hoping someone on Slashdot would be knowledgable enough to explain the environmental cost of recycling these batteries. If I understand correctly, after these chemicals are 'spent' so the cells no longer maintain a charge, they are not useful for producing new batteries. I can only imagine that the most common method of recycling the cells is to store the toxic chemicals of the batteries in barrels and refilling the cells with new chemicals. This sounds like an environmental disaster to me. Is there someone here that can help me sleep better at night by explaining what really happens?"
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Environmental Cost of Hybrids' Battery Recycling?

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  • Google Much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:17PM (#24937767) Homepage Journal

    Stolen from

    How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?

    The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the carmaker.

    Battery toxicity is a concern, although today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

    There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:27PM (#24937911)

      Great. So now we'll have to worry about people tearing open the backs of our cars to remove our _perfectly good, multi-thousand-dollar_ battery packs to sell them for $200 to feed their addictions (heroin, alcohol, food, gasoline, etc.).

      • by Quantos ( 1327889 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:32PM (#24938015)
        Umm *pause for twitching*, where do you park?
      • by Sir_Ace ( 147391 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:37PM (#24938081) Homepage Journal

        You forgot 8" floppy disks... Can't... Have... Enough....

      • Re:$200 bounty (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:37PM (#24938083)

        Thankfully, those batteries are heavy, and located in hard to reach places. The batteries in the latest Prius weigh 45 Kgs and are located in the trunk of the car, partially underneath the back seat.

        I don't see anyone spending a good 30 minutes tearing open the Prius with powertools, only to run around with a 100+lb weight. At that point, they might as well steal the entire car.

        • Re:$200 bounty (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:26PM (#24938761)

          30 minutes? You have obviously never seen professional thieves at work. On topping a hill on 620 in Dallas once, I saw a van pull over in front of a car parked on the edge of the highway, as it backed up to the car the rear double doors opened and a cherry picker was extended on rails out of the back of it while several people leaped out of it carrying air tools and cutting torches etc and proceeded to strip the car. The van pulled away before I got to the bottom of the hill and the car was sitting on the pavement minus wheels, doors, hood, engine etc. This was maybe 30 seconds of time spent. No doubt they can work out a routine for hybrids. Of course for the small timer, catalytic converters seem to be one of the items of choice atm.

      • Seems to me that if you're replacing the batteries you're probably going to have the vehicle with them. They're pretty damn weighty, and due to hazards may require a professional for removal/installation. If theft becomes an issue, then they could make it a requirement that the vehicle be brought in with the batteries, in which case they'd have to steal the whole car (and if they can manage that, they'd do so regardless of batteries).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by leoxx ( 992 )

        I think you should be more worried about anti-hybrid nujobs who will completely destroy your car [] because they think you are "too smug" [].

      • I'm thinking about buying a Honda Civic Hybrid. Apparently the Honda's are quite nice. And there's on feature I like. If the battery pack is dead the car will still run, unlike the Prius where when your battery dies you're SOL.

        But with your thoughts in mind the first thing I plan to do when I get the car is remove all Hybrid badging.
    • According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

      Maybe Toyota ought to get into the consumer AA NiMH battery market. I've got a few stinkers that stopped holding their charge after only about a dozen cycles of light duty operation. (Which is quite a bit less than the "100s of times" touted on the package.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheMeuge ( 645043 )

        Try Sanyo Eneloop.

        They have slightly less capacity than the top of the line regular NiMH (2000mAh vs 2700mAh), but they can output upwards of 3A with no problem, and are Low Self Discharge cells. They can be recharged >500X, have no memory effect to speak of, and only lose 15% of the charge PER YEAR at 70F.

        With Hybrid LSD cells such as these, there is really no excuse to use alkaline batteries any more.

        P.S. You can get a pack at Costco for $30 that includes the charger, 2xAAA, 8xAA batteries, plus 2xC an

        • Re:Google Much? (Score:5, Informative)

          by abfan1127 ( 784663 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:55PM (#24938291) Homepage
          Actually, the life of your rechargeable batteries relies mostly on your charger. Cheap trickle chargers dump energy into your batteries even after they are full, cutting their life expectancies. Expensive battery chargers detect when the batteries are full and stop placing more energy on the cells. If your batteries are ever warm from charging, you just lost battery life. NiMH can be recharged more often then NiCd, but have less capacity too.
          • Re:Google Much? (Score:4, Informative)

            by ckthorp ( 1255134 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:51PM (#24939067)
            It isn't less capacity in a NiMH vs. a NiCd, it is less peak output current. That is why until recently, portable power tools still used NiCd batteries. Typically a NiMH has 3-5 times the internal resistance of a NiCd cell.
          • Re:Google Much? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Spoke ( 6112 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @08:28PM (#24940311)

            There are a ton of variables that determine battery life, but to say that it relies mostly on your charger is not true when even the most basic charger these days uses peak detection and thermal monitoring to stop charging.

            NiMH batteries will _always_ get warm when charging at a decent rate (and most cells like to be charged at a rate somewhere between C/2 and C to get reliable peak detection), because charging them is only 70-80% efficient. The rest goes into heat. If you continue pumping current into them after full, then yes, they heat up quickly.

            NiCd batteries only heat up significantly when you continue to charge them after they are full, or you charge them at very high currents.

            The #1 killer of typical batteries is letting them sit around dead or pushing them into reverse voltage by draining a pack too far. They like to be stored with at least some charge in them, but too often they end up sitting around for a year or two in between uses and too often they end up sitting dead which kills them. Lithium based cells are so bad that if you drain them completely, you can not revive them, so they typically have a small circuit on them which monitors cell voltage and disables the cell when too low.

            There is a ton of information on proper care of batteries including charging here at [] including information on what types of behaviour kills certain types of cells the fastest.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snl2587 ( 1177409 )

        I've got a few stinkers that stopped holding their charge after only about a dozen cycles of light duty operation.

        Of course. Battery manufacturers bank on people buying replacement batteries, and since so many people misplace rechargeables long before they go bad or simply do not realize they are supposed to recharge hundreds of times, there is no incentive to produce a better product (except in the precision/high-tech market, but that's a different story). Toyota would likely do the same if they entered the AA market.

        People would certainly take notice if their cars only went 1000 miles before they crapped out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AaronW ( 33736 )
        Toyota's batteries are quite different than the consumer ones. Toyota's batteries are designed to be far more rugged and more efficient at charging. They also hold a lower capacity for their size compared to consumer batteries.

        Toyota also treats the batteries gently, keeping the charge between 40-80% except in emergencies (like out of gas) where it can drain them to 0%.

        Consumer batteries only hold about 60% of the charge put into them, so to hit 100% they take roughly 167% of their capacity. Toyota's batter
      • Re:Google Much? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:48PM (#24939029)

        Ah, but that's why you have to read what they actually said. It states quite clearly:

        they have not replaces a single battery for wear and tear.

        Your "stinkers" would be considered a manufacturing defect, so even if they replace 5,000,000 crappy batteries every year, their statement would still technically be correct.

        Sneaky bastards ....

    • Re:Google Much? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mapsjanhere ( 1130359 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:31PM (#24938003)
      With the rising price of metals, the Nickel content alone will guarantee that no one will dump these by the side of the road (btw that would also apply to the NiCd kind). The automotive industry traditionally has been very good to reclaim every last bit that has value, even if it's only pennies. And the batteries will probably have in the 10 - 100 dollar worth of raw material in them.
  • They can be recycled (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 )

      Yes, both Nickel and Lithium can be separated electrolytically, recovered as pure metals, and then recycled as new batteries.

      I'm more worried about the Lithium batteries recycling themselves explosively while I'm driving the vehicle!

  • Toyota claims that []

    "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by polar red ( 215081 )

      And those batteries are probably worth more than that $200 in raw materials, and for new batteries, they need the raw materials anyway.

  • by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:24PM (#24937885) Homepage

    The DOOZY I heard the other day from a mechanic, who I believe is afraid his job is disappearing, is that batteries in the Prius are RADIOACTIVE!

  • by theverylastperson ( 1208224 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:25PM (#24937891) Homepage
    We can use all the leftover batteries to finish building the electric fence between the US and Mexico. Just imagine, a fence that keeps going and going (insert Pink Bunny with drum here).
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:27PM (#24937931) Homepage Journal

    Caveat - I used to work for Tek Cominco, and have smelted alloys, been a power engineer, and so on.

    First, you have to think of the entire life cycle of both production, shipping, usage, and disposal.

    Production: depending on the battery used (and there are multiple types being looked at), it may be produced from minerals from say Ontario or BC - in which case it was processed using a combination of methods, some of which use hydroelectric power (green). Acids are used in all metal production pretty much, so you pushing a giant truck down the road involves more acid than the batteries for a plug-in-hybrid which quite frankly has less mass. Smelting frequently uses coal, of course, so it depends on the source and composition of the coal - high-sulfur high-pollution like in China or low-sulfur low-pollution like in Canada. It is NEVER no pollution.

    Shipping - again, the parts and batteries will be shipped on a boat using dirty bunker fuel (even in clean ports like LA they only use clean fuel when near the port, a small infinitesimal fraction of fuel usage).

    Operation - if you rarely use a car and it just sits there, then your negative pollution cost of operation for batteries is higher - but your pollution of roadways from diesel/gas would be higher still - if you use it a lot it depends on the power source - if hydro, wind, solar and especially if time-shifted so it charges when power demand is low it has lower impact. If you live in a place where electricity comes from coal it's dirtier.

    Recycling - if it is - and it will, these are expensive batteries - recycled, the cost of mining and production of the batteries is vastly reduced (anywhere from half to one-twentieth the pollution of getting it again). This is why we recycle scrap from cars and cans, it's cheaper than mining the minerals again.

    In general, all things being equal, with typical usage, you will ALWAYS create less pollution with a plug-in-hybrid than with a non-hybrid.


    Don't confuse battery warranty life with operational battery life, by the way.

    • Interesting. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BitterOldGUy ( 1330491 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:43PM (#24938161)
      What we all need to understand is regardless of the technology we use, we will always leave some sort of pollution and some sort environmental impact. The answers we should be looking for is how to minimize them; which is stated in the parent's post, and not to discard any technology because it's not perfect. Because if we sit around looking for the no-impact, no-footprint, no environmental harm solution, we'll just sit here burning our fossil fuels eventually doing more harm in the long run than we would ever have done by trying some other technologies.

      I'm for a portfolio of changes. Meaning, not one silver bullet (nuclear, wind, solar, geo, tidal, fat people on Stair Masters, etc...), but for the use of all - smartly of course. Just because a technology doesn't make sense now doesn't mean it won't in the future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It also depends on where you are and the relative costs and pollution impacts of the fuels you use.

        Just look at the different types of biofuels - if we grow switchgrass or algae in areas with sufficient water they can make sense, just as cane sugar biofuel can make sense if we don't burn the crop waste in the fields and use sustainable practices, but in an arid place with high fertilizer usage it makes no sense.

        In most cases, a plug-in-hybrid makes sense as at least ONE of the vehicles in a family, preferab

    • really...I wish I had the points

  • Battery life cycle (Score:5, Informative)

    by BobSixtyFour ( 967533 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:28PM (#24937935)

    Not only do these batteries last a long time, due to careful maintenance by the car's computer and optimization of charge/discharge patterns, they are fully recyclable and less poisonous when compared to lead batteries.

    Most people believe the lifecycle of a battery dies when the car is totaled. Not true. Batteries are being salvaged and sold on ebay to continue their services past the totaling of the car. There has also been progress of mixing n matching individual modules within battery packs, to further extend the usefulness of each part of the battery. Hybrid car batteries are made up of many modules. When the battery fails, its only one or two modules that fail, and can be replaced with other modules that have the same charge/discharge characteristics.

    These dead modules can then be sent to Toyota to be recycled, the nickel extracted and re-used in new batteries.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cunniff ( 264218 )

      In fact, current estimates [] are that 97% of lead used in lead-acid batteries is recycled. 60-80 percent of a new lead-acid battery that you buy is recycled from an older battery. Don't believe the Greenpeace BS - their data is 20 years old, before many laws were passed regulating lead-acid battery recycling.

      Disclaimer - I'm a heavy [] user [] of lead-acid batteries.

  • Fuel Cell is the only way to go... ... Honda Insight coming in spring and promised fuel-cell for it shortly after ON THE CHEAP.

    No batteries. Makes Hydrogen and Oxygen in tanks for itself from water and electricity plugin then just like a gas gauge can let it set or drive til the tanks are dry before plugging in again.

    Now a small nuclear reactor for each township and life becomes cheap again OTHERWISE its the ELECTRIC COMPANIES' TURN to overcharge us instead of the OIL COMPANIES.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by roc97007 ( 608802 )

      Be careful of that. It's important not to confuse point emission with total emissions. Hydrogen has to be made by some process and then transported some distance, and the total emission footprint depends on how this is accomplished.

      It takes electricity to create hydrogen, and (I just looked this up) just under 50% of our electricity comes from coal, and only about 7% from hydroelectric, so in most cases you're trading one type of pollution for another. It might be a good trade, because of economies of

  • At the last Maker Faire in San Mateo I asked one of the guys at the hybrid car conversion booth and got some really flippant snide remarks. Not very helpful at all belaying any of my concerns.

  • by glgraca ( 105308 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#24938105)

    If you are truly worried about your impact on the environment, use public transportation.

  • "I don't understand battery recycling, are Liberals killing the world with hybrid batteries?"


  • Buy a bicycle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GRW ( 63655 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @05:50PM (#24938229) Homepage Journal
    You can avoid the whole moral dilemma by buying yourself a good bicycle and/or using public transit. It works for me.
  • On a sidenote, is the OP saying that we shouldn't recycle batteries, or that batteries are wrong? I'm a little fuzzy here...

  • by Spoke ( 6112 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:03PM (#24938399)

    Others have already given a good idea of how NiMH batteries are recycled (and how they are relatively benign if not), here is how Tesla is planning on recycling Lithium batteries used in their electric cars when it comes time to replace them:

    Mythbusters Part 3: Recycling our Non-Toxic Battery Packs []

    While NiMH batteries are what's used in just about all hybrid vehicles on the road today, the industry is slowly moving towards as the advantages of Lithium based batteries (higher power to weight ratio, higher power density) outweighs their drawbacks (high cost), and higher energy density is required to make plug-in and pure electric vehicles usable.

  • by grandpa-geek ( 981017 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:05PM (#24938417)

    It might have been on Slashdot, but I heard that Pacific Gas and Electric is taking batteries that are no longer usable in hybrid cars and applying them as backups in office buildings. The batteries might have had physical damage or some other condition that prevents their use in cars but allows their use in fixed locations.

    Also, not all the batteries are NiMH. I think the Chevy Volt will have a Lithium Ion battery, the kind that has caused problems in laptops. I've heard they are working on reliability and safety issues with the batteries.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:40PM (#24938919)
    ...You have to burn down several thousand acres of the Amazon. It's science. Then after burning down the rain forest, the next step is to empty the battery chemicals into an humpback whale habitat (as the humpbacks are now totally addicted to NiMH that's what a few years of prius' does!) With those two totally benign and environmentally friendly steps complete next you place an entire litter of kittens back into the battery chambers and fill the annulus up with new acid.

    All in all the procedure has negative carbon footprint due to the removal of somewhere around 8 or 10 heavy carbon producing kittens from the environment. I would even suggest repeating this process every 10,000 miles in a daily driver.
  • good question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:08PM (#24939285) Journal

    I think it's positive that you're trying to see the whole picture instead of just the point emissions. How the materials will be recycled is a good start.

    You should probably also try to find out the total manufacturing footprint, including how the materials are produced and how far they travel. For instance, if materials are mined in Canada, manufactured in China, assembled in Japan and sold in America, that constitutes a larger total footprint over the life of the vehicle than vehicles manufactured from more local materials.

    If it's an electric car, how is electricity produced in your area? Hydro, coal, natural gas, renewable? What is the environmental impact of the electricity you're using? If hydro, what impact to river ecosystems? If coal, what of emissions? Don't forget to take transmission losses into account.

    If a hybrid, you should look at what kind of driving you do. Hybrids have a clear advantage in stop-and-go traffic, but lose advantage at high speed over significant time. If most of your driving is on unobstructed freeway, you might consider a small conventional car instead.

    What happens when the batteries are starting to go, but aren't yet at the point where you need to replace them? It seems like the engine would have to run longer, or start and stop more often, which probably affects gas mileage. So, over time, the in-town mileage of your hybrid will probably drop. How much I can't say, it depends on the design.

    Good luck. The results might make interesting reading.

  • Solution (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:19PM (#24939401) Journal

    The same tree-huggers telling me gasoline is bad are telling me that batteries are bad too.

    I've found a perfect solution: make the car use tree-huggers as fuel ;-)

  • by gsgriffin ( 1195771 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:57PM (#24939851)
    The original question had to do with the real benefit of these cars. We got off to the wrong start with the whole stupid idea of stealing them. Whatever!!! What about the polution it takes to generate the electricity (public power plants) to charge the cars. Assuming the person isn't using their own power generation, how much more electricity will we need to power a country of these cars and what will the pollution cost be. I remember hearing something once about the washing of diapers causing more environmental problems that disposable too.
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @11:24PM (#24942033)

    Interesting article on Ford is selling 65mpg cars in Europe, but not the US.

    "Americans see hybrids as the darling," says Global Insight auto analyst Philip Gott, "and diesel as old-tech."

    According to the article, the reason diesel fuel is more expensive in the US: "Taxes aimed at commercial trucks mean diesel costs anywhere from 40 cents to $1 more per gallon than gasoline." []...

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @11:31PM (#24942093)

    Even after revising the 1985-2007 mpg estimates to make them comparable to the new 2008 mpg estimates, the 1989 Honda CRX-HF is rated at 41 city and 50 highway mpg. []

    After 20 years of technological innovation, and four years of sky-rocketing fuel costs, shouldn't a new car model get at least 41/50 mpg before that car is considered to be ecologically friendly? Yet features the 2008 Nissan Rouge (22 city/27 highway mpg) as a "Top 2008 Fuel Economy Faves." The 2008 Nissan Rouge also has a sticker price of $19,250. []

    Seems to me that true economy cars been pulled from the market, and replaces with the new hybrids. Major car manufacturers want us to think that 30+ mpg is something miraculous, and requires an expensive, heavy, complicated, hard-to-maintain, hybrid.

    In my opinion there is more to ecological friendliness than just mpg (although the present line-up fails at even that). Hybrids have huge batteries, and disposing of those batteries is never ecologically friendly. Then there is the ecological impact of manufacturing and shipping these huge, heavy, vehicles. Furthermore, recent road tests carried out by Auto Express show that hybrids often have worse CO2 emissions than standard autos. []

    To have a real impact on fuel consumption, and emissions, new vehicles need to be affordable. Hybrids are about the most expensive vehicles on the market. How can hybrids have a positive effect of the environment, if practically nobody can afford the beasts? Even if you can afford the steep sticker price, what about the cost of maintenance? Hybrids have two engines, and use a complicated system to charge their huge batteries. I hate to even think about the cost of maintenance and repair.

    It used to be common that most fuel efficient cars also had the lowest sticker price, and lowest maintenance costs. The cars where simply smaller, lighter, and required more manual operations. With smaller, cheaper, parts, and a less complicated design, the cars were cheaper to maintain. When I bought my 1992 Ford Festiva, the 30/37 mpg rating was the least of my criteria, I was also concerned with sticker price, and maintenance costs.

    Why can't we do as well now, as we did 16 to 35 years ago?

    1973 Honda Civic rated 35/40 mpg
    1986 VW Golf Diesel rated 31/40 mpg *
    1989 Geo Metro rated 43/51 mpg
    1989 Honda CRX-HF rated 41/50 mpg
    1992 Ford Festiva rated 30/37 mpg

    * I got over 50mpg driving from Florida to New Jersey, while running the air conditioner.


    57 mpg? That's so 20 years ago
    Want to drive a cheap car that gets eye-popping mileage? In 1987 you could - and it wasn't even a hybrid. []

    Efficiency? Think Racing Cars, Not Hybridso
    A renowned racing car designer has said that car manufacturers should be looking at making cars lighter to improve efficiency, rather than adding complex drive trains. []

    Hot Cars Best Gas Milage
    Welcome to We are automotive enthusiasts and travel aficionados who also love the environment. We appreciate both form and function, all while striving to leave future generations a legacy of clean air, scenic grandeur and a continuum of natural resources. In addition: the freedom to drive. []

  • by figa ( 25712 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:10AM (#24946069) Journal

    I was thinking of buying a gas or diesel powered automobile, but I heard that they have batteries that contain lead and sulfuric acid. They have to be replaced frequently over the lifetime of a car, and if the batteries are improperly cared for, they can explode. This sounds like an environmental disaster to me. Can anyone explain the entire lifecycle of car batteries before I make the leap and purchase a car?

    What's with all the anti-hybrid sentiment on Slashdot lately? I followed the comments to this article [] last Thursday, and there are a surprising number of people who go out of their way to make up reasons not to get better gas mileage. Hybrids are some of the geekiest and most technologically advanced cars on the road.

    I'm all for questioning the environmental impact of manufacturing, but this topic really reads like a troll. Next week, are we going to see "I heard that Priuses kill blind people..."?

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.