JamesB

Is a Hybrid Worth It?

7 posts in this topic

clicky

This isn't a bad article on the subject. It looks at the BIG picture (inproved fuel economy vs cost of buying a hybrid). If mathematics causes your brain to lock-up, you'd be best to skip the article.

The quick and dirty summary: Gas-electric hybrids are the most fuel-efficient passenger cars on the road and ecologically there isn't a more viable option. Until something big changes, though, the industry-high efficiency can't economically offset the steep sticker price.
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Much of his analysis is flawed.

Let's investigate by continuing our example of looking to replace a paid-off 1999 Honda Accord with something more economical. We've already looked at the possibility of buying a 2006 Toyota Prius and found that it could save $70.7 per month in gas but would add $387 a month for the car payment. Now, let's throw in the value-driven 2006 Corolla with a combined mileage of 36 mpg22 and a sticker price of $14,005


Point 1: If you're looking to replace a paid off car anyway. You don't compair the price of the new car to the price of the paid off car. The paid off car will always win! Even if it's an '81 Delta 88 Diesel.

Point 2: You always compair the hybrid to the non-hybrid version of the same model. In the event that there isn't a non-hybrid version. One must compair to a car in the same EPA size class Which in the case of the Prius is the Camry, not the Corolla.

Point 3: You always compair cars with similar equipment. I've seen compairson where the Civic hybrid is compaired to the base Civic, while completey ignoring the fact that the Hybrid civic is fairly well equiped.

Point 4: You always calculate cost advantage over milage, not time. How many miles will it take you to break even. If that number is 20,000. It'll take me one year while it will take my grandmother 3 years to hit the same number.
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The hybrid comparison is a "joke" if you're going for cost savings alone. But that's not the reason to buy one. There's the whole dependence on foreign oil problem that a hybrid helps to lessen. There's the environmental problem since a hybrid pollutes less than a standard ICE vehicle. Oh, and there's the ability (in some areas) for a hybrid to use HOV lanes...saving TIME! Saving money isn't the only reason.

Much of his analysis is flawed.
Point 1: If you're looking to replace a paid off car anyway. You don't compair the price of the new car to the price of the paid off car. The paid off car will always win! Even if it's an '81 Delta 88 Diesel.

Absolutely. Not that I would have chosen that particular vehicle, but agreed.

Point 2: You always compair the hybrid to the non-hybrid version of the same model. In the event that there isn't a non-hybrid version. One must compair to a car in the same EPA size class Which in the case of the Prius is the Camry, not the Corolla.

Spot on. It's surprising how few people realize that a Prius is a mid-sized car.

Point 3: You always compair cars with similar equipment. I've seen compairson where the Civic hybrid is compaired to the base Civic, while completey ignoring the fact that the Hybrid civic is fairly well equiped.

Yes, yes, yes....and why aren't the many tax breaks calculated in? In many cases, this brings a hybrid in line with the equivalent non-hybrid model.

Point 4: You always calculate cost advantage over milage, not time. How many miles will it take you to break even. If that number is 20,000. It'll take me one year while it will take my grandmother 3 years to hit the same number.

Even at 20,000 miles a year, a Prius or Civic Hybrid won't pay for itself, unless those tax breaks are calculated into the equation.
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Actually a Civic hybrid is only about $1,600 more then a loaded Civic <previous generation's numbers>. With the tax breaks figured in, you hit break even somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 miles depending on fuel cost.
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Side topic: Hey James -- haven't seen you post around here in a while. Hope things are going well for you. You still in Aus? How's the weather this time of year? Up here in Minn, the weather just turned towards the cold side (about 24 deg F today -- which will look warm in about 6 weeks). This is the part where we hibernate until late March while dreaming of warm places (like Aus).
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Side topic: Hey James -- haven't seen you post around here in a while.  Hope things are going well for you.  You still in Aus?  How's the weather this time of year?  Up here in Minn, the weather just turned towards the cold side (about 24 deg F today -- which will look warm in about 6 weeks).  This is the part where we hibernate until late March while dreaming of warm places (like Aus).

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I'm still here, but I'm not finding much time to post on C&G.

Yes, I'm still in Australia, but I don't know for how long. My girlfriend is trying very hard to convince me to move to Canada. We've considered the option of her moving to Australia, but her kids don't want to leave Canada.

The cold is one thing I'm not looking forward to. It's almost summer here and today the prediction is for a low of 68 and a high of 80 (currently at 2 in the afternoon it's 75°F/24°C ... feels just about perfect). Where my girlfriend lives in northern Manitoba, it's currently -2°F/-19°C. Not my idea of weather that's suitable for humans (the next town north is the hub of the polar bear watching tourist industry). When she came out to Australia with her kids in July/August, her kids were so worried about losing part of their Summer vacation to travel to a place where it was Winter. When they arrived, they discovered that there was very little difference between the northern Manitoba Summer that they had left and the Australian Winter. Of course, I don't want to move to northern Manitoba, but unless she lands another job elsewhere, that's where I'll end up.
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