Maybe its not for me?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Bianchi, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. Bianchi

    Bianchi New Member

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    So after browsing the forums for a few weeks and reading up on the prius pros and cons, it seems like the Prius may not be a fit for me.

    Please let me know if I am wrong.

    here are a few facts about my driving:

    *my commute to work is only about 3.7 miles one way and I ride my bike to work 4 days a week April-Septmeber.
    *most of my trips are within 3 miles
    *87% of my driving is in the city of chicago and three times a month I may jump on a highway to visit family
    *Many Many Many traffic lights during my driving, we have a light about every half mile.
    *I rent and street park so plug in prius is out
    *Since I live in the midwest and leave for work at 6am there are some darn cold mornings Oct-March
    *I only drive about 120 miles a week
    *I do throw in one driving vacation a year
    *current car is a v6 and averages 16mpg in city driving

    Reading all I can here it looks like my short trips wont let the car warm up enough to get the best mpg. The premium price for the Prius in a quick back of the napkin calc looks like over 3years I wont be able to make up the difference in gas savings for the price. Also worried the short wheel base will be rough and our cruddy city streets.

    Another question, anybody with kids seats, can you fit your bike inside while leaving the child seat still strapped in?
     
  2. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    Your use case sounds ripe for an EV, or possibly a plug-in.
     
  3. Bianchi

    Bianchi New Member

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    Thank you, but no where to plug in. I rent, no garage and I park about a block away sometimes
     
  4. Wayward

    Wayward Member

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    I have only had mine for 5 days so I cannot give a true informed opinion. But based on my limited experience so far you will get much better mileage then you are now. It depends on what else you are looking at buying. If you just get a base II model then you can get one for under $24 at least here you can. I am averaging over 60 mpg in town so far. My commute is about 13 miles each way and I can already see the savings.
    I used to have a V6 Highlander and was able to milk about 20 mpg average and then switched to my Scion to save money and got about 26 mpg and lower payment.
    I was able to get a great trade in on my Scion and am now averaging about 50 mpg going to work.
    Averaging 120 miles a week you should only need to fill up like once a month, so figure that into your savings.
    Also if you can find an extra HSN Toyota package you can get $1000 gift card if you buy it before Jan.
    That should cover almost all your gas for 3 years.
    Just my 2 cents for now.
     
  5. 2006_HK

    2006_HK First Hybrid

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    We have pretty much the same commute and distance requirements but milder bay area weather. We bought a used 2006 Prius that gets ~50 mpg. It looks to me that you will be served well by having a little bit of EV-only range with the most efficient hybrid set-up. A plug-in would fit best if only you had a place to charge. A normal Prius could still work since you drive mostly in city. However, you drive so little that I would advise that you either keep your current car or buy a used hybrid. A new car with that mileage would not make financial sense.

    Answer to Child seat: At least one back-seat needs to be lowered to fit the 26" mountain bike that I have. Once it is in, you can put both seats up if you remove the front wheel. Don't know about other cars.
     
  6. Selzier

    Selzier Whee!

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    Even with the warm up period and short trips, a regular Prius would still not be a bad idea. With how much you drive per week average (120) you can easily go a month without needing to fill up.

    Admittedly, the fuel economy while the engine is warming up is bad, but only during the first stage of the process. Even with short trips that you have, you would still be getting way better than the 16mpg you are getting now (plus all cars have lower FE when warming up). You might not get the 50 or so advertised, but you can still get the upper 40's.

    In all though, the savings you would experience in terms of gas would not make up for the premium you would pay for this car versus buying a much cheaper economic car (say a corolla, civic, mazda 3, elantra etc) would make much more economic sense.

    I forgot where I read it but a very smart guy said that a Prius won't save you much money in gas versus a nice little economic car, but it is way better for the environment (just search the forums for it's emissions ratings) than anything currently out there (that has an actual gas engine).
     
  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The short trips are bad for all fuel burning cars, not just Prius. So I'd focus more on your total annual miles, or the total miles you guesstimate keeping the car.

    Your weekly miles add up to roughly 6k miles per year, under half that of typical drivers. Is this accurate? If so, then the economics of a Prius is not compelling, especially if you plan to keep it only a few years. My cars are budgeted for at least 150k+ miles over 10+ years. This puts the fuel cost of a non-hybrid greater than the car's purchase price, so I can easily justify any so-called 'hybrid premium'.

    Do you do any bike commuting October to March? If not, why not? If it is a matter of lighting, there are many very good bike lighting products out there now. My own pedal commuting was always cut in half in winter, but decent lights (and a dedicated bike path) still allowed winter biking.
     
  8. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Honestly you drive so little a cheaper decently efficient car would be more economical. Because the Prius and most other hybrids require more energy during production it takes a little while before they overcome that disadvantage and become more environmentally friendly than a similar non-hybrid. Where am I going with this? Find a nice efficient car with a good EPA emission rating and you'll be doing good for your wallet and the environment.

    If you had access to a plug I would say go BEV or PHEV all the way.
     
  9. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    This exactly!
    Yep!

    I'd guess that OP would probably achieve mileage in the upper 30s or low 40s w/a regular Prius when it's not snowing and the temps above freezing. In snowy weather, it might drop to low to mid 30s.

    The city results of the Prius and other cars should actually be somewhat close to the OP's drives
    Best & worst fuel economy
    Best vehicles for city & highway mpg | Consumer Reports
    The most fuel-efficient cars | Consumer Reports

    They describe their test and the old (pre-model year 08) EPA test on the last page of http://www.consumersunion.org/Oct_CR_Fuel_Economy.pdf. There's far more to the TCO of a car than just fueling costs. Depreciation is the biggest in the 1st 5 years. OP can look at places like 2012 Toyota Prius Two 4Dr Hatchback | New Toyota Prius Two 4Dr Hatchback 2012 Research at IntelliChoice.com to get TCO, but unfortunately, they assume higher miles driven/year.
     
  10. Texas-Prius

    Texas-Prius One more Prius to fight terrorism

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    Actually, stop-n-go traffic is where the Prius shines. If you are only getting 16mpg now, even if you get 45-50mpg in the Prius, which is very easy to achieve, you will be very happy. Like you, I don't drive many miles per year either. For the last few years, I average about 5,000 per year in a car (I work from home, and drive my motorcycles most of the time). For me, purchasing the Prius was more about fighting the greedy, terrorist loving middle east than anything else. My last car was a 2010 Mini Cooper S Convertible. It carried about 3 bags of groceries and got about half the MPGs that I get in the Prius. I love the quietness of the Prius and never get tired of it shutting the ICE off everytime I come to a stop.

    All of that being said, the Prius isn't for everyone. If my country did not have to import any oil, my position might be different, but until we can dramatically decrease our daily usage of oil, that will never happen. I believe that if you have to really question whether or not a Prius is for you, if you end up purchasing one, most likely you won't be happy with it after a while. If you are looking at this from strictly a cost perspective, I would strongly suggest you to check out a car sharing program in your area. I believe this one might work well for you:

    I-GO Car Sharing Chicago

    Good luck on your decision.

    - TP
     
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  11. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    NO car makes sense looked at over only 3 years.

    A Prius gets better mileage (as a percentage of its rating) in that warm up time than any other car. So you are probably still going to get 3X your current mileage regardless of how short your trips.
     
  12. Bianchi

    Bianchi New Member

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    Thank you guys and gals and cyborgs for all your help.

    to answer a few question you's have asked.

    I dont commute by bike in the winter as I dont like to be cold, and dont like riding when there is ice or ice and darkness. yes I know there are many specific clothings to defeat the cold, just rather not do the dance when I need to own a car already. I have the lights for my bikes as I do go out before the arse crack of dawn to get weekend rides in. I just dont like the cold on a bike.

    Yes I really only do about 120 miles a week, my current car has only 33,000 mile on the odometer it is an '08 hyundai sonata that was purchased new.

    I looked into the iGo cars and ZipCars, but I need to have a car on hand as I take my elderly aunt, one uncle and mother on errands durring the week to doctors and groceries and other stuff. Plus the added everyday driving in the winter the cost will quickly be to great.

    Small little eco box cars are out of the picture, the insurance cost is way higher than a prius and higher than my current car. also with the elderly family I need to scoot around the city and the car load of kids stuff my kid and wife need just to go visit friends, too small of a car will end up being worse for me.

    As for the cars i am looking at its just a 2012 prius 2 or a 2009 fully loaded prius. I love the car I already have and planned on riding it into the ground. but looking over my year over year expenses I find the two things are growing at an alarming percentage rate. 1) grocery 2) auto gas.

    I dont mind the premium paid for the prius, its the same reason I use only LED lights i would rather pay a premium for a product made with someones hands and employs a tax payer than pay the our wonderful greedy energy providers. No that said there still needs to be some ROI I cant just give money away.

    One thing I do need to go do soon is, take it for a test drive. I have always driven long wheel base cars with v6 or higher, I will need to make sure the bumpier noisier ride and lack of power will be okay.

    I would rather not lease a Car, but thinking about it a Lease would protect me if I end up not liking it after a year
     
  13. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    Are there any public charging stations near any of your destinations? I usually charge my vehicle when I am at the grocery store or at the park for a workout.
     
  14. mad-dog-one

    mad-dog-one Prius Enthusiast

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    With your small amount of annual driving and short commutes, it seems like you could use public transportation and get by without owning a car. If you want, rather than need, a car, then get the car you want, rather trying to justify savings for something you don't really need.
     
  15. DP200248721

    DP200248721 Active Member

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    My commute is similar to yours OP, 4.4 mi one way and I truly enjoy the savings compared to my Civic, even with warm-up time I still tend to average 48-51 mpg/tank and fill up about every 4 or 5 weeks.
     
  16. enigma88

    enigma88 Junior Member

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    Have you considered just keeping your Hyundai Sonata? Sure, it's not as fuel efficient as a Prius but if you're looking for a 2012 Prius (probably $20k+) or fully loaded 2009 ($10k+) the money that you're using to buy the new car can go towards gas, ALOT of gas! Considering you only drive approximately 6,000 miles a year...it might take you long time to make up the cost of buying the Prius.
     
  17. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

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    My late wife used a wheelchair due to a brain injury. My cars needed to be able to handle easy transfers (wide & tall doors, roomy passenger seating area, easy-to-access seat belts, etc,); room for a caregiver in the back seat, and room for a transfer wheelchair in the back. When we could no longer use the 07 Surbaru Outback due to increasing transfer issues, we tested a number of cars and found the 2011 Prius to be a good match for our needs. (It probably doesn't have enough room for a fullsize manual wheelchair with the rear seat up, but there was plenty of room for a transport chair.)

    I've also loaned the car to my GF for her to take her elderly mom to appointments. It works great for transporting folks with mobility issues.

    Around town, the car rides as well or better than most small cars. It's a bit noisy and bumpy on long trips. Power is sufficient, and certainly better than my old Subaru which had the 2.5L flat-4 engine and automatic tranny.
     
  18. Bianchi

    Bianchi New Member

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    never thought about that, let me look into it. I would assume there would be.

    If it was just me I would just ride and take public transport. but as stated above I "chauffeur" my elderly family members around so the fact I need a car for that I might as well use it to get to work so not to be around the "unwashed masses" ;)

    I would rather keep the Sonata and is looking like thats what will happen. I ran the math of making up the costs as you are right it will be a LONG time before recouping that costs. I guess now its more of a matter who I am willing to give my money to.

    thats my worry is the noise, bumps I am used to. I just hate road noise, will/and have exchange new tires even if at a loss to get a quieter ride.
     
  19. Adam Leibovitch

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    I drove an 08 Prius when all my drives were within about 2-4 miles. I still averaged 42mpg's and that was a gen 2. I never focused on saving energy or not letting the ICE come on, I just drove it like a normal car. I think you will be happy with a Prius.
     
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  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I'd have the OP note that these three respondents above are in warmer climates than Chicago -- TX, SoCal, and SF Bay area. For colder areas, I'd lean expectations more in the direction below:
    While you may do better with skill, don't make a financial comparison that requires better results in order to pencil out.

    But I'd also agree with Texas-Prius that in stop-and-go traffic, Prius really shines compared to non-hybrids.
     
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