The chicago “study” you quoted is just plain wrong.
First of all, carbon, and carbon dioxide are not now or ever been pollutants. Carbon is an essential element in the building blocks of life, unless you hail from some other planet than the rest of us ‘carbon-based lifeforms’.
If you really cared about the environment as you claim, then killing plants for food is, bay far, the worse thing you can do to the Earth. The Earth requires all the extra plantlife it can muster to counteract the carbon dioxide you claim is destroying it, by that theory killing more animals would be the BEST thing for the planet as they would expel less CO2 - would they not?
As for the Prius, not only are they no better than a standard car, they’re actually far, FAR worse. Just the mining of the nickel and other minerals needed for the batteries alone, not to mention the chemicals needed to produce and use in these batteries are caustic and deadly!
Do you actually know the process to make just one Prius? the 1.4 tons figure that was quoted went out the window just on the 4 steel-belted all weather radials these things are driving on, and let’s not forget the spare.
What about the oil and grease used to lubricate the engine, transmission, bearings, tie-rod ends, etc.? What about all the petroleum that went into the manufacturing of all the high-impact plastic for things like the dashboard, door handles, and all the pretty knobs like the knob to really crank up the AC? Speaking of AC, in a Prius, I can’t believe people as “enviromentally conscious” would need one of the worst things for the planet like air conditioning, have they forgotten about chloro-flourocarbons or whatever they called them.
Clearly, it really is up to the person to drive whatever they choose, and if that’s a Prius I’m all for driving a clean, efficient car as riding a bicycle, for most people, is NOT a reality due to weather or the distance they need to travel - but to make the statement that a Prius is better than a standard car is just factually wrong.