Turning a Prius into a Hummer? Not So.

Contributed to The Toronto Star
Janet Annesley
Vice President of Communications
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
November 25, 2009

Re: Oil Sands Threaten our Survival, Gore Warns the Toronto Star
Section A1, News, Nov 23 2009
Byline: Oakland Ross

Climate change is an important issue for Canadians. As such, it deserves a constructive dialogue, one based on scientific facts.

One such fact is that the world needs energy. Mr. Gore's reference to the dramatic energy shift is out of step with recent reports from international energy bodies that show global demand for energy of all kinds is increasing, not decreasing. We need to expand renewable sources of energy. And if energy demand doubles by 2050 (as forecasted by the International Energy Agency), we'll also need oil and gas - Canadian oil and gas.

Another fact—according to the most recent external analysis on crude oil life-cycle emissions, Mr. Gore's math simply doesn't add up.

Looking at the life-cycle GHG emissions from gasoline ”from when the oil comes out of the ground and is used in cars”crude derived from oil sands is in the same range as other crude oils imported into North America (and lower than some U.S. domestic sources).

Fuel Consumption Ratings

Prius vs. Hummer



CO2 kg
per year
Hummer H3 4WD
Toyota Prius

Fuel Consumption Ratings
Natural Resources Canada

In fact, even a one or two mile per gallon increase in Mr. Gore's cars' (or his plane's) fuel efficiency makes up for the difference between oil sands and light oil sent from Saudi Arabia.

What's a one or two mile increase in vehicle mileage in CO2 terms? It's like turning a Nissan Sentra (26 MPG) into a Nissan Altima (23 MPG), not "turning a Prius into a Hummer" as Gore attests. What's more, oil sands producers are focused on continuing to close that CO2 gap, having already reduced oil sands emissions 39 per cent per barrel from 1990 to 2008. We'll achieve even more CO2 reductions through technology- all while keeping Canada's energy flowing and the economy moving.

Janet Annesley
Vice President
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers