CR: Hybrids make more sense than ever

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by ChapmanF, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    That's probably true.

    What's also true is that their April 06 article which tried to debunk hybrid hype, assumed gas prices would average $2/gal for 3 years (even though gas was about $2.40/gal at publication), then starting in 2009 it would rise to $3/gal and in 2010 it would average $4/gal.

    Halfway into their 5-year estimation, I think they've realized their strongly optimistic (for the gas-loving world) prediction. And their predicted stronger-than-average depreciation rates for hybrids haven't shown up either....imagine that! :eek:
     
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  3. Susan4ET

    Susan4ET Member

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    Look, I found this very old thread as Prius Chat suggested topics it thought were similar to my recent post on whether to try to sell my old used Gen06 GPS DVD--go figure. I would think Prius Chat wouldn't suggest any threads this old. In any case here I go opening up my end of the topic today...

    Aside from the fun of the technology I don't think the Prius Hybrid makes much sense--this after driving them for the last 4 years. From an economy gas point of view only here is why:

    Take driving 10,000 miles a year with my Prius that stays >40 mpg for lets say 8,000 miles and maybe >45 mpg for 2,000 vs a conventional high mileage car that gets >30 mpg for 8,000 miles and maybe >35 mpg for 2,000 miles. Do the math... regardless of the price per gallon whatever you use being the same for each car during the same period of time you buy gas...the Prius would save you around $238 (the lower mileage car would cost around $238 more). Let's say a Prius costs $5K more then the lower mileage conventional car--I think that is very conservative too. Divide your $238 a year savings into the $5,000 more you paid and it will take you around 21 years to break even. That to me, from a mileage only point of view only, isn't a practical reason to driving a hybrid.

    I know...the EPA and others get way higher mpg but after 4 years of driving them getting that high a mileage is hard to do except on very infrequent long highway driving. I think I've seen >50 mpg only 3 times for only a tank of gas in 4 years. Around town it is a pain in the butt for me as the driver and traffic around me if I'm pulse & gliding all the time--I don't.

    Agree... Maybe the bottom line is the Prius isn't right for me from a mpg point of view. I'm actually looking forward to a version car one day that is pure electric drive at up to 70 mph speeds with an APU (auxillary power unit) that keeps the batteries periodically charged up so you can keep on driving >600 miles a day if you so desired. Have you seen any of these? Will they cost less then a Prius? ROTFLMAO
     
  4. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    You may have a point for your scenario, in today's market. I am doing 20k per year expect to go 10-yrs so 200k miles, should save $5000. If you say today's market you could get a Cruze probably gets 10 MPG less than Prius on average. In 2006 market, when I bought, Cruze and equivalents were not there, so I think I did better than your calcs (not to mention $3150 tax rebate) but now competition is catching up for sure.
     
  5. dafinn

    dafinn Member

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    Have you not heard about the Chevy Volt. It's "pure" electric (or so GM likes to think) and the gas engine takes over when the batteries are depleted. Maybe this is what you should be driving.
     
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    My Prius gets 46 MPG year round(48 in spring and fall, 43 in summer, and 41 in winter) I drive 30,000 miles a year. the last vehicle I owned that could hold all my work supplies was a Subaru Forester that got 24 MPG with all my stuff crammed in. (That is why my Prius numbers are so low, I have it loaded)

    30,000 / 46 = 652 gallons @ $3.50 = $2283 in my Prius
    30,000 / 24 = 1250 [email protected]$3.50 = $4375 in my Forester
    $2092 per year * 5 years = $10,460 Way more than the 'premium' for owning a Prius.

    Two keys to my numbers, I use the cargo space in the Prius to replace a small SUV, (see the picture under my name) and my job involves driving a lot.

    Forester 28.9/64.5 cubic feet
    Prius 21.7/39.6 cubic feet
    (most of the difference is above the glass line, which I do not use in either vehicle, for safety)
     
  7. Susan4ET

    Susan4ET Member

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    I've heard of the Volt of course but haven't looked at it close up. I believe I read it will cost more then the Prius even. And it didn't sound for certain that you could drive it all day long, i.e., the gas engine generation may not be able to keep up with the battery drain so you could drive it all day long. Also, I'm not looking today...just thinking of what I need and long range driving on occasion is very important.
     
  8. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    There is no other car quite like the Prius. Corolla, nope. IMO, would be unfair to compare a trunked Corolla to a Prius. Hatchback equivalents always cost more, so compare Matrix with automatic transmission. That cost diff. is only about $3k. But, Prius is a much better car than a Matrix.
    IMO, unfair to compare Prius with Civic, Elantra, Cruze, etc, etc... good luck putting big box in one of those!

    There are too many variables to accurately predict the fuel savings in a hybrid over a conventional -
    will the conventional be used mostly on the freeway? (best case for it)

    However, if I compare a -
    Camry vs. Camry hybrid ~ $3k cost diff.
    Prius v vs. Mazda 5 w/auto trans ~ $5k diff
    Prius vs. Corolla Matrix w/ auto trans ~ 3k diff

    .. and *assume* each car does exactly its average fuel economy AND gas stays at $4 / gallon the whole time ...

    one could make up the cost difference in all 3 cases in about 66k to 75k miles of driving. I just figure the cents/mile to drive on gas and cost diffs.

    But, hybrids have some nice convenience features not found on these conventionals - Smart key, push button start ... and brake wear is much less.

    and Prius is plain and simply a nicer car than a Matrix. and I'm sure the new Prius v will blow a Mazda 5 back over the Pacific.

    also, relief from a constantly shifting auto transmission in city (I think eCVT is more elegant).

    However if one does not drive much, like their hybrid is 12 years old with only 90k miles on it, there might be traction battery costs and issues to deal with, I think :)
     
  9. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Corolla Matrix looks like good comparison to regular Prius.
    1.8L Matrix has 132 HP vs. Prius 134 HP, check. Fairly similar weight and exterior dimensions. Both are hatchbacks.

    Let's say Matrix somehow gets its very best economy per EPA , 32 MPG and gas stays $3.50 / gal for x years.... Matrix costs 10.9 cents / mile on gas

    Only fair to use Prius' best economy of 51 MPG, so 6.9 cents / mile gas.

    ... Prius saves 4 cents / mile year in and out, on gas, hypothetically.

    This Matrix is $20,445 sticker per toyota.com in CA

    Prius Two is $24,280 , toyota.com

    Make up $3,835 diff @ 4 cts / mi in about 95,900 miles

    ---------------------------

    Many variables though - cost of gas, how much you drive, your typical FE, etc...

    for someone like Jimbo, Prius makes great economic sense.
     
  10. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    And amusingly, I did not buy it to save money.

    I whack my head on many cars trying to get in the doors, not the Matrix, I whacked my shoulder, even if you cut off my head I don't fit in. I fit through the doors of the Prius. (and the Forester)
     
  11. chucko

    chucko Junior Member

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    It you are looking at the complete cost of ownership picture, you also need to compare trade in values at the end of the ownership period. I just compared (on kbb.com) a 4 year old Matrix and a 4 year old Prius, both with 90,000 miles and similar equipment and the Prius had a trade in value of approximately $1,800 more than the Matrix. Applying that to the numbers that you provided show that true cost difference is the $3835 subtracting the $1800 leaving about $2000 as the number that is needed to be made up by fuel savings of the Prius. Instead of 95,900 miles, you only need to drive the Prius for about 50000 miles to make up that amount. Beyond that it's all gravy. By the time you make it to 100,000 miles you've saved $2000 over the Matrix, assuming gasoline @ $3.50/gal. We all know that is probably not realistic. Higher gasoline prices simply means that you save more with the Prius and reach the hypothetical payback sooner. For example, if one assumes gasoline @ $4.00/gal instead of $3.50, with all other number the same, the Prius saves 4.66 cents/mile and 42,918 miles required to make up the $2000 difference.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  12. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I wonder if hybrids make sense for those who just don't drive very much, say, 8k miles / year.

    It seems the NimH batteries can go a lot of miles (many over 200k), but I wonder what life expectancy range is.
     
  13. Acre

    Acre New Member

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    Absolutely not.
    The "greenest" guy I know drives a '73 International Scout which he has yet to wear out (does all the work himself when it needs work).
    On another topic it's ironic but I'll bet the best way to increase the mileage of the Prius c would be to get rid of the hybrid synergy drive and the associated battery weight. You could probably drop all the way down to an 85 horsepower engine if you did that without much perceptible loss in performance. In the 90's - with the Geo's and early Honda's - we achieved 50 mpg with simple, cheap cars. New safety standards have made those designs impossible to market in the US today. I'll bet low-tech solutions to things like light-weigh roll cages around the cab which afford the same protection as heavier materials and continued refinement of the CVT would yield more cost effective and more environmentally friendly solutions to high mileage than the current approach; it just wouldn't be as "sexy." A shame, really, because again from an environmental standpoint you're not helping things if working people can't afford the product.
     
  14. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Such a car exists, called the Smart car.

    eco-friendly. high mpg smart cars. smart USA

    I prefer a Prius.
     
  15. Acre

    Acre New Member

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    The US version of the Smart car gets awful milege for it's size - not much better that the substantially larger Toyota Yaris and much worse than those 90's cars. I've heard the EU verions do better.
     
  16. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    This is a very old thread, and CR disliked hybrids before they liked them:confused: This was more a retraction, but they still don't get it.

    First I'll join you in the rant. New safety standards and emissions standards have make new cars much more expensive and heavier. There is no doubt we could lower the standards, not as low as they were in the 70s, but still have safe low emissions cars. A prius driving in LA might actually put out cleaner air than it takes in. Labeling and testing could let the market decide.

    With the added expense no one is going to buy a new metro today with 50hp engine, poor fit and finish, and 12" wheels. Stripping the hybrid bits from the prius C won't make get better mileage.

    I don't think many would be takers of a metro today.
    1998 Chevrolet Metro2 - Car and Driver

    C&D suggest a honda fit as a compromise between efficiency and price. This is the descendant of the civic hatchback but with today's safety and emissions.

    +1
    From the C&D piece above -
     
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  17. Acre

    Acre New Member

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    Don't be so sure. In 1998 gas in the US sold for $1.03 a gallon - in inflation adjusted terms, the lowest price since 1949. Given that, and where our economy is likely to be in the decade or two it takes us to work off our debt load I think there would still be a market for the Metro or certainly the Prizm if such vehicles were still allowed.
     
  18. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I crack up a little when I see Smart Cars ... it looks like the back end has already been smashed in. Not to be rude, well maybe I am here, but they are so tiny.
     
  19. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Prism was more of a car. The metro would be relatively much more expensive if it were to comply to the safety and emissions requirements of today. It would not be much cheaper than a versa/fiesta, mazda2 etc.
     
  20. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Moot point, because sub safety-standard cars won't be allowed and I'm glad for that. Like said above, Mazda 2, Fiesta, etc are the new sub-compacts. Those are affordable for many.
     
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