Don’t Buy a Prius to Save Money on Gas

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by theshark, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. theshark

    theshark Member

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    Has anyone read this article?

    This guy is crazy!
     
  2. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Actually I do similar calculations and he has a point, although he exaggerates.
    I like to use CAMRY LE vs. CAMRY LE Hybrid. The use of Yaris vs. Prius is not too fair.
    Still you are going to pay up to $4000-$5000 more for the CAMRY hybrid (dealer takes higher margin on it).
    Then if you live in VA you are going to pay as much as $2000 more taxes and fees on the Hybrid.
    So you have to overcome that difference, and it necessitates driving >12000, perferrably >15000 miles/yr.

    Of course, you might get the hybrid because its a better car anyways, or to hedge on higher gasoline prices.

    When we got our Prius in 2006, almost every issue of Consumer Reports would show the calcs and say hybrids don't make any finanical sense. For 2006, they were wrong because gaso prices went up a lot. Today the (good) problem is there is more competition for Prius from high MPG ICE cars. I have a much harder car choice next time.
     
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  3. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    It's interesting that you can take the same data (I'll use his calculations) and come to a completely different conclusion.

    According to his own calculations, if you buy a Prius over a Yaris, you get a larger car with more luggage space and significantly better rear seat passenger comfort. You get a better bigger more featured and probably more reliable car. And all up it costs you no more over 144k miles, which is less than the hybrid drive train warranty in carb state. Sounds like an ok deal to me. :)
     
  4. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Exactly. He calls it an "apples to apples" comparison, but size wise the Prius versus Camry is a much fairer comparison.
     
  5. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    The article is entitled, "Don't Buy a Prius to Save Money on Gas" but starts with the price of purchasing two totally dissimilar vehicles. For a subject discussing gas savings, and only gas savings, the cost of the vehicles should not be included.

    His "math" seems to be either intentionally complicated or accidentally bogus. I've attached a spreadsheet I created using his up-front assumptions. The numbers seem to match in terms of breaking even at 60,000 miles. But since his argument is downright silly, I refuse to spend any more time attempting to dumb myself down to understand it.

    [edit] Uploading fails here at work. I'll try again from home.
     
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  6. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Yep, his convoluted approach to the maths was a bit of a laugh wasn't it. I too got bored of reading it and skimmed right to his (eventual) final figure which I was able to verify with a single calculation.

    Miles to make up for a purchase price difference of $9889, with 51 MPG versus 30 MPG at $5/gal = 9889/5/(1/30 - 1/51) = 144,096. So approx 144k miles.

    Actually his conclusion (and title) should have been that you can save money by buying a smaller cheaper less featured car, particularly if you don't plan on keeping it for too many miles. Who would have thunked it?
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    The comments to his article are enough but he should have used a moped as his alternative vehicle as use the Yaris.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  8. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Don't Buy a More Expensive Car to Save Money on Buying a Car
     
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  9. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    I'm going to try this again. This is a little spreadsheet I made using his numbers.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand his "logic" in which the Yaris uses less gasoline. Additionally, that part where he his that after 60,000 miles now you have to pay for the gas you burned traveling 60,000 miles. Huh? o_O
     

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  10. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Even by his math, my Prius v is cheaper than the Subaru Forester I had before in under 60,000 miles I am half way there already (less than a year into ownership)
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    am i reading right tony? every 12,000 miles should add $1,176.47 to prius and $2,000. to yaris, but your charts are cumulative?
     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    He could have used Maxtrix to compare but then he would have come out with a different result than the conclusion he started with.
     
  13. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Yes, I wanted to provide snapshots. I figured that since the price of gasoline and the number of miles driver per year were constant, there was no need in duplicating the same numbers. So I provided only the accumulation of the number of miles driven, amount of gasoline used, and fuel cost.

    I keep staring at these numbers and keep thinking that they are way too high. I'm waiting for someone to tell me that I've screwed up my calculations. In fact, I just identified my problem. Thanks, Bisco, for pointing it out. I was increasing my cost per year based on the accumulated cost rather than the cost-per-year. I have fixed the spreadsheet and have uploaded it here. With the new numbers, it requires more than 120,000 miles for the gasoline savings to offset the $10,000 higher purchase price of the Prius.
     

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  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    thanks tony, that makes more sense. if you want a car that's larger, more versatile, high tech and will have a higher resale value when selling, it will only take 120,000 miles to get all that at the same price.:p
     
  15. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    If I would have wanted to drive a cheap piece of crap, I would buy one! But, I don't!
    If I wanted to buy a 30 MPGish Jaguar, I could of! But I didn't!
    I wanted a Prius, because it's a Prius. I liked the technology!
    The fact that I get 400 miles with 8 gal of gas, was just lucky I guess! :)
     
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  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    prius really has no comps, size wise. if i compare camry to hycam, similarly equipped (although toyota is too smart to let you equip them exactly the same) camry gets 30mpg and hycam gets 40. so hycam saves a gallon every 12o miles. at $5./gal., that's $500./ 12,000 miles. at around a $4,000. price difference, it would take 96,000 miles to break even. and the hycam is a smoother, quieter more comfortable car imo.
     
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  17. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    I have to agree, both my wife and I really love her Hybrid XLE. She gets about 38 MPG, but she really does not try to hard to hypermile. It's something she has to figure out herself.
    But what a quiet, quick, comfortable ride.
    If I trashed my 08, I would give a HyCam a serious look!
    Of course I would give the Tesla a really serious look too! :)
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    mmmm, tesla...
     
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  19. TheEnglishman

    TheEnglishman Member

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    As if the savings on a Prius stop at gas. How about the simplified transmission, the less frequent oil changes, the high resale value, and the amazing security system? Oh by the way, gas prices are very subjective to the affairs in the least stable region on God's green earth. But if you can't afford a Prius, I understand completely.
     
  20. jameskatt

    jameskatt Member

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    Yes, everyone can afford a $100,000 car along with the taxes, registration fees, insurance, etc. Cough!
     
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