Prius operating costs vs. another midsize car

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by cycledrum, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Ricklin11

    Ricklin11 Junior Member

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    I traded in my 98 Lexus GS300 for my gen 2 Prius in 07. Gas prices were high at that time.
    Given the miles I drive and the sizeable down payment from the Lexus the Prius was very close to "free" The payment on the Prius was made with the fuel savings vs. the Lexus. I know, I drive too much:)
     
  2. socalaquaman

    socalaquaman New Member

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    Hi there Ricklin11. I have a 99 GS300 and am thinking of buying a prius. How do you like it thus far? BTW - how much did you get for trade-in for your GS?

    Thanks
     
  3. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    If I continued my current rate of driving, I could have a kid, he could live a normal lifespan, and be dead before I got to 700,000 kilometers! :eek:

    And no, I didn't buy the Prius to save money on gas, obviously... I'm a bit over 5,000 miles in a little less than 11 months. The car only gets used when bicycling isn't feasible - and that's not terribly often.
     
  4. yadax3

    yadax3 Member

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    Additional savings - In my county/state my Prius is exempted from annual emissions inspections for the first 5 years.
     
  5. burnselk

    burnselk New Member

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    usb, since I'm thinking about buying a hybrid this year just how much annual savings do you think I can expect to realize by doing so? Assume I have a non-hybrid that gets 20 mpg.

    I normally keep my cars as long as possible (10-12+ years) and average driving 8,000k miles/year.
     
  6. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Well, that depends on which 20 MPG car you'll be getting cost. Another variable is the price of gas. I'll use calculation by educated guesses (assumptions).

    For 11 years, you will drive 88,000k miles. 20 MPG car will consume 4,400 gallons of gas while Prius will consume 1,760 gallons. The bottom line difference came out to 2,640 gallons.

    Gas price per gallon:

    $3 = $7,920
    $4 = $10,560
    $5 = $13,200

    In 10 years, the gas price is gonna go up, not down. Realistically, it should average $4 to $5. Even if you take $4 per gallon average, gas saving is $10.5k.

    If you can find a 20 MPG non-hybrid for $10.5k less than Prius, you can consider it from financial point of view. Since Prius starts at $23k, good luck finding $13k mid-size non-hybrid that is as well equipped.

    You'll also should consider technological advancement and environment point of views as well.

    You also get to decide where your $10.5k will go - to OPEC countries or to Toyota (and you get to keep the Prius). Believe it or not, 2,640 gallons of gas you'll save will cut 50,688 lbs of carbon dioxide emission. There is also smog forming emission and cancer causing particle matters.

    Also consider what car you'll rather be driving in 5, 7 or 10 years later. Would you rather be the iconic Prius or a gas car that idle it's gas engine?
     
  7. Engineer

    Engineer New Member

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    Well, the unknown in all this is the cost of gas over the next 5-10 years. I think a safe assumption is that it will continue to go up. Right now regular gas near me is averaging about $3.05/gallon. Gas is expected to climb to $4.00/gallon within the year, and maybe as soon as this Summer. So, I'm going to make a conservative assumption that gas goes up (on average) 50% over the course of the next 5 years, or about 10% increase per year. I'll assume a linear increase. I think we will all be lucky if that's all it goes up. So, that works out to an average of $3.81/gallon over a 5 year period.

    Most Americans average about 12,000 miles per year. So, just for gas expenses for the G3 and a Honda, that works out to be:

    G3:

    5years x 12,000miles/yr = 60,000 miles
    60,000miles / 50mpg = 1,200 gallons of gas
    1,200 gallons x $3.81/gallon = $4,572 for gas (5 years @12k/yr)

    Honda:
    60,000 miles
    60,000 / 26mpg = 2,307 gallons of gas
    2,307 x $3.81 = $8,792 for gas (5 yrs @ 12k/yr)

    So, the G3 will save you approx $4,220 after 5 years in just gas savings alone.:eek: ...and that only assumes a 10% rise in gas prices per year, which I think is very optimistic.

    That said, I've never gotten as low as 50mpgs in my G3, with over 23k miles so far. I usually get between 55 (Winter) and 62 (Summer)...so the difference is even more pronounced. :rockon:
     
  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Is your current car heading to the grave now ? These money calculations all assume you *have* to buy a car, and the question is which one. Wanting to save money, but only keeping a car 12 years are conflicting desires unless you own a lemon or bought the car nicely used. If you have a well running 20 mpg car keep it until it is not economical to repair. THEN buy a used hybrid.

    As an example, our two cars are a '04 Prius and a '96 25 mpg Subaru. The majority of miles are put on the Prius. The Subaru costs about $20/month for liability insurance and about $25/month for fuel. Even if fuel costs triple, the Subaru costs less than $100/month. No new car replacement, or even a used car replacement, can hope to be that inexpensive since even a very moderate purchase cost is our running costs for a decade.
     
  9. burnselk

    burnselk New Member

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    Thank for responding so quickly with such thought provoking information usb. You may have just saved me some $$$. Read on to see if you agree. And sage.........thanks so much for the added info. This is great stuff guys!

    In June 2009 I bought my wife a $12,800 Kia Rondo LX-V6 (21/26 mph) with 21k miles (has 37k now). It has most everything she needs in the way of "extras". So I'm thinking from what your calculations point to that I should keep this car and drive it for another 8+ years. It's a neat CUV but I'd like to get much better gas mileage what with the looming gasoline prices. I guess that Prius mileage just have me wishing I had bought one. As sage said, the best option may be to keep the Kia another 8 years then start looking for a good used Prius. That sounds like a plan.

    BTW, you can buy a 2011 Honda Insight for about $20K..........but the mileage isn't quite as good as a Prius. Only 43 mpg in the city and not as roomy in the rear.
     
  10. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Only the federal government could make a case for spending $24,000 to replace a $13,000 car in order to "save money."

    Look at the bright side....in the next 5 years they might come out with an even better gas saver than the G3. I've been looking at the "C"...but it's a little too bubble-gummie for me personally. :(

    BEST of luck!!!!
     
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  11. burnselk

    burnselk New Member

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    Amen on the government spending......thanks for confirming my thinking ETC, I'm a pretty frugal spender so this is great information for me........not so sure about my wife. She wants an AWD vehicle since we live on a pretty steep street and this winter and last winter forced her to "park at a friends house at the bottom and walk up our hill to get to and from work". I'm retired. That's the only reason I was considering another vehicle. And I hear the Prius is not that good in snow anyway. Plus it's only about 7" off the ground as I recall.
     
  12. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    One way you could have your cake and eat it too is to purchase a low mileage GenII Prius. These could be purchased for a reasonable price and if you get enough for your Kia then you could start saving on day one. The wildcard here will be repairs. Which vehicle will require an expensive repair first?

    It's thought games like this that kept me from buying a new GenIII. There is no way the small MPG difference was ever going to help me "save" money. So I'll just keep my GenII until it dies a horrible death or some other vehicle sweeps me off my feet. :)

    *EDIT* Just saw your post about the steep hill and snow. Maybe a GenII isn't a great choice. lol
     
  13. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Meet you wife at the bottom of the hill in the winter, and carry her stuff :)
    Investing in snow tyres may not be a bad idea either.

    Just about anytime you prematurely exchange cars it will cost you thousands. If frugality is your priority then stick with the Kia and its warts until it dies a natural death, and then pick something different next time -- like a hybrid!
     
  14. Jolly Paul

    Jolly Paul Member

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    The most informative aspect of these calculations is how expensive it is to own and operate any car. The numbers would surprise some people. Adding in the costs of road construction and maintenance would be even more informative. That last part would be difficult as different vehicles cause different amounts of road wear and contribute differently to congestion.
     
  15. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    Your car is worth $x.
    If you sell or trade it, it will continue its useful life for someone else.
    If it no longer meets your needs, consider swapping used for used to a car that meets your needs better. Maybe you get $ back or maybe you pay some extra.
    Then consider whether to pay more to trade for a new car. Buying new takes the risk out of buying a used lemon and is a nice luxury, but comes at a price.

    My fleet: '10 Prius 20K miles/yr; '08 Fit 6K miles/yr; '00 CR-V 3K miles/yr
    We'd love to get 50+ mpg on all the cars, but our better move is to shift miles to the one we have.

    Some can afford Prius easily and don't worry about it, but it only starts to make economic sense with significant mileage. Some buy Prius for green reasons, knowing it costs more TCO due to low miles. All good.

    Another factor: At low gas prices, Prius are plentiful and FSP's in shorter supply. As gas prices rise, that quickly switches. Question is, where are we now? Where is that crystal ball... But this points out that you can arbitrage gas price increase with your car trades, you just never know until later whether you guessed right.

    I'll quit ramblin' now.
     
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  16. burnselk

    burnselk New Member

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    Not ramblin kss........this is helping me. I appreciate the discussion. I need all of the info I can get to discuss with the wife. The only reason I haven't been carrying her "stuff" is my cardiologist told me not to.
    I've thought about putting studded tires on her vehicle or my PU to run her up and down the hill. That's the only way to travel a steep hill in icy conditions. The snow isn't the problem.........the ice is the problem. I'm not sure what Kia has to say about studded tires. But will check. Maybe the PU is the answer since I don't drive it that much compared to what driving she does in the Kia........but the PU is very light in the rear and has rear wheel drive..........I have to put four 60# bags of sand in the back (over the wheels) just to help hold it down. It will actually spin very easily on wet level roads. But I believe I've "arrived" at a solution.....studded tires on the PU.....so I can pick her up in the PM and take her down in the AM.....snow isn't a problem THAT often........but in the last two years it seems to be. Now I'm ramblin. Sorry guys.

    Would love for her to have a car that gets 50 mpg.....but can't afford it right now......I'm figuring gasoline prices will be $5/gal in a year or two.
     
  17. burnselk

    burnselk New Member

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    Probably the best approach.


    How true.

    Since she only drives about 8K miles/year we probably don't even need a hybrid.

    A crystal ball would definitely help us make such decisions.
     
  18. evpv

    evpv Active Member

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    Crunch these numbers for a comparison. 36 month lease and then turn the car back in, I prefer to drive fairly new cars. Both cars covered under warranty for the entire time. Insurance and registration are about the same for both cars. I drive 12,000 miles per year, never more. Gas price is $3.50 per gallon for both cars. Oil change interval is 7,500 miles, $30 oil changes. 8.75% tax.

    2011 Prius Four, no Nav, no Solar. $350/mo, $870 down, 36 months, 12,000 miles. 2 years free maintenance. 50 mpg average.

    versus

    2011 Accord EX-L, 190hp 4cyl sedan, no Nav. $240/mo, $0 down, $0 first month payment, 36 months, 12,000 miles. First oil change is free. Brakes are covered under warranty for the lease period. 27 mpg average.
     

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  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    My previous post compared two brand new cars. Let me do another calculation for used cars, even though they are not in the same class. The comparison is valid to you since you are considering it.

    For another 88k miles, a pre-ownded 21 MPG (18 City / 26 Highway) Kia Rondo vs. pre-owned 50 MPG Prius.

    Rondo will use 4,190 gallons vs. Prius using 1,760 gallons. The difference is 2,430 gallons. Gas price at:

    $4 = $9,720
    $5 = $12,150

    If your wife's Rondo is worth $11k (selling price) now, you'll need to get a pre-owned Prius that costs $21k to equal the cost. That's with $4 per gallon. KBB said a pre-owned 2009 Prius with 37k miles goes for $15k for a good condition private party sale. A pre-owned 2010 Prius with 37k miles goes for $18.5k for a good condition private party sales.

    This calculation does not include sales tax so don't forget to add it into Prius' purchase. Even after the sales tax, you should be able to pocket some money.
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^ Dennis,
    My main nits to pick with your approach (not the math) is that if fuel prices increase the Kia's value plummets; and overall dealers do not buy cars at anything close to KBB unless they expect to gouge on the sale. So you are forced to gamble on future fuel prices despite having a perfectly running car you have already paid the early depreciation on.

    Two other numbers to add in: interest on the higher value car, and pricier insurance. I'm now happily paying $20/month to insure my Prius because it is low enough value now to not bother with collision or comp insurance. I also enjoy peace of mind in really not caring about any new scratches or bumps :)

    Not to detract from your analysis in general, which I think will be helpful to OP in deciding what to do. 20 mpg cars make me shudder, but if fuel jumps to $6/gallon, I bet many a Kia owner will find that car pooling is not so terrible or impossible as they thought. Truth is, there are many ways to adapt to high fuel prices other than exchanging serviceable cars at high cost for a Prius. All I can say, that I think we all agree on, is NEXT time when it is time for *replacement*, a car with much better fuel economy makes a lot of sense.
     
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