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Hybrids the Real Payback



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    You also forget the increased initial cost of the Prius. That you pay a lot more money, plus interest, plus insurance, plus registration and taxes... It's not a 4-5 year difference. It's 10+.

    Corolla: 31mpg avg.
    Prius: 46mpg avg.
    (re-tested EPA figures)

    That's a 32.6% increase. Figure you drive 20,000 miles. To drive 20,000 miles($3 a gallon - note, higher gas prices help your Prius efficiency argument):

    Corolla: 645 gallons
    Prius: 435 gallons
    Net savings: 210 gallons. $630 a year.

    Prices(cars direct, los angeles):
    Top-end Corolla LE(with automatic added): Net Cost: $13,964
    Base Prius: CarsDirect Price: $21,592

    Note, this is the top-end Corolla, too - not the stripper CE which is $12,419 with stickshift.

    21,592 - 13,964 = $7,628. That's 12 years just to recoup the base price alone. Add in the other expenses and it's 15+ years at 20K miles a year.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Apples to apples is good. That's why all the EPA ratings I quoted were the revised 2008 ones.
    The original EPA estimates on hybrids were way too high. So it is the hybrids which have had their mileage estimates reduced the most under the 2008 standards.
    The owners of those ICE cars who get 40+ real world figures on the highway also know their cars return that MPG. They have experienced and calculated it, maybe even more accurately than your 10 second computer does. I have, in real world figures, exceeded EPA highway figures at 75 mph and higher with ICE, with a full load and A/C running in both of my cars. If I can do it, why can't they?
    Your 47 mixed claim is above the EPA numbers. Why do you doubt ICE owners mileage accomplishments?
    The tax credit is very interesting. For a person able to use the credit, it certainly should be figured in as an advantage for the hybrid.
    A Civic compared to an Elantra is not a bad comparison. Many people compare the two and choose the Elantra.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Hybrid cars use their electric motors in all phases of driving. During acceleration from a stop, climbing an uphill grade, etc. the battery kicks in and saves gas. Then the battery recharges itself during deceleration and coasting down hills.

    Here's an experiment that I'd like to see done. Take a Prius and go 300 miles on I-10 Through Texas at 65 mph. Now take this car and somehow disable the hybrid systems and drive the same 300 miles. Would the one with the hybrid system intact get better mileage? If so I would really like to know how? I'm not saying it's impossible I'm just saying I don't understand how it can be possible.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    I have an even better test. Take that same trip with a Prius driving at 75 MPH so you do not get run over on I10. Then take a Prius with that same gas engine and a CVT dumping the 400-500LBs of hybrid stuff and see what mileage you would get. I don't think it would be near enough difference to justify the $5000+ worth of hybrid components. In these comparisons with other cars the CD drag of the Prius is left out. That is significant at higher speeds.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Better go 85 or 90 if you don't want to get run over. In west Texas, I think the daytime speed limit is 80 mph on I-10.

    And what is CD drag? Do you mean coefficient of drag drag? That would be wind resistance. It does not vary with weight. But yeah, other things being equal, a lighter car should get better fuel economy.

    Where the hybrid really shines is in town when a lot of accelerating away from dead stops is done. In that case, if only the electric motor is used, the gas mileage should be WAY better than a car with only an ICE.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    The original EPA estimates were too high for ALL CARS, not only hybrids. Check the old vs. new figures for yourself.

    And claiming that owners of i.c.e. cars calculate their mpg better than my hybrid's computer? Get real.

    Guys, how many times do I need to say this?

    My 47 mpg figure is what I get every day, everywhere -- NOT JUST HIGHWAY. I understand that SOME i.c.e. cars can exceed EPA numbers SOMETIMES. But "sometimes" means nothing in the real world. Comparing anomolies with the every day numbers that hybrids turn out truly is apples to oranges!

    As for the experiment that involves disabling the hybrid's batteries then comparing mpg, the EPA already effectively did that. They drove the Honda Civic and the Civic Hybrid. You can see the figures for both at

    The regular Civic gets 25/36, and the Civic Hybrid gets 40/45.

    The regular Civic's MSRP is $19,510. The Civic Hybrid's MSRP is $22,600.

    The hybrid gets 40% more mpg, and costs 16% more than the i.c.e. Civic. That extra $3,100 for the hybrid works out to an extra $89 per month on a 36 month payment schedule. The hybrid will save the average (15,000 miles per year) driver $40 per month in gasoline. So the Civic Hybrid owner pays a net extra $1,800 over three years to buy the hybrid. However, he receives an immediate $2,100 income tax credit when he purchases the hybrid.

    Hybrids are a good deal!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    I know, I realized my double after I posted. My point being the Prius is very good at slipping through the air. How well would it do as an ICE only car without all the Hybrid crap?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    Down through the years there have been many cars that would get 45+ MPG. Including the Honda CRX. Which is a lot more fun to drive than any hybrid. There are several VW TDI models that the owner get high 40s day in and day out.

    Lastly if you trust the on board computer for mileage reading and think it is better than calculated, It isn't.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    It is better, but I also calculate my own mileage, too, just for fun.

    Here, you try it:

    My last tank got me 540 miles and the re-fill took 11.3 gallons of gas. I filled it until the second time the nozzle clicked off, so you know it was a complete fill.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    As for the experiment that involves disabling the hybrid's batteries then comparing mpg, the EPA already effectively did that

    My background is in engineering. Not automotive but we all learn the same physics. The only way the hybrid can get better mileage on the highway than the ICE is by using its electric motor. Since this electric motor gets its power from a battery pack that requires that it is more efficient for the ICE to charge the battery pack than use this energy for propulsion. That's the sticking point that I can't get around. I'm really not interested in the highway mileage your getting; I'm sure it's very good. I'm interested in someone providing a plausible explanation of how hybrid technology was necessary in achieving this highway mpg.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Here are the mpg figures from :

    1990 Honda Civic CRX HF -- 36 city / 44 hwy

    This car is a two-seater with a manual transmission. It doesn't compare to the Civic Hybrid, a four-door sedan with a CVT automatic.

    However, it DOES compare to the Honda Insight, another two-seat car that even looks similar. The insight gets 48/58 -- 30% better.

    2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI -- 30 city / 38 hwy

    You can only buy the 2006 model, because the federal gov't enacted tougher diesel emission requirements for 2007, and the TDI doesn't meet them. But this car is a better comparison to the Civic Hybrid because it has four doors and an automatic.

    However the VW's MSRP is $21,600 vs the 2007 Civic Hybrid's $22,600. The VW saves you $1000, but gets 30% worse mpg. Diesel currently costs 20 cents per gallon less than gasoline (7%), but that difference doesn't offset the hybrids superior efficiency.

    Incidentally, I paid $21,400 for my 07 Civic Hybrid ($1200 below msrp). I hear that the 06 TDIs are selling for above msrp because of limited availability. I can't confirm that, but if it's true, then any comparison would skew further in favor of the hybrid.

    Face it guys: HYBRIDS ROCK !!!
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Yeah, check the numbers. The hybrids had their EPA numbers reduced more on a percentage basis than most ICE cars. The hybrids were WAY off before 2008.
    A calculator held in hand dividing miles per fill-up by the number of gallons pumped into the tank IS MORE ACCURATE than dashboard computers. There have been dozens of people who have attested to that in here. So get real!
    Your real world gas mileage is no more valid than ICE owners real world every day gas mileage. Not every hybrid owner gets the same mileage as you claim. Hybrid owners may sometimes get higher than EPA numbers. Sometimes they get less too, just like ICE owners.
    MSRPs really don't mean much. It is the actual selling prices that matter. But yes, looking at your figures it appears Honda Civics at MSRP are way overpriced. I have come to that conclusion many times. Is that what you were showing?
    The EPA did not run a test similar to what the poster was mentioning. Why? Because the Civic Hybrid gas motor is a 1.3 liter, 93 horsepower motor. The regular Civic has a 1.8 liter motor making 140 horsepower.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    The Civic Hybrid can get better mileage on the highway (even when its electic motor is not contributing power) than a regular Civic because the hybrid's gas motor is only a 1.3 liter 93 HP motor, not the regular 1.8 liter, 140 HP motor of the regular Civic.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Yeah, that is a good question. The Prius is a slippery car through the air.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Of course when other taxpayers all chip in to help you buy your car, that does tend to reduce its cost to you.
    I wonder if anyone out there paying taxes resents subsidizing your new car purchase?
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Taxpayers are free to resent my $2,100 tax credit.

    I'm free to resent the $100,000 accelerated depreciation tax credits that business owners of Hummers receive.

    We can all find things to resent in the U.S. tax code.

    Some people can find things to resent about hybrids.

    But the numbers don't lie.

  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Tax code sucks! No argument from me about that.

    Ok, sure, hybrids on average get much better gas mileage than most ICE cars. But at a cost.
    For a person who drives 15,000 miles a year or less the hybrid just does not make much sense so far as I can see.
    I'd buy that Elantra Limited instead. It's a nicer car too.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "Civic Hybrid gas motor is a 1.3 liter, 93 horsepower motor. The regular Civic has a 1.8 liter motor making 140 horsepower."

    OOOPS!! You forgot to include the hybrid's electric motor power output in your comparison. Here are the real numbers:

    2007 Honda Civic -- 140 hp / 128 ft.-lb. torque

    2007 Civic Hybrid -- 110 hp / 123 ft.-lb. torque

    Much more than 93 horsepower, and nearly identical torque to the i.c.e. Civic. Anyway, the mpg numbers remain superior for the hybrid, no matter what speed you drive.

  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    yeah, I know about the electric motor, but the poster was wondering what the car would do on highway mpg without the electric motor. I was showing the little motor SHOULD get better mpg with or without the electric kicking in on the highway. That's what he was wondering about, but the difference in ICE makes the comparison lopsided.

  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    The EPA testifies that the Civic hybrid gets 49 mpg in city driving and 51 on the highway. But those numbers are rarely achieved. To get mileage in the high-40-mpg range requires gradual acceleration, timid cruising speeds, and cautious use of the throttle. Suffer a short lapse in concentration or accelerate immoderately, and fuel economy will suffer. Fact is, to do this right, you will drive more slowly than you ever have.
    Operating the hybrid to get the best fuel economy reveals little from a driving-dynamics standpoint. You’re not going to read here about how the Civic understeers (it does) or lift-throttle oversteers because the car’s performance isn’t tied to speed. Instead, our intention is to explain what the hybrid can do and how to do it. Over about 1000 miles of mostly highway driving and with a variety of uncaring editors who cheated their way through ninth-grade algebra, we got 40 mpg, far short of the EPA figures
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Civic Hybrid has strange interior and exterior design, uncomfortable front seats, occasional whirring and beeping noises, and is slow.
    Honda has decided not to offer adjustable lumbar support; the result feels as if the small of your back were resting on a Duraflame log. It’s uncomfortable to the point of being a deal breaker.
    In a hybrid, the trick is to drive like a grandmother. You have to accelerate away from a stop slowly enough to minimize the role of the gasoline engine and maximize the role of the electric motor. Very simply, hybrids use an electric motor as a supporting source of power that doesn’t require gasoline, and that’s the whole point. Indeed, a Toyota Prius can pull away from a stop using only its electric motor, although the Civic hybrid cannot.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    Just as the EPA was off on Hybrids it is off on diesels the other direction. Many Jetta TDI owners are getting in the 45-50 MPG range. Just as you have posted your mileage and I believe you, I also believe them. When faced with the complexity and the CVT transmission failures from Honda, I would say a person would not see a payback on owning a hybrid vs a VW TDI. Especially over the long haul of 8-10 years. Too many things with the hybrid drive system to fail. All high cost replacement items. You are right that many of the limited number of 2006 Jetta TDI models are bringing MSRP and above. It is supply and demand. I can remember people paying $35k for an Accord Hybrid. Now they are selling for $10k less. Makes the resale very poor. Another downside to hybrids as they reach the end of the warranty is a big loss of value. I hope yours pays off and it is good car that you are happy with.

    These are just my opinions and some of the reasons I decided against owning a Hybrid back in 2001.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    ...most of the time. Car & Driver says in a Civic Hybrid with the A/C on, at a stop, the electric compressor keeps the cabin cool. As soon as you lift your foot off the brake, the gas engine whirs to life again.

    Honda Civic Hybrid

    C/D-observed: 40 mpg

    SAE volume, front seat: 52 cu ft
    rear seat: 39 cu ft
    luggage: 10 cu ft

    Type: inline-4, aluminum block and head
    Bore x stroke: 2.87 x 3.15 in, 73.0 x 80.0mm
    Displacement: 82 cu in, 1339cc
    Compression ratio: 10.8:1
    Fuel-delivery system: port injection
    Valve gear: chain-driven single overhead cam, 2 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters, variable
    intake-and-exhaust-valve timing and lift
    Power (SAE net): 93 bhp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 89 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
    Redline: 6300 rpm

    Type: brushless DC electric motor powered by 132 1.2-volt nickel-metal hydride batteries
    Power (SAE net): 20 bhp @ 2000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 66 lb-ft @ 0–1160 rpm
    Redline: 6300 rpm

    ACCELERATION: Seconds (full charge, part charge)
    Zero to 30 mph: 4.0, 4.4
    40 mph: 5.9, 6.5
    50 mph: 8.1, 9.1
    60 mph: 10.8, 12.3
    70 mph: 14.4, 16.4
    80 mph: 19.2, 21.7
    90 mph: 26.2, 29.2
    100 mph: 37.6, 41.4
    Street start, 5–60 mph: 12.5, —
    Top-gear acceleration,
    30–50 mph: 6.0, —
    50–70 mph: 8.4, —
    Standing 1/4-mile: 18.3 sec @ 78 mph, 19.1 sec @ 75 mph

    C/D-observed: 40 mpg
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    The Hyundai Accent 4 door sedan has 92.2 cubic feet for passengers. The Civic Hybrid has only 91 cubic feet. The Elantra has 98 cubic feet.
    So maybe the Hyundai Accent is the better car to compare to the Civic Hybrid. The Accent should be cheaper to own and operate than the Elantra.
    Edmunds True Cost To Own for the Accent is $35,206 (5 years)
    Edmunds True Cost To Own for the Civic Hy. $34,797 (5 years)
    After the 3rd year or 36,000 miles the Civic's warranty is used up. The Accent still has an additional 2 years and 24,000 miles bumper to bumper and then in years 6 through 10 up to 100,000 miles the drivetrain is covered with a $0 deductible.
    The Accent and Civic Hybrid have about the same performance and size. The horsepower of each is the same according to Edmunds' and Motor Trend's websites.
    The Elantra Limited has more equipment features than the Civic. The Accent has less than the other two.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Well I suspect that there would be speeds where the 1.8L actually got better mileage. There are highways in this country with posted 75 mph limits. On the ones I'm familiar with the traffic generally runs close to 80 mph. I wonder what kind of mileage a 1.3L engine will deliver at 80 mph. I'm guessing it would be no better than the 1.8L, maybe worse.

    Anyway, that's not really what I was asking. I want to pull all the hybrid gear out of the 1.3L Civic. Line it up next to the hybrid and put 5 gallons of gas in each car. Now send them down the highway together at 65 mph. No starting or stopping or steep grades to deal with. Like I said, I-10 through Texas. If the hybrid can actually travel further then I'd like to know how?
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Good idea. Buy two. Gut one. Let us know the outcome.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    This whole thread has degenerated into a rejection of hybrids based on speculation and false assumptions:

    "Hey, if you took out the electric motor, hybrids wouldn't be so good!"

    "Hey, a Hyundai costs less than a Honda, so hybrids are a rip-off!"

    "Hey, 17 years ago, my buddy's Yugo got almost 40 mpg, so hybrids suck!"

    I've shown you guys the numbers. I've done the math for you. I've done the cost/benefit analysis for you. It's all there for you in this thread.

    If you're content to ignore factual statements and mathematic equations, while continuing to bleat out that i.c.e. cars are superior, then keep driving your gas hogs. Believe me, OPEC, Exxon, and government tax collectors thank you.

    They love you!

    Meanwhile, my Civic Hybrid averages 47 mpg. Here's photographic proof:

  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    Based on speculation and assumptons you have made, you are guessing the hybrid will work out well for you for many years to come. I hope it does. Good luck with that.
    Your opinions of what the facts are in your situation are not necessarily the same as what another person may think if he were in your position.
    Hybrids are not the best choice for everyone.
    And photos don't prove anything. They may be offered as evidence, but that's it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    I can see your position and anyone forced to drive 25k miles per year. A HCH or Prius is probably a good choice. I would slit my wrists if I had to put up with driving that many miles a year. So a hybrid makes little sense to me. The only way I would consider a hybrid car is if it had a bumper to bumper 10 year warranty.

    The thread deals with payback on hybrids. You are new to the forum so you probably missed the 1000s of posts for and against hybrids since 2001. Most hybrid owners will concede that you cannot buy a hybrid strictly on a money saving basis.

    If you drive the average 15k miles per year you will only save $304 per year on gas with the hybrid Civic over the EX Civic. That is with all other expenses being equal. With the $3200 difference in price it will take you 10.5 years to break even. With the Civic EX you still have the $3200 in the bank after 10.5 years.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Civic EX averages 29 mpg (revised EPA)

    Civic Hybrid averages 42 mpg (revised EPA)

    15,000 miles / 29 mpg = 517 gallons x $3/gal. = $1,551

    15,000 miles / 42 mpg = 357 gallons x $3/gal. = $1,071

    $1,551 - $1,071 = $480 annual gas savings with hybrid.


    Civic EX msrp $19,510

    Civic Hybrid msrp $22,600

    $3,100 difference / $480 annual gas savings = 6.5 yr. payback (not 10.5 years).

    That's on 15,000 miles per year.

    On 25,000 miles per year, the gas savings amount is $800/yr., so the payback is 3.9 years.


    And that's with $3 gas. Guess what happens if the price of gas keeps going up?

    $3.50/gal: 15K = 5.5 yr. payback, 25K = 3.3 yr. payback

    $4.00/gal: 15K = 4.8 yr. payback, 25K = 2.9 yr. payback

    Considering that gas already hit $3.50 in Illinois and touched $4.00 in some areas of California, those future prices seem likely. Even this forum contains a thread "What will you do when gas prices rise above $4 a gallon?"

    Everyone expects it, which means OPEC knows it can get away with it, which means that by this time next year we'll probably be paying $4/gallon.

    When it happens, even all you critics will be saying .....

This discussion has been closed.