SUV/year = open refrigerator/6 years?

So Doonesbury the other week threw out the factoid that driving an SUV for a year uses as much energy as leaving a refrigerator open for 6 years.

Another friend of mine, when I questioned it, said, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that.”

Ignoring that nobody tells you if that’s driving an SUV constantly, or 12,000 miles, or which SUV and fridge we’re talking about, does anybody know the source for that “stat”?

But so far as the numbers are concerned. . .

An SUV getting 13 mpg and 15,000 miles per year uses a little over three gallons a gas per day.

A refrigerator pulling 600 watts continuously will in six days will use 86 kwh.

So which is larger: 3 gallons of gas or 86 kwh?

I sure as heck don’t know.

It’s from the Sierra Club’s report on *SPVs and global warming:

http://www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming/SUVreport/

*suburban poseur vehicle

In money terms, 3 gallons of gas will cost ~$4.50. 86kWh of juice will cost anywhere from ~$5.00 on up. I’ll be generous and call it a wash.

An open fridge will be a complete waste of energy, but an SUV will carry me & my family & other stuff a distance of more than half of the circumference of the world, or 2 1/2 round trips from NYC to LA.

Well, that’s kind of missing the point though. They’re implicitly saying nobody would do something so pointless as leave a refrigerator door open for six years, so why would you use that method to get your family 12,000 miles when a sedan will do the job?

Thanks for the responses and the link.

OK: 1 kwh = 3414 BTU

1 gallon of gasoline yields roughly 125,000 BTU
3*125,000 = 375,000 BTU

86 kwh*3414 = 294,000 BTU

Looks like the Sierra Club is right

The best part of that stat is the unstated point that, if you had a compact car, that would only be like leaving your refrigerator open for two years. Which is so much better, right?

No, if you go to the link Nametag gave, they’re claiming the difference between an SUV and a compact yields 6 years of open refrgierator energy.

bup is right, the point is that people recoil in horror if a refrigerator is left open for a couple minutes. Yet driving an SUV is like leaving six refrigerators open in your house - constantly. That’s 525,600 minutes of six open refrigerators!

To put it in context, I drive a car that always gets > twice the mileage of the SUV. So for me, it would be a choice of my car, or adding to it the cost of three open refrigerators, and driving an SUV.

Three open refrigerators! Shoot, I’ve considered replacing my 1 refrigerator with a smaller, more economical model.

Well, now I’m concerned with Smackfu’s observation, because I only have a two-seater car. An SUV can drag around what, six people? Does this mean I have to compensate by multiplying by three?

(1 compact convertible x 3) = 6 refrigerators = 1 SUV full of screaming kids

So driving my Fluffy Cottonball of Death around with my girlfriend in it for a year is the exact same thing as honking about in a Range Rover full of gun-toting terrorists?

I’m so ashamed.

[nitpick]
You have to burn a lot more than 294 kBTU of fuel (coal, natural gas, fuel oil, etc.) to generate the electricity to power the open refrigerator- 2-3 times that much

Therefore, whereever it says 6 open refrigerators, insert 2 (6/3) or 3 (6/2) refrigerators.
[/nitpick]

I’m not a card-carrying SUV hater – just wanted to say that up front.

At least 4 out of 5 SUVs I see, maybe as many as 9 out of 10, have exactly 1 occupant: the driver. These cars are fashionable status symbols. Before anything else.

When there weren’t SUVs there were things called station wagons – stretched sedan cars that didn’t have 2 or 3 times as bad mileage as their shorter cousins. I travelled 1000s and 1000s of miles in station wagons, and found them no less convenient than SUVs.

If an SUV owner really wanted to protect his precious children (as opposed to impressing his neighbors), he/she’d buy an ugly, unclassy Volvo. Or even a stuffy, untrendy Mercedes. But that doesn’t let everyone the freeway know you’re a modern techno-American cowboy, does it?

I have an SUV. Nine times out of 10 you will see me in it alone. But if you look more closely you will see that there is a kayak carrier on top. The Cherokee has a long enough roof to provide support to a 12-1/2 foot kayak. You may also notice that I have a trailer hitch. Yup, it gets used. I’ve towed 5,000 pounds with my SUV, and I’d like to see someone try that with an Insight or a Civic. One thing you won’t notice is that my SUV does get taken offroad where 4WD is necessary. You won’t notice it because I wash the mud off within a couple of days of offroading.

And I get better than 13mpg. 20mpg is more like it, but I’ve averaged 22-23mph in L.A. traffic.

I was noticing that there are a number of cars that are longer than my Cherokee, BTW. There are even compact Japanese imports that are longer than my ride.

The problem with fighting ignorance is that people with an axe to grind often gloss over the fact that not every object of their derision fits neatly into their mould.

Asked and answered.