Maybe you're already overloaded with end-of-year lists. But indulge us; this is the weirdest collection of most-popular articles we could ever have imagined.
We've got urine. We've got Muslims and ethanol. We've got hybrid Ferraris. We've even got our ever-popular rant on why Miles-Per-Gallon is a really, really stupid way to measure fuel efficiency.
With no more ado, we present to you our list of the 10 most popular articles during the year 2009 on GreenCarReports.com. And a Happy New Year to you!
2011 Chevrolet Volt - testing on Pike's Peak, October 2009
# 10: 2011 Chevy Volt Investment: How Does This Differ From the EV1? We're surprised our thought piece on the long-term industrial impact of electric-drive vehicles became December's most popular article. Bottom Line: GM has invested more than $700 million to produce the 2011 Chevrolet Volt; it led us to compare the Volt's impact to that of the EV1. But EV advocate Chelsea Sexton remains "wary, and in some respects deeply cynical."
# 9: Ferrari To Go Hybrid, World Trembles On Its Axis. Occasionally one of our entries catches fire on Digg, and that's what happened here. It's the ninth most popular piece we've run this year. Bottom Line: Italian sports-car makers are looking at using hybrids to improve their efficiency, including Ferrari, which plans to launch a hybrid system in at least one model by 2015.
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
# 8: Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Much More Mileage Than EPA Admits? We love our hordes of Volkswagen diesel fans out there on the Interwebs. Bottom Line: The US Environmental Protection Agency's emissions and gas-mileage testing procedures seem to put VW's diesels at a disadvantage, with real-world economy often far higher than the EPA ratings.
# 7: Miles Per Gallon Is Just Stupid. No, Really, It Is. Serves us right for the inflammatory headline, we suppose, but while this was a breakout hit for March, we were staggered by the vitriol and physical threats in the comments, both on the post itself and on Digg. Bottom Line: Miles Per Gallon is not a linear measure (like gallons/mile would be), and lots of Americans don't understand that going from 10 to 20 mpg saves waaaaaaay more gas than going from 40 to 50 mpg. Read it, you'll see.
2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
# 6: The New 2010 Rabbit TDI Diesel...Or, Is It a Golf Again? This one was an early scoop of sorts for us, and it seems to have become a perennial favorite. We luv our VW diesel fanboys (see # 8 above). Bottom Line: Despite the firm denial from Volkswagen representative Steve Keyes that we added to the piece at the time, we were right: The 2010 Volkswagen Golf won't be a Rabbit after all. Ha!
Click onto page 2 below for our Top Five ...
# 5: Cash for Clunkers: The Data On Why It's Working. Controversial when we wrote it, the content of this article got swamped in the partisan debate over whether Cash for Clunkers was a good thing or an abomination. Bottom Line: Older, lower-mileage vehicles got traded in for new, higher-mileage ones. Sales went up. In other words, the program did what it was supposed to.
# 4: Can Urine Rescue Hydrogen-Powered Cars? This was the first time we've ever put the word "urine" in a headline. It was our take on an obscure research paper, and it too climbed Digg. Memo to Staff: Write more about bodily functions! Bottom Line: It takes a lot less energy to split hydrogen out from urea than it does from water and natural gas, meaning the wells-to-wheels energy balance of hydrogen as a fuel could improve substantially.
# 3: Islamic Scholar Suggests Using Ethanol-Powered Vehicles May Be A Sin. This was a genuine breakout hit that we didn't expect. It got hundreds of Diggs in two days, and a gazillion comments. Bottom Line: Sheikh Mohamed al-Najimi suggested that driving or even riding in a vehicle fueled by ethanol could be considered a sin for observant Muslims. Though for some countervailing views, see our followup post.
2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
# 2: Will the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI Be Diesel's Biggest Winner? This perennial favorite showed up in our Top Five more than any other post. Bottom Line: The reviews are good, and the base price is just $21,990. We think VW's 2010 Golf TDI will sell well. But carmakers like Audi and BMW without previous U.S. diesel offerings may have a tougher time.
And the single most popular post of 2009 is ... drumroll, please ... this one. Yep, we're scratching our heads too:
Hybrid parking spot, by Flickr user rscottjones
# 1: Prius Perks in Peril From Plug-In Privileges? We didn't see this one coming, but this become our most popular article ever on GreenCarReports.com. Zillions of Digg users took it to # 1 as a way to rail against the (perceived) idiocy of so-called Prius perks, hybrids, and all the people who drive them. Bottom Line: Some of the special benefits bestowed by government on the most fuel-efficient hybrids may soon be transferred to fully electric cars.
And for extra credit, if you want to see how popularity trends wax and wane over the months, here are all the previous Most Popular lists for GreenCarReports.com:
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