Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Twisting Statistics

Automobiles in Windsor, Ont., guzzle the most gas in Canada

Really? Here's the chart.

Windsorites, those dastardly anti-enviromentalists drive vehicles that consume, on average, 0.43 liters of fuel per 100 kms over the average Canadian. At worst they consume 1.3 liters of fuel more per 100 kms than Quebec City residents.


The National Post is all over this story:

The results suggest that, in addition to spewing additional greenhouse gases into the air, the average Windsor driver pays $2,500 more annually to operate his or her vehicle than a Quebec resident, according to Mr. DesRosiers.

"These less fuel-efficient vehicles cost more to buy, they're costlier to insure, they're costlier to maintain and they depreciate faster, all because they've chosen to buy a large, less fuel-efficient product," he said.

How do you know that? I don't see any numbers indicating how MUCH these vehicles are being driven. If a Windsorite only drives 100 kms a week, they're only burning 10.2 liters of fuel. If I'm a Quebecer driving 200 kms a week, I'm burning 17.8 liters of fuel. Which one is friendlier to the environment? It really depends doesn't it? (Oh and if like me, you drive a vehicle into the ground before purchasing the next one, depreciation value means nothing. Because the car is worthless regardless.)

So after blaming the drivers, the individual vehicle owners, out comes this beauty:

Mr. DesRosiers noted his study excluded commercial vehicles, such as full-size pickup trucks and vans, arguing it would prejudice the results against communities with a heavy reliance on natural resources.

If this is all about being friendly to the environment, that's not an excuse now, is it? (And what the fuck does "communities with a heavy reliance on natural resources" mean anyway? If you need to drive, you have a "heavy reliance on natural resources" i.e. oil. It doesn't matter if you are a farmer, a contractor or a salesmen. If you need to drive for your job, you have a "heavy reliance on natural resources")

The NP screwed the pooch on this one, but the real beauty in contradictions is the take by The Vancouver Sun.

They at least TRY to acknowledge that distance driven plays a factor, but they try to brush it off as inconsequential:

"Some of this might be offset by the amount of time you spend in your car and the distance you drive."

You THINK?!?!? Jesus H Christ! When the difference between the best and the worst car is a measly 1.3 liters/100km, distance driven is going to play a HUGE factor. Something that is acknowledged a little further on.

If Windsor drivers drove as much as commuters in other cities -- something DesRosiers doubts due to the city's compact geography -- Windsorites would be spending about $400 more per year in gasoline than the Canadian average. The average Canadian driver logs between 22,000 and 25,000 kilometres per year. Windsorites probably drive less than that, he said.

Right there he invalidates his own conclusions and results.

This is not news people, before we condemn an entire city's population for being greedy and evil oil sucking monsters, we'd better get our facts in order huh?

What twigged me to the inaccuracy of this poll was the results of my home region, Kitchener-Waterloo. We averaged better than citizens of Toronto.

Uhhh. Bull-crap. I know quite a few people in both cities. Myself, I drive 150 kms a day. I know a lot of other tri-city residents that do close to the same. Everyone I know does a lot of driving. A lot of the people I know in Toronto, if they even own a car, only drive it on weekends to get out of the city. Being in Toronto, they take transit or bike or walk to work.

See? I'm condemning myself. I know my habits are not environmentally friendly. (I have my reasons). I'm not doing this because I'm from Windsor (or even know anyone there), I just hate mis-information and bad logic.

I do not have figures available, but I would bet you $100, that the average tri-city resident drives a heck of a lot more kms than the average Torontonian. So our showing in this table does not reflect the tons of CO2 we are emitting by our driving.

This isn't news, its not even factual, and it shouldn't have been reported.

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