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Best way to save gas may be to avoid hybrids

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star tribune new york times story april 20

NYACK, N.Y. - If you make your way over to the Javits Convention Center for the New York International Automobile Show -- or if you've gone to any auto show in the last year or so -- you'll know that hybrid cars are the hippest automotive fashion statement to come along in years. They've become synonymous with the worthy goal of reducing gasoline consumption and dependence on foreign oil and all that this means for a better environment and more stable geopolitics. And yet like fat-free desserts, which sound healthy but can still make you fat, the hybrid car can make people feel as if they're doing something good, even when they're doing nothing special at all. As consumers and governments at every level climb onto the hybrid bandwagon, there is the very real danger of elevating the technology at the expense of the intended outcome -- saving gas.

april 16

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But just because a car has so-called hybrid technology doesn't mean it's doing more to help the environment or to reduce the country's dependence on imported oil than a nonhybrid car. The truth is, it depends on the hybrid and the nonhybrid cars you are comparing, as well as on how you use the vehicles. There are good hybrids and bad ones. Fuel-efficient conventional cars are often better than hybrid SUVs -- just look at how many miles per gallon the vehicle gets.

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Pro-hybrid laws and incentives sound nice, but they might just end up subsidizing companies that have failed to develop truly fuel-efficient vehicles at the expense of those that have had the foresight to design their cars right in the first place. And they may actually punish citizens who save fuel the old-fashioned way -- by using less of it, with smaller, lighter and more efficient cars. All the while, they'll make a mockery of a potentially useful technology.

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agreed on the hybrid SUV thing - people should still only buy an SUV if they actually *need* an SUV. Still, some of the car-based hybrid SUVs get as good or better milage than a number of sedans...

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I'd love a hybrid avalanche that can run E85.

That said, I do actually need a full size truck. I only use my current Avalanche for actual construction hauling.

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Once again, a hybrid is not just about saving gas. Comparing cars and trucks, hybrids or not, is hilarious!

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One thing I agree with are some of these special privilages extended to hybrid cars. Use of HOV lanes? No way. Read the signs - High OCCUPANCY Vehicle. It defeats the purpose.

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The hybrids would be better off in traffic running on their electric motors. It would save more gas than running at normal highway speeds with only one person in the car.

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The hybrids would be better off in traffic running on their electric motors.  It would save more gas than running at normal highway speeds with only one person in the car.

I don't think they can, because the batteries would drain after a while. Now, a hybrid with DoD/AFM, that would be something to see.

I'm printing this article out and giving it to my dad. He is actually considering leasing a hybrid to ease his gas costs (he drives 130mi a day).

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I don't think they can, because the batteries would drain after a while. Now, a hybrid with DoD/AFM, that would be something to see.

I'm printing this article out and giving it to my dad. He is actually considering leasing a hybrid to ease his gas costs (he drives 130mi a day).

Tell him to do a break even analysis before he buys. Don't forget to remind him of "what if the battery pack goes out?". A mild hybrid could be ok, but gas prices aren't high enough to make the full hybrids make finanancial sense, as you know.

Edited by PurdueGuy

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At this point, people could care less about the overall cost advantage of a hybrid. All they have to do is drive by a gas station and see it is over $3.00 a gallon and that "justifies" it for them. Batteries are covered under warranty, I think 100,000 miles?

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At this point, people could care less about the overall cost advantage of a hybrid.  All they have to do is drive by a gas station and see it is over $3.00 a gallon and that "justifies" it for them.  Batteries are covered under warranty, I think 100,000 miles?

Yup, Toyota covers them for 100K miles. Too bad the break even point is more like 200K miles, so that gives you 100K miles unprotected by warranty for something to go wrong and make sure you never pay off that extra cost...

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At this point, people could care less about the overall cost advantage of a hybrid.  All they have to do is drive by a gas station and see it is over $3.00 a gallon and that "justifies" it for them.  Batteries are covered under warranty, I think 100,000 miles?

Then they are dumb...to put it bluntly.

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