Why I bought a Prius - Another Perspective

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Mojo40, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Mojo40

    Mojo40 New Member

    Sep 22, 2005
    Issaquah, Washington
    Why I bought a Prius – Another Perspective

    This is an essay of sorts. I have come to realize that my reasons for buying a Prius are somewhat more complex than the media cares to report. The PriusChat folks are a diverse, and smart group. I will be interested to see your perspective on this.

    I have found that a fair amount of people (friends, co-workers, perfect strangers) on finding out that I own a Prius, feel it quite important to inform me how ignorant I am to have bought one, as they are not cost effective. I ask where they got this information, and the typical response was that the read or heard about it in the news.

    Here are my impressions of how the media views Prius drivers (this is not based on any sort of quantitative study):
    - Prius (or any Hybrid drivers) are a group of eco-friendly folks.
    - They are either very bad at accounting, or are so blinded by their green vision that they will spend any amount of extra money to make a statement.

    The media impression may or may not be accurate. Perhaps I am an anomaly. For what it’s worth, here are the reasons for my Prius purchase. The % is how much the criteria factored into (influenced) my decision.

    10% Good for the environment (i.e. self imposed tax)
    10% Wanted smaller car for ease of driving & parking (vs. my SUV)
    10% Chance that it would save money (if gas prices stayed high)
    10% Just a damn cool looking car
    10% Cool Gadgets/Technology (endless entertainment while driving)
    50% Insurance against situation where the bad guys successfully disrupt the oil supply enough to cause worldwide buying panic, thus creating a true gas shortage (i.e. not just high prices, but the unavailability of gasoline.)

    I have not seen the last item (bad guys/gas shortage) discussed on PriusChat or on any other hybrid bulletin boards. Perhaps it’s my early years in northern Michigan that influence this. When a big bad winter storm comes along, everybody goes and fills up as gas can’t be pumped without power. You develop a healthy fear of not having enough gas.

    I keep 10 gallons of gas in my shed out back. This will keep my Prius going for 3-4 weeks.

    I know it’s only a matter of time before the bad guys succeed in creating a gas shortage. This will be bad for us all, and will truly rattle our confidence. I have invested in my insurance against this scenario. On seeing the news of the refinery attacks on TV, I won’t be one of the people who panic and race up to the nearest gas station. It’s hard to put a price on sleeping soundly at night, but a $3000 premium for a car with a 10+ year lifespan (= $25/month) is worth it to me.

    So, the next time a friend or co-worker makes it a point to inform you of your ignorance in buying a hybrid, run this little scenario by them. Chances are that they will either 1) go into denial (that it could never happen), or 2) start to look nervous, as they ponder how much gas is in their tank at the moment.

    I was motivated to write this because it’s important that we all realize this probable threat. Our governments do their best, but there is only so much they can do to protect our infrastructure. We can all help out be being better prepared. Buying a hybrid one way to help. Storing hundreds of gallons of fuel in your back yard might help, but that could also be hazardous.

    This is just my two cents worth. Thanks for taking time to read it, and I look forward to seeing your thoughts.

    Mojo40, Seattle Washington
  2. Stringer

    Stringer New Member

    Sep 9, 2005
    Here are mine:

    40% Automatic transimission
    30% Cool Gadgets/Technology/Safety
    20% Chance that it would save money (only useful here when combined with other aspects)
    5% Good for the environment
    5% Just a damn cool looking car
  3. Mojo40

    Mojo40 New Member

    Sep 22, 2005
    Issaquah, Washington

    It would be cool if the PriusChat polls could do some sort of % aggregation like this. Right now it's only a single choice option. To make it more interesting, we would correlate the results to some demographic data, such as political views, degree, etc. Maybe somebody could custom design an online poll.
  4. Allannde

    Allannde Just a Senior

    Jan 7, 2006
    Washington State
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Plug-in Advanced
    I bought it because I wanted to own a hybrid. This is the best no compromise hybrid.

    It never occurred to me that anyone would care what kind of car I bought. I have had a few comments like "Oh is that one of THOSE cars! And what is the plug in the front of the car for (I have a block heater)?

    As for insurance against interruption of oil, if that happens, there will be little that can be done to avoid chaos. This is a nice looking, practical, well built, economical, and useful car. We have plenty of reason to be proud of our car and no reason to be ashamed of our purchase.
  5. huskers

    huskers Senior Member

    Aug 21, 2005
    2017 Prius Prime
    Prime Advanced
    Another possibility: You have to evacuate because of a hurricane or some other disaster and you are stuck in long traffic lines with little gas available at gas stations. The Prius will go a lot further and you can run the air without burning gas. (Katrina and Rita good examples). :p
  6. chahn

    chahn Junior Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    Central Coast, CA
    2006 Prius
    I bought my Prius primarily because it was the vehicle with the best gas mileage & lowest emissions that would fit two adults, a baby seat (for future use), and my two 60lb dogs. We actually rented one for the weekend to be sure the dogs would fit in the hatch (it is cozy but they do fit) before getting on the wait list at our local dealer. The main reason it happened now (rather than when my Saturn dies) was the tax credit. It is neat technology-wise too but that is more of a nice perk than at deciding factor in my case. It was also cheaper, easier to find (since TDIs aren't sold in CA), and rated as more reliable than the VW Passat TDI Wagon, the other vehicle I was researching (my husband doesn't fit in the Jetta).

    -- Cindy
  7. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

    Oct 23, 2005
    Denver, CO
    2005 Prius
    Well now that Consumer reports has corrected themselves you can point out that the 5 year cost of ownership of a Prius is only $196 more than a Corolla and +$4K cheaper than a Camry (the consensus is that the Camry is the better comparison).

    For me it was primarily about fuel savings (not money, actual fuel savings) and emissions. Primarily for eco reasons but also for "doing my part" to advancing energy security. Don't really have percentages. The fact that it's a hatch back with great safety ratings was the slam dunk. While I like the gadgetry that wasn't really part of the equation. I'm not a huge bells and whistles guy.
  8. jef

    jef New Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    Inglewood (Los Angeles county), California
    After driving some pretty generic cars for a number of years, I wanted my car to be cool, stand out, and be fun. I was trying to stick to a budget of about $21,000. I wanted to be able to buy a car not more than 2 years old so that I would not have to pay the first day new car depreciation but I would still get most of the useful life of the vehicle. And I felt that it was important that on occasion I be able to carry 4 adults or the equivalent volume of things.

    Based on these criteria, I've had my eye on the Prius for a couple of years - ever since the 2004 model came out. Every few months, I compared the cost of a 2004 Prius to the amount of money I had saved to buy a car, and when they came close to matching that's when I bought. I ended up buying a new Prius because the $3150 tax credit made the 2006 cost pretty close to the same as a 2004 in the Los Angeles market.

    The Prius is a good match for my personality - geeky, smart, and cheap when it comes to routine expenses. :) The idea that I'm using less gasoline in the increasingly volitile world, where we are at the beginning of what some people believe will be a series of oil wars, strongly appeals to me. Since I can only really afford to have one car, I wanted to have one with unlimited range, so electric city cars were out. I see myself doing a PHEV conversion when the technology matures, the price comes down and I save up that money.

    The other car that I gave serious consideration to is cool, stands out, and is fun for completely different reasons. Living in Southern California, with nearly year round mild weather, a convertible has a great deal of appeal. The Ford Mustang V6 convertible with a manual transmission was my second choice. It's the only convertible that meets my criteria for comfortable four adult seating and pricing within the $21,000 range for a late model used vehicle. I've felt strongly enough about the Prius for long enough that was a distant second choice - it was mainly just a straw man I considered to make sure I was making the right decision.
  9. prius_fr

    prius_fr New Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Hello Mojo40. I have not yet received my new Prius but it should come anytime soon now. I post a new thread in the Order Tracking section where I explain why did I bought the Prius. I thought I would just repost here my main points:

    I have an 97 Acura 3.5RL that has 150k + miles on it. It still run fine, but this car start to cost me a lot in maintenance plus me and my wife start to feel the need of a second car.

    Why the Prius and not another car ? In order but all these points to me are very close:

    * Low MPG. As the fuel price IMO is not going to be any lower but to the contrary will most likely increase in the future.
    * High technology. This car features one of the highest technology available today: the hybrid engine of course + all the other goodies such as Navigation System, Bluetooth etc.
    * Carpool Privilege. As I'm going to drive more and more in the Bay Area, this is a *great* feature.
    * 3k+ Federal Tax Deduction. Hey this is not to neglect.
    * Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV). On top of that, this car is one of the cleaner car available on the market today. This is great !

    Well, to me, this car presents only advantages.

    But why the Prius and why not other hybrid vehicles such as the Camry, Civic or Insight ?

    * To me the Prius is to become a legendary vehicles, a breaking-point technology. Thus it as been designed from scratch to be an hybrid on the contrary to the Honda Civic Hybrid (that has a retrofit engine).
    * The Prius is a mid-size vehicule, perfect for my use. Yet, it is a five seater with 5 doors (vs two seat / 3 doors for the Insight)
    * The ratio MPG / Usability is IMO the best: Insight is great but 2 seater, Camry and others to big and thus, lower MPG.

  10. sutherlin12

    sutherlin12 New Member

    May 31, 2005
    Interesting topic.

    I first got the idea to buy one about two years ago when my now ex-wife was considering going back to school (which would have been a long commute.) I did the math and realized what Consumer Reports just figured out. By the time I compared my existing car payment, maintenance, insurance and fuel costs I knew I would save a bunch of cash.

    It just so happens the in-laws of a co-worker of mine own an ’04. They are, politically speaking, pretty liberal and they were quite surprised when I asked about theirs (because I’m a more of a middle of the road “Schwarzenegger conservative.â€) They teased me quite a bit about how I should be buying an SUV. But it was all in good fun. :p

    Anyway, I drove their car and, since I’m a major tech nerd anyway, I loved it. My co-worker’s father-in-law was very knowledgeable about the car (with was very helpful because the dealer sure wasn’t) and I was sold. Funny thing is my wife at the time stamped her hooves and refused to let me get the car. :angry:

    Long story short, I got rid of the wife and a year later got my ’05. About three weeks ago I traded my ’05 for my new ’06.

    I’d say for me it breaks down like this:

    50% - I like gadgets.
    40% - I hate paying a lot for gas
    9% - I like to be different than everyone else I know.
    1% - Did it just to piss off the ex-wife (She was the 1st person I showed the ’05.) ;)

    I tried to get the chief to get one for a detective's rig, but he told me he thought the "guys" would complain if they had to drive a Prius. Probably has something to do with the nickname they all gave my car, "PW." (Think Kill Bill.)

    PS - BTW, I should add that my insurance went down about $4.00 a month from my '05 to my '06 for the same coverages. Not what I expected at all. :D
  11. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    2004 Prius
    I'm not sure I agree with the shortage-offsetting idea. Maybe the
    Prius can go a little farther, but when those 10 gallons in the
    tank and/or the back shed run out, you're stuck in the same angry
    lineups at the gas stations as everyone else, just to keep your
    necessary day-to-day activities going. So really, high weighting
    on that reason only makes sense for week-long or so blips in pricing
    and availability, but falls apart longer-term. So keep that bicycle
    and yourself in shape, because you're gonna need it. Fortunately, the
    bicycle fits very nicely in the back of the Prius.
  12. fredmertz

    fredmertz New Member

    Feb 3, 2006
    I guess I am not a normal Prius owner. I purchased the car for one reason only. To drive in the diamond lane 120 miles a day.
  13. Vegas Prius!

    Vegas Prius! New Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    I think gas just keeps going up. Does anyone really believe we wil ever see <$2.00 again? I expect really 2.50 to end up the '06 average, and spikes to 2.75-3.25 to happen more often. SO...
    70% fuel eff (did anyone read the message from the guy in Houston who was in in Pruis for30+ hours evacuating Houston before Rita? Was very happy guy...)
    20% OUTSTANDING gadgets: really, do you want a lexus or do you want Lexus featues in a cooler car?
    10% morality- as a TRUE Republican, I really enjoy talking down to self-proclaimed liberals drivng Tahoes, Expeditions, and and 4-Runners.
    Oh, and the affodability compared to other mid-size cars came very well into line with the 3K tax credit.
  14. EricGo

    EricGo New Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM (SouthWest US)
    Paraphrasing ..

    Because the 80 mpg Yaris hybrid or Fit hybrid is not available yet.
    Because I *really* want a PHEV, and the Prius has aspirations.
  15. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Nixa, MO
    2004 Prius
    25%-Gas saving (not money saving, but gas saving)--roll into that all the decreased foreign dependence and less need in a time of shortage.

    15%-Environmental, Just makes sense to reduce emissions...the future lasts a long time and the damage we do today will take a long time to fix...the more damage the longer to fix.


    30%-Support of the Technology--for all the reasons above someone's gotta say "I'll take the risk, I'll spend the money, I'll take the first steps to make the world a better place and encourage others to develop the technology that will let those things happen."

    10% Cool

    10% Make a Statement of the above

    Does that equal 100? :eek:
  16. darkydog

    darkydog New Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    I had been looking at Prius for over a year and when we finally relpaced a minivan this yer I got serous. I origninally thought Camray but the wife thought it was too big (she drives a ChevyPrizm) to work. She got on a site that takes all your wants and suggests cars to match and the Prius came out on top.

    MY reasons for a Prius:

    Exterior dimentions to interior room 20%
    Hatchback 10%
    Fuel ecomony and depenence 30%
    Gizmos 20%
    environment 20%

    Toyota relibility and reputation was a plus from the very beginning of consideration

    This is the fist vehicle I have spent over $20,000 on (I am over 50 and have had numerous, mostly used.) I am very satisfied and find the Prius far superior to anything I have owned. I have no complaints about the handling, sound, stock tires and other things I see others complain about. Since I don't have sophisticated (or expensive) tastes I guess I am too unelightened to know all the supposed shortcomings of the vehicle. What you don't know you don't miss.
  17. jrohland

    jrohland Guest

    98% - Well deserved reputation for reliability.
    2% - Not Honda.

    85% - Consumer Reports says 95% of Prius owners would buy again. This stat is confirmed by interviews with Prius owners. Any car virtually all current owners would buy again has got to be a great car...and it is.
    10% - Hate going to gas station. 450 miles per tank is grrreat!
    3% - Gadget freak. This car has very cool engineering.
    2% - Not Honda

  18. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    2006 Prius
    Interesting Post.
    First some qualifiers:
    1. I am not a "greeny" -
    2. I do NOT believe in global warming - still wondering how the glaciers melted.
    3. I am not a democrat although I share some similar views on abortion.

    Now the answers:
    90% Financial (cost of owning and operating)
    10% Technology: supporting technology that I would like to see succeed, enjoying technology I find helpful in a car (I also own a '02LS430 and a '04 Sienna XLW AWD; also a '00 Audi A6 Quattro and a '03 Bug Convertible)

    Dont care about being "cool" or making a statement (although I know I am making one by purchasing it). In the 90% financial is the fact that it is a Toyota and should prove to be reliable, cost efficient, and long-lived -- also saving gas is saving $. Each day I drive to work in it saves me 2+ gallons - etc.

    I have totally enjoyed your [efusco] posts and insight into this vehicle. Thank you for that.

  19. kingofgix

    kingofgix New Member

    Jun 30, 2004
    Littleton, CO

    Thanks for starting a good thread. Unfortunately, I don't agree with your rationale. In my opinion, there are too many oil refineries and too many oil sources for the "bad guys" to seriously disrupt supply on a long term basis. And even if the bad guys did manage to seriously disrupt world oil/gas supplies, the resulting problems would be so great that owning a Prius would be a very minor consolation, like having a napkin to clean up your basement after a flood. :)

    And if people think you are stupid for buying one, I doubt you will change their minds with the "bad guys" argument.

    I bought my Prius for a variety of reason.

    1st, I want to support new energy efficient technology. I think energy efficiency is a very important issue for economic, environemental and security reasons.

    2nd, the Prius is cleaner. I live a large City with a bad air pollution problem. I think it is my duty (and everyone elses who lives here) to do their part to clean up the air. Unfortunately, not too many other people bother to share the burden.

    3rd, its cheaper. You can read all the Consumer Reports and newspapaer articles you want, but my Prius is saving me money. There is no doubt about it. It has to do with the price of gas, the amount of driving I do for my work, and other car I would have bought in its stead. The Prius is way cheaper to own AND operate.

    And as for this whole argument of will it save you money or not, I think the best comback to someone who tells you you are stupid for buying a Prius is to ask them how much money they are saving by buying the car they drive. The point here is that about 1% of people buy a car because it provides the cheapest life-cycle ownership cost. If that was why people bought cars, there wouldn't be much on the road but Geo Metro's, Toyota Echos,and Kia's . So unless the person who calls you stupid for driving a Prius is driving and Echo, whats their point? If they are (more likely) driving a Ford Explorer or Subaru Legacy or whatever, and cost is their defining factor, then at least you are smarter than they are! :lol:
  20. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

    Jan 17, 2006
    Northern CA
    2006 Prius
    Is there any chance that you were of driving age during the 70's? Not only CAN it happen, but it has happened in the past and I have no doubt that it'll happen again. We are NOT in control of our own energy, and that scares the hell out of me. The "bad guys" don't need to attack a refinery to disrupt the flow of oil.. they just need to turn off the spigot at their end as they've done before.

    Great subject here!

    I too, want to shield myself from energy shortages, but I don't think the Prius is the right answer, as has been posted here before. The Prius still requires gas, though it'll go farther on a gallon. when you're done with your supply, you're done.

    The main reason I bought a Prius is because I could not buy a modern Battery Electric Vehicle to augment our current BEV. I chose the Prius because (sadly) it is the clostest thing to a BEV that we've got on the market. If we lose all electricity AND our gasoline supply is cut off, I can still fuel and drive my BEV (especially in the summer! :) )

    What I find truly interesting from the "co-worker perspective" thing is that I'm now ridculed MORE about this vehicle than about my last gas vehicle - a pure-gas Civic. The reason? Similar to what the OP has stated.

    When we owned the Civic, everybody was comfortable with that decision, and knew it cost X amount of money, and burned X amount of gas. Same as always - nothing to get exited about. But now with the Prius, I'm suddenly an idiot for paying that elusive "hybrid premium" that I'll never get back. How many times have I been told that I'd save money if I just bought a Corolla instead? To the unwashed masses, it seems impossible to consider that I want my purchasing dollars to go wherever they'll do the most good. Maybe I could have saved money by buying an SUV instead of the Prius. But at what OTHER (more important, in my mind) cost besides financial? Contrary to popular opinion, it doesn't always have to be about the money. And in my case it most certainly isn't. But even so, most people fail to account for the money we spend through our taxes to clean up the crap that we spew into our environment. We also don't account for the medical expenses that our actions generate. We don't account for the money and lives lost in protecting our overseas oil "rights." We don't see these expenses at the pump, so I guess it doesn't count. Factor it all in, and suddenly using even a little bit less gas saves us all tons of money.

    But next time this bit about money comes up, ask the question that they'll understand: When will you be paid back for the premium you paid for leather seats? For the DVD movie system? For the XM radio? It just makes no sense! What ever became of doing the "Right" thing instead of doing "whatever pleases me, me, me - and the hell with everybody else!"

    My gas car before the Civic was a Turbo Volvo. Spent $10k more than the Prius, and got 1/2 the gas mileage. When the heck was THAT gonna pay me back? :shakes head:

    I don't drive a BEV (or Prius) to save money. I also don't produce my own solar electricity to power my home and my car just to save money. I spend money on these things (and the Prius) because I think it is the *right* thing to do. I'm not the only one who benefits from these choices, and I'm thrilled about that.

    Thanks for the great subject. I do love the Prius, and just wish I could power it without using gasoline.