Big luxury hybrids: Barely better for the planet than standard gas-guzzlers

Luxury hybrid's not so green
Luxury hybrid's not so green

Not all hybrid cars are created equal. And not every car with a hybrid badge gets a green pass, either. In fact some of the big luxury hybrids have environmental profiles far worse than an average sedan, but they're marketed and thought of as paragons for the planet.

Given what I do for a living, I appreciate the value of hybrid cars. I remember standing enthralled at auto shows in late 1999 as Toyota Priuses first hit our shores. There were bigger and shinier cars on the floor, but that early Prius looked like something new, and so it proved. It's the bestselling car in Japan, and dominates the 3% of the U.S. market devoted to hybrids. But the Prius has a genuine claim to make: It gets 50 miles per gallon and has really low emissions.