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Question for anybody that owns a hybrid vehicle...

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Question for anybody that owns a hybrid vehicle...

Old 08-17-05, 11:09 PM
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Question for anybody that owns a hybrid vehicle...

The only hybrid that I'm familiar with is that of the Toyota Prius, my boss recently bought one. She was super jazzed because it gets something like 50 mpg on the freeway and 60 mpg in town....the estimated annual fuel cost was in the $400 range, thus, it's really cheap to drive around. But is it cheap to operate ? I'd have to imagine that one must take the vehicle to it's original dealership to have maintanance done on it. If this is true, the cost of gas would be offset by the cost of maintaining it...usually, one saves approximately 50% (atleast on the hourly rate) being able to take their vehicle down the dirtroad to Cooter, rather than taking it to a Toyota dealer. But like I said, this is only my perception, if anyone knows otherwise let me know.
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Old 08-17-05, 11:33 PM
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I looked into them very closely before it became obvious that the extra $5k could buy a hell of a lot of gas, even at today's prices. Anyway, you don't have to have them serviced anywhere special. Everything is done just like normal in terms of oil, etc. Though the oil wouldn't need to be changed as often, I probably still would.
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Old 08-18-05, 01:50 AM
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i would bet replacing the batteries are pretty expensive.. but i dont think many people have had them long enough to know the life cycle of the batteries

and the 1700 net tax benefit of owning a hybrid makes it a little more attractive to pay the difference.
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Old 08-18-05, 01:51 AM
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Is a hybrid car really good for your wallet?
With gas at record highs, thrifty car buyers should eye alternatives

By Roland Jones
Business editor
Updated: 6:55 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2005

Billed as the hottest answer to surging gasoline prices, the hybrid car has emerged as a panacea amid America’s automotive-fueled economic anguish. But with the price of gasoline rising to record levels, is a hybrid is really good news for your wallet?

Hybrids like the Toyota Prius or the Honda Insight are certainly among the most fuel-efficient cars now on American roads, clocking up some 40 or 50 miles to the gallon in some tests. And owning a hybrid vehicle also means you’re doing your part for the environment by reducing auto emissions. The vehicles, which run on a bifurcated system using an electric motor and a gasoline engine, significantly reduce smog-forming pollutants and carbon dioxide emissions.

But if you’re concerned about rising gas prices, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a hybrid car is your best bet, according Tom Appel, editor of "Consumer Guide: Automotive," a guide for car buyers. And with the price of retail gasoline surging to a record national average of $2.55 a gallon in the latest week, most consumers are likely thinking more of their financial health than the environment, he notes.

“People are buying hybrids because they like to think they are doing something for the environment, and generally if you burn less fuel you pollute less, but if your main motivation is to save money, the best way to go isn’t necessarily a hybrid,” Appel said.

Consumers who buy a hybrid car may buy less gas and have lower maintenance costs, but insurance costs can offset those savings, and hybrids generally cost more than conventional gasoline cars.

According to a recent study by automotive research Web site Edmunds.com that compared the break-even point of owning and driving a number of popular hybrids against conventional gasoline models, hybrid owners would have to drive thousands of extra miles or pay steep prices for gasoline to make up for the additional cost of a hybrid in five years or less.

One exception is the Toyota Prius. Compared with the similarly-sized Toyota Camry LE, over the first five years of ownership the Camry is expected to cost its owner just $81 more than a Prius.

Edmunds.com estimated that the price of gasoline would have to cost at least $5.60 a gallon for hybrid drivers to break even if they drove 15,000 miles a year over the five years. But even though the cost of gasoline is now at about $2.50, car shoppers shouldn’t be too complacent according to Phil Reed, consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com.

“My feeling is anyone shopping for a car now should make the question of fuel economy a big issue because the availability of oil in the future is uncertain,” Reed said. “Don’t buy a car thinking it's acceptable today; one day it could be your hedge against high fuel costs.”

Consumers who want to save money at the gas pump would do well to carefully research their alternatives, notes Appel, as there are a number of smaller, fully gasoline-powered cars on the market that can be friendlier to a wallet squeezed by high gas prices.

A case in point is the Honda Civic Hybrid. While the Civic Hybrid managed a long-term vehicle average of 38.3 miles per gallon in Consumer Guide tests, a regular Honda Civic EX model with manual transmission, which is cheaper than the hybrid version, clocked up 32.5 miles per gallon — that’s excellent fuel economy, Appel notes.

“With a nearly $2,500 price difference between the two models, these figures show you’re not much better off with a hybrid,” Appel said. “Even if we had gasoline prices move up to $3 per gallon it would take a long time offset that price difference.”

Civic Hybrid drivers may also be short-changed when it comes to performance. While the Civic EX can get from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 9.4 seconds, the Hybrid only manages to get to 60 in 11.6 seconds said Appel. “It’s a serious lag; when you cross the 10 second line you cross the line between fun and practical,” he said. “The EX is fun to drive, but the hybrid certainly is not,” he added.

For some, hybrids may still be a cost-effective option. A hybrid car should pay for itself with significant fuel economy gains as long as it is kept for a number of years, analysts say, and can be thought of as an insurance against volatility in the gasoline market. But if a car owner is planning on leasing a hybrid for a few years, they are less likely to recoup the loss of their investment.

But hybrid owners could soon see some significant pay back for going green. According to a report by the not-for-profit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, buyers of hybrid vehicles are likely to receive tax breaks ranging from $250 to $3,150 as a result of the new federal energy bill recently signed into law by President Bush that encourages the use of fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles.

The bill has some shortcomings, however. Credits for a manufacturer’s vehicles begin to diminish and eventually disappear once 60,000 of them are sold — a number that is a fraction of the roughly 17 million cars sold each year in the United States.

A cheaper alternative to gasoline powered cars are diesel-powered vehicles, which are gaining popularity in Europe where gas prices are high. But emission standards in a number of U.S. states prevent the wider adoption of these cars in the Unites States, says Phil Reed of Edmunds.com. A diesel hybrid is also likely in the future, he notes, and would be an attractive option for some car consumers.

Another way to save on gas prices is to drive less aggressively.

In a recent Edmunds.com study, a Ford Mustang driven aggressively over a 55-mile loop — with sharp accelerations and hard braking — managed 18.1 miles to the gallon, while the same car driven over the same track with a more moderate driving style clocked up 23 miles to the gallon, a 27-percent improvement.

“The other big fuel saver is cruise control,” Reed said. “We got a 4.5-percent improvement in the Mustang just by using cruise control. So when you’re thinking of saving money on gas it pays to watch the way you drive and not be too aggressive.”
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Old 08-18-05, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by twikoff
i would bet replacing the batteries are pretty expensive.. but i dont think many people have had them long enough to know the life cycle of the batteries

and the 1700 net tax benefit of owning a hybrid makes it a little more attractive to pay the difference.

Isn't it like $3,000 for a new battery? I don't know if that includes labor.
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Old 08-18-05, 10:03 AM
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I think it is fairly obvious that you don't do hybrid for saving $$. You do it if it make you feel you are helping the environment.

However, I believe hybrid (alternative in general) is in it's infancy. Hopefully in just a few years you will consider alternative power/hybrid just like any other item on a car like auto transmission, A/C, etc.
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Old 08-18-05, 04:53 PM
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If you are dumping tons of lead acid batteries into a land fill every 5 years, are you really helping the enviroment by driving a hybrid?

The only benefit I see is that hybrids in my state with special hybrid plates can ride in the HOV lanes with any number of passengers.

You want to save money, the environment, etc, etc buy a 600cc motorcycle and drive it gently
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Old 08-18-05, 06:45 PM
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If you really want to help the enviornment you should buy a place close to work and ride you bike.
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