Are hybrids worth the extra-cost?
Posting in Transportation
Painful prices at the pump are forcing many drivers to rethink their current means of transportation. One option? Hybrids - but they often cost a f...
Painful prices at the pump are forcing many drivers to rethink their current means of transportation. One option? Hybrids - but they often cost a few thousand dollars more than traditional fuel cars. As gas prices climb though, consumers can earn back that hybrid penalty over a shorter period of time. SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das explains how you can figure out whether or not a hybrid car is worth it.
Apr 22, 2011
The depreciation on a new car is so great that I can buy a good second hand for less than the price of new tyres. Even when I replace tyres, clutch, brakes, steering etc. It doesn't cost more than a third of a new car. I am a pensioner & don't do a great deal of milage. So it's horses for courses. I guess it depends on your life style, milage & ego more than price.
If we could ever make an all electric car with a 100 mile range for less than $16,000 and then put solar panels on our home roofs for less than $4,000, that's a combo the average guy could afford and that we could most easily live with. For the rare occasion we have longer trips we could either rent a car or use the car we keep in the garage but that we avoid like the plague. It's not just about the cost of hybrid v/s electric, it's also about the need to build these cars at a cost the average American can actually afford and operate. Pardon me, but a $500 or more a month payment on rapidly depreciating purchase is becoming something less and less people can really afford as we watch wages dropping along with the cost for fuel going up and up. Is the 27 grand Toyota really that great a value? Ford originally built cars for the masses that the average person could afford. This simply doesn't appear the goal of most manufacturers these days. A golf cart with a heater and big enough to hold my wheelchair and get me from point A to point B is all I'm asking for. My home shows what I've accomplished in life, not the car I'm driving anymore.
I thought it worth mentioning in the subject line electric vehicles since both they and hybrids use large, expensive battery packs, therefore resulting in the same long term issues. I notice that most of the claims here for hybrids being worth the extra cost are by actual owners who have only 3 to 5 yrs of use of their vehicles before trading them in for a new one. Of course battery replacement won't be an issue for them since they don't keep the car long enough for it to wear out. An important fact that seems to get ignored in these discussions is that not everyone buys every car they own new from the dealer. In fact used car sales far outnumber new. A hybrid that hits the used car market with only a few years left on the battery pack won't be worth near as much as it's conventionally powered counterpart. How many of us drive cars that are over 10 years old or have more than 100K miles? Today's gasoline engined cars easily reach 150 to 200K miles before they need an engine rebuild (which would be for the most part a comparable cost to a battery pack replacement). Those who are best able to afford the inevitable battery replacement will be more likely to buy new, not used. Next, the poor do actually exist and in far greater numbers than the well-to-do. The poor cannot now and probably not ever afford a hybrid new nor replace the battery in a used hybrid. That means that they will most likely be buying used conventionally powered vehicles. The end result is that used hybrids will thus be more likely to end up in a junk yard sooner than their gasoline powered counterparts, negating any efforts to alter the percentage of hybrids on the roads in any lasting significant way.
The debate between "golf carts" and "land yachts" will continue until we find a way to make it safe to drive smaller cars. I have been in small cars in Europe and Asia and have not seen 1 I would feel comfortable letting my family drive in our traffic. We need to physically seperate small, fuel efficient vehicles (2, 3 or 3 wheels) from the 80,000 pound trucks and the 8,000 pound SUVs. People won't change unless they are motivated. Have a HOV type lane only for the smaller cars, tax the larger vehicles and/or tax credits for the new technology.
i just purchased a 2008 honda civic hybrid. i paid only $16,000. i now get 54 miles per gallon. do the math! before this i had a nissin 200sx, even in that i got 33 mpg. if you want to help improve the planet by reducing your carbon footprint, try a hybird or even a car that gets over 30mph. hopefully, my next car will be totally electric. the oregon state senate is trying to push through a hybrid tax on the citizens of oregon. i'm not too sure how this will impact the future of these cars here in oregon...
The Total cost of a gallon of gas is significantly higher than the pump price. Oil firms receive our tax dollars for: exploring, drilling, tool development, pumping, transporting, refining, and delivery to the retailer. In addition a huge part of the Defense Budget is for securing oil sources for the whole industrial world. Health costs due to bad air and water are likely $1 Trillion a year or more. Finally there is the incredible damage to our small atmosphere being used as a dump for CO2 which is now known and an urgent area for attention. A study was done in California ten years ago when gas was only $1.80/gal that said the actual cost of a gallon of gas was between $7 and $19. Today, with no alternative, we are being raped at over $4 per gallon. SO... are HYBRIDs and ELECTRICs cheaper than gas vehicles? YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY THEY ARE !!!!
Approaching 3 years in our 2008 Prius (this June 21). We seem to average around 48 MPG. I get over 50 driving around town. My wife has a heavier foot and rarely engages the so called stealth mode so averages somewhat less. Battery life should be at least 10 years. Toyota is very conservative with charge-discharge parameters so the battery pack never goes above 80% or less than 20% capacity. Wish I had a little more power in electric mode but with a light foot and not running the A/C compressor I can accelerate up to 40 mph. At 41 mph the engine will fire up unless I'm going downhill. The car is hardly a golf cart and could function as a primary family vehicle. With gas now over $4 a gallon in Western NY and likely to be in the $5 per gallon range this summer the worthiness factor will only continue to increase! So, if continuing to send our dollars to governments that hate our guts and work to undermine our country gives you a warm feeling, then enjoy it while you can. I'm already on the waiting list for the plug in Prius!
While there's probably a lot of "feel good" to owning a hybrid, no sensible, educated person would buy one to save money or save the environment. We'd be much better off punch holes in the ground to become energy independent - that's a sure thing.
Not when I can buy a conventional Honda that gets 40 + mpg for $10,000 less than a Prius. The Honda is affordable with 80 percent of the fuel economy performance for 55 percent of the cost. And to agree with tech-ed, the Honda is better looking. Plus do the math. Is it better for the planet to replace 1,000 cars getting 22 mpg with expensive Priuses getting 50 mpg or replace 100,000 cars getting 22 mpg with affordable cars getting 40 mpg? The smart money for saving the planet is on the lower cost, bigger impact car.
They are not...and as much as I hate to say it, neither are full electrics. The reason they aren't worth the extra money is those damned batteries: by the time your savings equal the initial "green charge" it's time to replace your battery pack. Those things are not cheap. If people had to replace the engine in their gas or diesel vehicles every 3 years then, yes, the hybrid and full electric would be worth the extra initial outlay. Until the energy storage situation improves dramatically, they will not be worth it.
If LPG is in sufficient quantities as in Australia why not run on it instead of petrol, I use LPG to great advantage and put less Carbon into the atmosphere. Eric Hind
Progress? My 2000 Saturn SL got 33 mpg around town & 40 mpg on the expressway till the gasoline got polluted with ethanol. Now I get 30 mpg around town and 39 on the expressway. The Saturn cost $11,000. Could I have 2 fuel efficient cars please? We're going backwards.
Why should I pay $30,000.00 for a golf cart? I have an OLD comfortable car that gets 18-20mpg. If I got 5ompg in line with the hype I would "save" 30mpg or $.20 per mile.. At $4.00 per gallon I need to drive a lot of mile to pay for the golf cart.
15,000 miles per year divided by the Prius 50 MPG equals 300 gallons of gasoline per year...Uh...50MPG? Not quite folks...All the prius owners I've talked to get a very different, disappointing 43MPG combined highway/city! This is closer to 350 gallons of gasoline. This is a 14% difference in cost to what this article claims! But you wanna know what's most sad and disappointing about all these cars? They are all so darn FUGLY! I wouldn't even want to be a passenger in one of these cars for fears of looking like a complete dork! Then there's the outright smugness of these hybrid drivers! Talk about entitled drivers! No...not me thanks! For as long as I can afford to, I will continue to drive my gas-guzzler!...So remember this you tree-huggers...for every gallon you save, and every ton of CO2 you don't put in the atmosphere, I am burning 10 gallons of gas and dumping 100 tons of CO2...You'll never win!
Yes. We bought a Ford Fusion Hybrid. Paid extra for a wrapped warranty, so we are good for 100K miles, including battery. The car is, for lack of a better word, perfect. Never in the shop, just oil changes and tire rotations sofar. It runs great and gets about 38 MPG in mixed driving in the spring through fall, and about 35 MPG winter. Plenty of power, an excellent road car, and great integrated SYNC / Microsoft system.
No. True efficient vehicles get 60+ mpg and run on diesel. Only North Americans have been brainwashed enough to think that 50pmg is good fuel economy.
Are they worth the cost? No. "As gas prices climb though, consumers can earn back that hybrid penalty over a shorter period of time" Yeah, 3.7 years instead of 5, and that's only if you compare the Prius to a Civic, and, as jim77kahn noted, doesn't take in the cost of battery replacement or maintenance. Also, does the claim that if everyone switched to hybrid or electric vehicles we could reduce greenhouse gasses 50% take into account the greenhouse gasses used to produced and ship the vehicles, included the extra emissions used to produce the hybrid and battery technology, as well as the increase in greenhouse gasses required to produce extra electriciy?
No. Batteries are the reason. I doubt if a car with major battery dependence will ever be a true replacement for a gasoline/diesel engine vehicle. Battery replacement will be every 3 to 5 years. That's a several thousand dollar bite for an electric. A thousand dollar bite for a hybride, and a 100 dollar bite for a standard car. High capacity batteries are expensive, and probably always will be. We might be better served with accepting the energy penalty of energy conversion to make some renewable fuel. We just need a good energy source that doesn't replace food production with energy production. Short term hybrids are good for mileage boost. But factor in replacement of the batteries in your costs.
Do the batteries ever need to be replaced, if so how often and how much? This also needs to be part of the calculation, not just the initial cost. The ongoing maintenance also needs to included. There will be other cost differences on maintenance other than the batteries. You need to research this.
Good post! As one of the not-well-to-do, I drive a 14-year old car with nearly 140K miles on it. By most posters here, it could be considered a 3000+ lb land yacht, BUT I get 26-34 mpg and that's because I can't afford more maintenance on it. Most newer and lighter cars still struggle to get that kind of mileage. And another point: notice how the marketing of hybrids has shifted. Due to their higher costs, which practically guarantees they are not worth the premium over conventional vehicles from an economic standpoint, hybrids are being pushed as having "more torque" instead of improving gas mileage. Add to that the fact that many people trade in for new every 2-3 years and any economic advantage disappears in a cloud of logic. People are also traveling farther to work - and to find work - these days. Hybrids lose any MPG advantage on the highway. There are many reasons hybrids CAN BE good cars to use. Economics is a miserably poor one.
This sounds like a gift to big oil. A special tax on hybrids is regressive and counter-productive. Big Oil execs are going to be giving each other high fives if that insane bill passes. I always thought Oregon was a progressive state but I guess politicians are stupid everywhere. It seems the greedier and dumber they are, the faster the rise to the top,
I rather suspect this is the prevailing attitude among most of the land-yacht owners still cruising our roads at highway speeds. Until it changes, the US as a country will never come to grips with our gasoline addiction, the oil companies will continue fattening themselves at our expense, the world will continue to be ruined by degrees, etc. Nice going, there, dudes (and dudettes...can't forget the ladies).
I agree with bill. We also just bought a Honda Insight hybrid. It isn't as fancy as the Fusion, but it gets better mileage. I like them both a lot. $4.00 gas...so what.
It's already been pointed out that diesel mpg can't be directly compared to gasoline because diesel fuel has higher energy and carbon content. But more to the point this obsession with super high MPG numbers is harmful to improving fuel efficiency. Let's say you have a beast of an SUV that gets 10MPG and drive 10K miles in a year. That's 1000 gallons of fuel to drive that car. Now replace that car with something like a minivan or one of the newer crossover vehicles that gets about 20MPG. Now you use 500 gallons of fuel, a savings of 500 gallons. And unless you have a really large trailer that you 'need' to tow, you've probably given up nothing significant. Go from 20MPG to 30MPG and you use 333 gallons of fuel, saving 167 gallons. Even going from 20MPG to 40MPG you save 250 gallons, still a good savings but you give up pretty significant capability (passenger seating, load and towing capacity. Of course if you don't need to seat 7 and their gear, go for it.) And going from 50MPG to 60MPG? You save 33 gallons of fuel in a year. Not that we should stop trying to improve mileage at any point, but convincing virtually everyone to increase to the maximum mileage vehicle that still meets their needs is a much bigger savings in fuel than getting a handful of specially eco-sensitive folks to drive super high mpg vehicles. (And I know people who've chosen to by a Yukon over a Traverse because the traverse would 'only' get 5MPG better mileage. Best change the EPA could make would be to sticker cars with "gallons per 10K miles" rather than MPG.)
I recall that diesel has a fairly higher density for energy than gasoline, just as gasoline is of higher chemical energy content than a partly oxidized fuel like ethanol. I would hope that diesel, containing a higher energy content (and creating a higher CO2 output) would go farther, just like I expect gasoline to go farther than ethanol. And as for being brainwashed, the only brainwashing that is happening is that expecting conventional motored (no energy recovery system), heavy vehicles, typical of the North America car market (nearly all >3000 lbs) to get much over 40 mpg, is goofy. Vehicles need to be lighter as well as more efficient. Efficiency comes in both the ability to get the most motion from the least fuel as well as the ability to recover some of the energy invested in motion for re-use like hybrids do to varying extents.
This is uninformed. I have owned 3 priuses. All with 100k bumper to bumper warranties driven all over the US with no problems and had remarkable trade-in value and protected by Toyota for the hybrid sys longer than what I want to own the car. The BIG issue with hitech is obsolescence because like laptops things change and improve FAST. Buy soon, trade often.
My HCH has been good from a battery standpoint save on one VERY cold morning (-12 F). And even then, the conventional battery and starter on my '06 Civic Hybrid brought the beast on-line. My battery capacity may have decreased some over the 5 yrs 4 months I've owned it, but it is still doing well and delivering >40 mpg in winter (15 - 30 F) and >50 mpg in summers. Now with gas prices climbing again, I don't regret the investment at the time. I too will be happiest to see battery long term reliability improve so that the hybrid cars are reliable with NO reservations so they're more readily accepted. There definitely is the potential to reduce fuel consumption and being able to go the full working life of a vehicle on the original battery pack would take the fear-factor out of the extra up front costs.
Why because it doesn't say Honda or Toyota on the badge? You don't like the tires?? Make your post worth reading by giving FACTS why you wish you didn't have a Ford so we all can learn from it....
CO2 is a necessary part of the Health of the Earth, 3rd grade science class. The Earth is self cleaning, a single volcano puts so much CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere, the use of vehicles has a insignificant impact. I could make up numbers like other posters or should I say (Imposters) And I thouroughly think that conservation of resources is a great thing, ya gotta get over your self! I suppose we through the use of petroleum products caused the Tectonic plates to shift and cause the terrible Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami which was visited upon Japan recently. Our insignificance on the Earth is easy to see when you look at cultures and civilizations which no longer exist. Mayan, Pompeii, etc...Where are all the great species of creatures, ie, Dinosaurs which have become extinct? Mother Earth is in control and she maintains the thermostat and calls the punches, not mankind. Get over yourself. Live by the golden rule and you will have a better quality of life.....
@bill and @Pigweed -- You haven't said anything at all about how much extra it cost to buy your hybrid or how much you save per year. That's what determines whether your hybrids are worth the extra cost -- not how much you like them. Lots of people like non-hybrids too. Isn't the point of these things supposed to be that they save money (or CO2)? Yet people extol the virtues of hybrids without having any clue how much they're saving or even if they're saving any at all. Amazing.
Exactly! Most people are clueless about math and need all the help they can get. When you buy an appliance there's a tag that says how much money it will cost to operate for a year (assuming average usages and electricity prices). That's what we need for cars. The MPG nomenclature hides the fact that there are diminishing returns to increasing efficiency. Try asking people the following question: Which would save more gas: modifying a 15 MPG minivan to get one more MPG, or modifying a 45 MPG compact car to get *10* more MPGs? Improving the minivan saves more gas, of course. Most people would get this wrong.
You haven't said anything remarkable except you changed cars 3 times. How long did you own each car and what was the depreciation on each? Then include financing charges, factor in fuel charges for each, maintenance not covered with the 100K----then tell us how much you saved over a gasoline fueled car..... Finance companies must love you.
Huh ... the Prius has only been out, what 14 years now. And you've gone through 3? That doesn't make much of a case for their long term reliability to me...
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php "Global volcanic CO2 emission estimates are uncertain, but there is little doubt that the anthropogenic CO2 emission rate is more than a hundred times greater than the global volcanic CO2 emission rate. "
Thanks for helping to point out man's complete arrogance! I mean, no, we can't possibly HELP by polluting the planet more, but we should at least recognize that WE are not the be all-end all of Earth's inhabitants! I agree with the Golden Rule because if we all did that, we would have the peace of mind enough to take care of our surroundings and each other! Well said, Larry! Jenn~