I have often heard that because of the manufacturing process and the batteries involved the Toyota Prius (a hybrid electric car) actually uses more energy over it’s lifetime than a Hummer. I am ashamed to say that I swallowed that one a little too easily and I have even passed on the little anecdote a few times.
Here is an article rounding up most of the available information and showing pretty conclusively that the Toyota Prius is better for the environment than a Hummer. Basically, the original study was based on “faulty methods of analysis, untenable assumptions, selective use and presentation of data, and a complete lack of peer review.”
Prius is the clear winner and I really hope that the Hummer urban legend dies a quick death.