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What's your reason for buying a Hybrid?



  • Why buy diesel...It is my understanding you can get a special gas tank that allows you to use ANY fuel in your car...Diesel, Gas, Bio, anything....I believe the army has used such vehicles for years...

    Maybe a Hybrid Diesel would make sense?...If they can put a hybrid motor in a 4000 lb LS....They could probably do it in a lighter VW...Or Mercedes for that matter.
  • Falconone,

    Accord gets around 27.1 mpg at a steady 80 mph on relatively flat highway. As you know the square of the wind velocity causes drag on every vehicle hybrid or not, but you 40+ at 80 is great! At steady 65 mpg I get 32-33 mpg. I get a little higher, but haven't been able to measure 55 mph or go that slow for very long ( that even slows down the rightmost lane). I can get my best mileage at around 40 mph , running about 1,300 rpm in 6th gear.

    Yes, I am one of the rare 10% , but I understand the way the GEARS in the planetary CVT on the Prius HSD system are with the MG1, MG2, and drive shaft all participating doesn't make a maual shift feasible.

    And yes the CVT would be the way to go in an automatic, you could always stay in the sweet part of the torque cureve!

    Hope you enjoy your Prius!


  • spideyspidey Posts: 12
    For me, it was a spur of the moment decision. I had a 2005 MINI Cooper S with Steptronic automatic transmission. The car was a great performer. The problem is living in Los Angeles, where you don't have too many chances to really allow a car to open up. Also, according to the MINI's trip computer, I was averaging about 17 MPG from the day I brought it home until the day I sold it.

    I saw the 2006 Honda Civic in pictures and thought it was okay. Then I saw it in person, and fell in love. I put a $500 deposit on a Magnetic Pearl Hybrid w/Nav...and haven't looked back.

    I love the idea of being able to use the HOV lanes driving solo here in California with certain Hybrids, the Civic being one. I love the idea of doubling my gas mileage. I love the idea of a Nav unit. I love the idea of a car that can seat four comfortably. I love the idea of thinking I'm doing something to aid the environment.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    That's excellent mileage. I guess that 6th gear is quite tall to achieve those good mileage numbers. Hondas usually are quite thrifty with their mileage from what I can see. At least we know that you're not using a cell phone and drinking a venti vanilla latte with that 6 speed!! ;)
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    LA Times article on the Honda Civic Hybrid

    "Pull out your calculators. Let's say I was interested in a 2006 Honda Civic — because, well, I am — and I was debating between the sedan and the hybrid. With a navigation system, the hybrid costs $23,350; a similarly equipped Civic EX sedan costs $20,560. The hybrid premium equals $2,790.

    The combined fuel economy of the non-hybrid is 35 mpg; the hybrid, 50 mpg, a theoretical difference of 15 mpg. In five years of average driving (15,000 miles per year), I would save 643 gallons, or $1,929 (assuming a gas price of $3 per gallon), with the hybrid. Combined with the current tax deduction (a savings of $580 in my tax bracket) I recoup 90% of the hybrid premium in five years. If I were to buy the Honda Civic hybrid in January 2006, the numbers look even better. The federal tax deduction becomes a credit worth $2,100. Combined with my fuel savings I actually come out about $1,200 ahead."

    Now, put your calculators away, because the point is not whether I, or you, will recoup penny-for-penny the hybrid investment, since the compensations are not exclusively monetary. The hybrid haters actually have a valid point when they declaim the technology as touchy-feely. Its appeal is emotional, but that's not the same as irrational.

    The reason hybrid cars are flying off dealers' lots is not because they make such a galvanizing financial brief. It's because people of goodwill, conservative and liberal, are growing weary of the moral calculus of gasoline. What people are learning is that private choices have public consequences. Sure, I'll make my money back, but the more important thing is the 643 gallons of liquid crack I will save. Now that's conservative.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    hear, hear.. well written and accurate... a press article that gets it..

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Well yes and no. Shorterm he gets it, longterm, not so good----conservation cannot solve America's future energy problems or even slow them down IMO. Do the math here---We use 25% of the earth's fossil fuels and we own only 3% of them. So we have to buy what we don't own, and being a finite resource, it will cost more and more as it gets scarcer. And we use more and more every year regardless, at least so far.

    I have no idea how you go from 25% to 3%, but it's not happening from improving gas mileage 25%. It won't even make a dent in our energy needs longterm nor will it, IMO, lower the cost of energy in the future--again, because we don't control the sources.

    However, the article does have one very valid point---good reason to buy a hybrid? --hybrids on a large scale can improve things environmentally, which can translate into economic benefit.

    This would be, for me, the only logical motivation should I choose to buy one.

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  • katzjamrkatzjamr Posts: 146
    Well said larsb, we are financing repressive governments in the middle east with each oil and gas purchase and the average person there is well aware of it. Conserving fuel and driving a hybrid is what i can do now as my small part in the scheme of things.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    >Do the math here---We use 25% of the earth's fossil fuels and we own only 3% of them. So we have to buy what we don't own, and being a finite resource, it will cost more and more as it gets scarcer. And we use more and more every year regardless, at least so far.

    Good point. I wasnt aware of that discrepancy in purchase vs ownership but it makes sense. Every step helps tho no matter how small. Hell revolutions have started by throwing tea in the water or refusing to give up a seat on a bus.

    But I am still a skeptic. No matter how efficient we eventually become in using fossil fuel to move us about I see the price of oil accelerating just as fast as consumption goes down. Why? Is Big Oil just going to sit by an let us, the puny consumers, drive them out of business? Not likely. If we succeed in getting everyone into a Hybrid and cutting consumption by 50% I'd see the price of oil/gas/fuel going up by 100% or more to compensate.

    Big Oil's main goal, correctly in a free market, is to maximize consumption and profit for its shareholders. It's a business. It should be a responsible free marketer but that's a characteristic not a main goal.

    With this scenario the faster the conversion to more efficient usage happens then the faster fuel goes up and the BIGGER the penalty becomes for less efficient vehicles which then fuels a quicker conversion to more efficient vehicles. Now the snowball is really moving. If fuel goes to $4/gal.. or $5/gal.. Yikes :D

    Fuel for thought so to speak.

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    That's my point. There are none other your ego. A hybrid as it stands, especially the Pruis, is no savings at all when you factor in the extra cost(basically a wash), and the batteries in it tip the balance against it when you consider the chemicals and metals in them.

    You should just buy a 40-45mpg normal vehicle.

    If you want to get that 25% down to 5-10%, it's simple - biodiesel. Even converting our commercial fleets and semis to run on the stuff would save billions in foriegn oil costs.(let alone the angst and wars and so on)

    Nothing else will - because every other technology requires nasty chemicals, expensive and toxic catalysts, is unsafe in a crash, or takes more energy to produce the fuel than you gain back. Only diesel will work - because you get a 3:1 return on your energy costs when producing most oils. And it requires nothing to be imported.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    There are virtually no diesel choices in this country for consumers. They are BANNED in five states! Hybrids are here to stay and a wonderful alternative. People are embracing the technology and I have one on order.
  • beantownbeantown Posts: 228
    IMO - hybrids alone won't really reduce that 25% very much....but that number would get a LOT closer to 3% if (1) cities and towns stopped allowing builders to construct residential houses with more than 3,500 - 4,000 sq ft, (2) everyone put in new, energy efficient windowns and doors in their houses and had their heating system serviced every year, and (3) people in and around cities walked or rode bikes more, considering over half of the trips people take in their cars are less than 5 miles [where fuel use is most inefficient and where hybrids really don't help all that much].

    All that can be accomplished for less than the premium for most hybrids AND we'd end this country's obesity problem. If people really want to do their part, it can't stop at just buying a hybrid.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Hybrids will have minimal if any impact at all. The people that get them (including me) will reap the benefits of having a reliable vehicle with great gas mileage with super low emissions. If I were not getting the Prius, I would have been purchasing an Infiniti M35x so I ended up saving money!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Big Oil's main goal, correctly in a free market, is to maximize consumption and profit for its shareholders. It's a business. It should be a responsible free marketer but that's a characteristic not a main goal.

    Your post is a very good view of reality. Hybrids may benefit the few that purchase them. It will have very little impact on the price of fuel. More than likely it will raise gas prices and highway taxes to keep the status quo.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    What happened to the companies who made a ton of money on Horses and Carriages back in the 1700s/1800s? They either went out of business or found another way to make money.

    Same thing for the Railroad Barons of the 1800s/1900s - they lost business to the cars and trucks when the highway system was built, and they either merged and created a smaller, more efficient company or went out of business.

    That is the eventual destiny of the "Big Oil" companies too. When fossil fuel no longer is in sufficient supply, they will be FORCED to spend money on alternative energy sources and find ways to make money again, or they will go out of business.

    Hybrids WILL eventually, far more than they do today, cut into consumption. When higher gas prices and more hybrids on the road combine with the current trend of people DUMPING SUVs, consumption will go down as inevitably as the decline of our oil supply. :D
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Very good point. It will be interesting to see how well the Camry hybrid is embraced. I have a feeling it will do VERY well. Companies have to adapt as evidenced by the telephone companies. Now they're branching out to VoIP, broadband etc. The oil companies will have to do the same.
  • There is another aspect of buying a hybrid, a reason that may fall in Hybrid’s court:

    Let’s assume the background is this: hybrid costs more than its comparable ICE cousin at $5k-$10k at purchase, but the savings in gas only amounts to $1,000/yr. So it takes awhile to break even (ignoring Uncle Sam’s incentives).

    From the stand point of a small business owner who depends on a vehicle to run his/her business and racks up a lot of miles doing so, it makes financial sense to go with a hybrid because the actual cost of the hybrid can always be DEFERRED somewhat into the future, by way of a car loan spreading over 3-6 years. This means you don’t pay the whole cost immediate, only a small portion of it from month to month.

    This happens while you are avoiding a gas expense of $60 every 2-3 days (case of the ICE cousin) in favor of a $20+ gas expense every 6-8days. It may only amount to $1000/yr difference but it lightens the short term load of expenses.

    Look at the small business owner who is taking on a project, for which he won’t get paid until it is finished (could be a year away). Short term, he incurs weekly expenses. A good practice is to defer all costs out to the future as long as possible, to a point when you have money to pay them, as you minimize short term expenses as much as possible.

    There are many cases like this, a contractor or a real estate agent. Take the realtor’s case, there are over 1M realtors in the U.S. Realtors incur the daily expense of taking many people around all day. They only get paid at closings, which could be months to over a year away (in case of new constructions). Even at that, the actual closings of properties are not all that certain, lots of risks. Tons of realtors leave the real estate business because they can not weather daily expense for extended periods.

    The point is, if it is critical to minimize short term expenses then Hybrids may fit the bill. Hybrid can also be an "ice"-breaker conversationally.
  • Yes.

    I've always asked 'Why do we have to wait to now?' Why didn't we have 30mpg-40mpg vehicles back in the 1970s? We used to laugh at the Japanese for making puny cars.

    There is a deeper issue that Americans want to look good and that has been defined by driving BIG cars. Making low price gas only feed that mentality.

    And then there is another egotistical mentality that 'if I make more money than you then I should drive bigger and more powerful cars than you', and have a right to waste more resources than you. It's a combination of the ME generation and the NOW generation.

    The hybrids and other low gas mileage challenge that kind of thinking. There is significant push back.

    It may take multiple generations to change that mentality.

    I believe that the "BIG car" and the "BIG oil" companies will do what we tell them to do, but it is difficult to resist their additive products. They claim that they only make what we will buy.

    Higher gas prices will be good for America long term. Short term, it will create hardship on less moneyed people.
  • Looking at safety and reliability, I could not find anything in the price range of the Prius. Fuel savings is a monetary bonus, but not having to find gas every 3 days is the big incentive.

    Safety: I looked at the NHTSA and IIHS data for a number of popular cars inc. the Camry, Jetta, Xa, Accord and Avalon, plus the Prius and Passat tests from Europe.

    Fuel Prices: I graphed fuel cost for my use of 18,000 miles per year at $3-$6 per gallon for cars with 20 (my Passat), 30 (Scion Xa) and 45 MPG for the Prius.

    Adding the purchase price of the vehicle to the operating cost, at about $2.50/gal all are approximately equal. $3 gas gives a small advantage to the Prius, which increases as prices rise...but the $3,000 tax credit make the Prius the winner in any event.

    The 'Other Factor' is the possibility of shortages/rationing. Prius and a 55 Gal drum of gas means no problems no matter what, inc. no electricity at the service stations in a disaster.

    That works for me. Maybe not for others, depending on needs.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I am confused with respect to how people are computing the hybrid "premium" with respect to the Prius. I consider the Prius a bargain with all its content. When you factor in the 3k tax credit.... it makes it even MORE of a bargain!
  • I think it's a bargain myself !!

    That's $5k premium is for the 400h.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I think the RH400 is nice but no one should consider it if their sole purpose is to recoup the add'l cost over the RX330. It is NOT going to happen. I still think it's an incredible achievement to have a 4000lb plus vehicle with a high Cd that easily gets high 20's on the highway. I think the 50k cost is way too high. I can buy 2 Prius for that!!!
  • stanny1stanny1 Posts: 962
    In 2003 I leased an Infiniti FX45. Great idea when gas was alot cheaper. 13 mpg, Premium required, 20" tires at $1200 a set every 18k.
    When gas went to over $3, and with Premium here going up to 40 cents above regular in San Diego (we have super expensive gas here and always have), and driving 20k every year as a real estate broker, I started doing the numbers. I'm no PBS Yuppie, or Hollywood hippocrit - it's all a matter of numbers.
    I got my 05 Super White Prius with #6 for $29,700 including $300 over MSRP in Early Sept (some dealers now want $3000 over MSRP, and the lines getting longer for the 2006 tax credit and HOV lane bonus).
    At over 40 miles per gallon on regular gas, the $555 payment on the Prius is partially offset by the $250 monthly gas savings by not driving the FX45. It's so nice spending less that $25 to fill up the Prius every 1.5 weeks instead of filling the FX45 (over $60 every week). Not to mention the other expenses on the FX (more frequent service, tires and higher insurance). As soon as the FX lease is up, I'm going for a second Prius!
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Good for you!! I didn't realize the FX got such poor mileage. Was the price you paid including tax and everything? I thought the list price + 300 ADM should take you in mid 27k territory. I am waiting until Jan to take advantage of the tax credit. You're going to LOVE your Prius!! Good luck!
  • One of the many things that makes America the Greatest country on Earth is that unlike Socialist countries...We are not forced to drive puny cars...We we are able to buy and drive what we WANT....

    Because of that American trate to consume, To strive for Luxury and not just substance...Our economy Grows..Our people prosper...If necessary our people invent what it takes to get what we want...If we run out of oil we will find a way to burn Water...if necessary.
  • Thinking more about it, it's not limited to us. Rich people in other countries would want to buy huge vehicles, too. It's a statement.

    Statements as such as a personal cost, small to some and larger to other. And there's also a social cost. I don't think we are in control as much as we feel or as we think: just a more localized event of a hurricane ended up causing a shock to our gas supply, thus economy. Imagine what the Saudis can do to get us on our knee. (off topic, sorry).

    I hope we find a way to burn water soon.
  • "Big Oil". It is quite obvious the people enumerating opions about "BigOuL" have only a very perfideral view at best of what really drives an Oil Company. Don't you aready think ther are looking for bettery recovery, new sources, altenate energy, and more cost effective ways to produce oil and oil products. To compare the oil industry with the railroad industry is a pretty far stretch. The railroad industry was pretty myoptic and outspoken that railroad was "king" and nothing would ever replace it.

    Hybrids are still a niche, but are becoming more accepted, yet they still account for less than 1% of new vehicle sales and even less than that if you look at the entire set of vehicles being driven. Let's go back to the figures that were presented, the US make 3% of the oil and uses 25%. That is not exactly true, because almost all major and even many minor oil compnaies are international. Much of big oil is already being produced by US oweenrship internationally which means thge 3% is probably more like 10%; but let's use the 3%.

    Let's say a national law was declared and not cars other than Prius could be driven and that Toyota merged .with GM and Ford. So the end result is that the average mileage wnet from 10 mpg to 50 mpg and the US used only 1/5 of what it does now. Hey that gets us to 5% still producing 3% only using 67% more than being produces. It should be obviuos that hybrid, Prius or whatever, is not the answer. Hybrid is the current stop-gap answer. It sounds good,but has no real depth.

    Simlarly hydrogen sounds good until you find out how much it costs to produce and how new hydrogen filling stations would have to be designed. Huyrogen is very eplosive so the transport and storage will require extensive safety features.

    Then there is diesel; probably a better long term solution.

    But maybe the best is nuclear, true mass transportation and telecommuting.

    It is amazing the number of people that buy the Prius, HCH, HAH as a "green" car and then change thier oil at 3,000 miles. Sure seems like an oxymoron to me.

    Hybrids are popular now, just like 4-cylinder turbos were in the mid-70s. But what about 5 years from now, just think a mini-nuclear reactor car that has fuel for the life of the car included, no fill-ups!

    Hybrids are still a niche until they have over 5% of the market! Even at 5% their impact will be minimal.


    MidCow - driving a performance economy coupe!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Hybrids WILL eventually, far more than they do today, cut into consumption. When higher gas prices and more hybrids on the road combine with the current trend of people DUMPING SUVs, consumption will go down as inevitably as the decline of our oil supply.
    As midnight said above, the problem is that the amount we use would have to drop to something like 300mpg for it to really be a situation where we didn't have to import any oil from OPEC. Hybrids are full of batteries as well, which are a hazard to recycle and produce(though not a tenth as awful as most fuel cells impact).

    We need to make vehicles that run off of renewable resources, which means plants. The Diesel engine was made to originally run on soybean oil. He saw the future problems of a non-sustainable resource. the oil companies kludged their gasoline formulas so that it could be used in the engine. With about 2/3 the efficiency.

    It's actually not the cars that are causing our current problem, but our transportation serveices that run on diesel fuel with little or no emissions controls. One train or cargo ship will pollute tens of thousands of times more than a Prius per hour. Most small boats for instance, average maybe 1-2MPG. Big Rigs maybe ten if they are lucky. Large cargo ships? It's gallons per mile. Converting them over would make a huge impact.

    The reality is that we need to switch to alternatives other than oil to power our industries and vehicles. A hybrid is merely a very tiny step in the right direction by an industry that's dragging its feet.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Let's forget for a minute that the first gen Prius and Insight even were here before 2004. Their numbers were miniscule. In just two years time, the Prius has become much more than a niche vehicle. When you're selling over 100,000 units just in the NA market, you're not a niche car anymore. With the advent of the Ford, Honda and Toyota hybrids, there will be many more hybrids on the road. Give it time, then you'll see the impact. I'm glad to be a part of the minority. Midnight... your continued participation is refreshing as well as encouraged. You ended up buying a non-hybrid but still enjoy participating positively in the hybrid discussions. Bravo!! Maybe we can special order a 6speed Prius for ya!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    It sounds like big numbers to us, but General Motors probably loses more cars than that in shipping. It's a niche by auto industry standards but not if you are selling motorhomes.

    It's not an infinitely expandable market is, I think, the point. But it has room to grow you are right about that.

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