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The Hybrid Argument (fuel economy vs upkeep)

Discussion in 'Members' Lounge' started by Capt. Orygun, May 8, 2008.

  1. Capt. Orygun

    Capt. Orygun Win the Day

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    so with fuel reaching ever higher the appeal of a Prius is growing in my mind

    My vehicle has 170K miles on it, the wifes has 130K, so it's not like we're selling off relatively new cars in favor of this, at some point in the next couple years we will need to buy a car.

    My cousin swears that the cost of replacing the battery outweighs the fuel savings, that it's more status symbol then actually a way to lower your costs. There are a couple of independent sources which validify this.

    Toyota, and various other independent sources attest that failure rate at 180K miles is less then 1%, even pointing to a taxi driver who's amassed 400K miles and is still driving on the original battery.

    I thought maybe other board members have been thinking similar thoughts or researching similar things so I started this thread. Let's brainstorm
     
  2. nootrac22

    nootrac22 Well-Known Member VIP

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    battery life depends on how fast you put the mileage on and how much you care about keeping the warentee. If you put 100kmi a year on (for arguements sake) and replacing the battery is part of the 100k service, you'll void your warnetee if you don't do it.
     
  3. BigJ

    BigJ I'm just about that action Boss. VIP

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    My dad has a couple builders that drive a couple hundred miles a day on their prius'. They really dig them, like the car in general, and they swear by the gas mileage. I don't believe they're over 100k, but they're nearing there in the past couple years.
     
  4. Sabz5150

    Sabz5150 FALCON PUNCH!!!

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    Just find yourself a reliable used compact (read: old Honda or Toyota) and roll with that. Not only do they get good gas mileage, but the initial costs, parts, insurance, upkeep, etc. are incredibly low.

    If you're dead set on a Prius, they aren't too shabby from what I have seen/heard/etc.
     
  5. Capt. Orygun

    Capt. Orygun Win the Day

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    I could always rock a yaris
     
  6. invisibledemon

    invisibledemon Bored Moderator VIP

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    im with sabz on that one.
    add in the cost of the car, monthly payments, insurance, and upkeep.
    you would be much better off with a 90's model honda or toyota.

    thats why im fixing the delsol i bought.
    damn good gas milage.
     
  7. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    it takes about 8-10 years to break even on initial cost.

    the prius is about 10k more than say the corolla.
    with the difference in gas consumption of about 10 mpg (40 vs 50)...
    if you drive 15k a year... thats 1500 miles "free".
    or, roughly $300 in fuel savings.

    $300 bucks a year.

    yes.

    do the math.
     
  8. totalburnout

    totalburnout Well-Known Member VIP

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    B, the Corolla doesn't get 40mpg on the highway according to the EPA estimates. If you're going by actual numbers by drivers, then the Prius gets more like 55-60mpg. Actual driving results make the car a much sweeter proposition.

    Take 15,000/40 and you'll be consuming 375gallons of gas for 15,000 miles.
    Take 15,000/55 and you'll be consuming 272.727 gallons of gas for 15,000 miles.

    Thats a difference of 102.27 gallons annually.

    Now is where the math becomes interesting. What will you use as your average price for a gallon of gas? Goldman Sachs analysts estimate the price of a barrel of oil to be between $150-$200 within the next two years. Oil futures traded at a record $122.47 on Tuesday (I didn't see what the market did on Wednesday). Other analysts claim that prices can just as easily drop to $60 a barrel as they can increase to $200. These analysts cite that demand will wan off as price increases (which seems fairly far fetched, given we are a country that travels via automobile and not public transportation).

    Personally I would take a more defensive approach and speculate oil prices are going to increase at least in the very near future.

    Take 102.27 x $3gallon = $306.81
    x $3.25gallon = $332.38
    x $3.50gallon = $357.95
    x $3.75gallon = $383.51
    x $4.00gallon = $409.08

    Looking at the base MSRP's on the Corolla and the Prius, you have a $5400 difference. Even at an average of $4 a gallon, it will take you 13+ years to recoupe your original investment.

    ...but the reality of the situation is that if you were going to buy a car that only got 30mpg or 25mpg and was the same purchase price as the Prius, you're now saving quite a bit. (15,000/30). That would be a difference of 227.273 gallons of gas annually. Even at $3 a gallon thats a $681 annual savings. At $3.50 a gallon its almost $800 a year savings and at $4.00 a gallon its $900+ savings.

    So if you're looking to buy the cheapest, most fuel efficient car, you'll be better off going with a standard car that has a fuel efficiency around 30-40mpg and a price tag thats a few thousand less than the Prius. If you were going to buy a typical $20,000 car that only gets 25-30mpg, you're going to be saving much more from driving the Prius.

    The opportunity costs of a situation, like the price of gasoline, are extremely difficult to calculate accurately. You can be scientiffic and create three estimates when you make your projections, a pessimistic, optimistic, and realistic projection. Even given a "realistic" projection in this context, we simply don't know what a realistic price of a barrel of oil will be. When we hit $122 the other day, we doubled the price of a barrel of oil a year ago. Thats pretty insane to think about.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
    1 person likes this.
  9. totalburnout

    totalburnout Well-Known Member VIP

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    As far as the batteries are concerned, according to a faculty member here, Toyota has said they fixed all the battery issues that were causing failures around 100k and he hasn't heard of Toyota announcing any recalls or others having problems with failures. He has 116k on his Prius.

    Toyota was going to debut a fully electric Prius this year, until they realized that the Ni-mh batteriest that were in the Prius were very much alike Samsungs* (I think it was Samsung, it was definitely a computer parts manufacturer) had problems with similar batteries in Dell computers the other year. That was the recall the other year on Dell batteries that had been causing fires in their notebook computers.

    Toyota pushed the fully electric Prius back to '09 or '10.
     
  10. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    all of the prius' that ive seen have been in the 40-45mpg range... im sure it varies depending on local road types, traffic conditions, weather, etc.... but in CT they get somewhere in the low to mid 40 range... my insight was getting 60-65mpg in those same conditions on those same roads with that same traffic
    i saw a bunch of them when i was doing installs... it was funny when prius owners would come to get satellite radio or some shit installed and see my insight... they would always ask me what kind of mileage i was getting... i would tell them and they wouldnt believe me... then they'd shit themselves when i showed them the mpg display...
    i miss that car :(
    honda needs to hurry the fuck up and make a damn replacement for it already
     
  11. totalburnout

    totalburnout Well-Known Member VIP

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    BMW has the hydrogen 7 series ready for production in its German facilities, we just don't have the infrastructure to support the cars right now.

    Cali has 10-17 hydrogen stations now and they plan to build 120-170 stations by 2010. The price of a kilo of hydrogen [which they say is the equivalent to a gallon of gasoline, but is twice as efficient) varies from $1-$20 as well.

    Cameron Diaz showed up to the Oscars or one of the awards shows in the 7-series. BMW is only letting high profile people drive the cars to generate some publicity.

    The thing about the hydrogen 7 series is that its still a combustion engine. The engine runs on both gas and hydrogen, meaning that even though the infrastructure isn't every where, it becomes much more feasible for people in california that can alternate between hydrogen and gas fill ups.

    Mercedes and every other car manufacturer have taken the opposite route to hydrogen and say that fuel cells are more efficient and the wave of the future.
     
  12. Celerity

    Celerity Well-Known Member

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    Don't do it. Mine sucks. It gets 30 mpg on average, the flywheel is half the weight it should be to make it driveable, it goes ass-over-teakettle during emergency stops, and everytime you use the clutch its a different experience.

    The Prius is unlike a car. It's from the future. It's SO smooth and the transmission is so well configured, that it seems to glide along the ground.

    Also remember that you may have a situation where a Hybrid can net you tax credits. Looks like those tax credits will be with you to stay too.

    But the cost is quite a bit. Check out a Smart, you'll be happier I'm sure. It's not as comfy (And the "Transmission" is a bear) but it's got a WAY better dollar per smile.
     
  13. LS_VTEC

    LS_VTEC you get the BRAKE

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    Just buy something economical, small, and good on gas. Hybrid's aren't worth it in my eyes. Especially the Prius. The Insight wasn't so bad.
     
  14. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    Ian, i jus tpulled numbers out of my ass.... but your detailed math pretty much echo's what i was getting at.

    Hybrids really just aren't worth it... especially since the tax benefit of owning one is almost gone (i think 08 i sthe last year?) i think 03 had a 5k tax write off for a new hybrid car. now its like 500 bucks.
     
  15. TurboMirage

    TurboMirage YEEAAAHHH VIP

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    i'd love an insight, but they are really catty cars. even my mirage is a luxury car compared to it. sure its reliable, and i love the look, but it doesnt really feel that solid of a car.
     
  16. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    ?????? mine felt pretty solid... the suspension and brakes left a bit to be desired... but the car was still fun to drive and handled better than it had a right to



    and the 2 main reasons the prius sucks are:
    center mounted cluster :thumbsdown:
    not available in manual shift :thumbsdown:
     
  17. Celerity

    Celerity Well-Known Member

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    the stock Insight performs exactly like my 87 CRX did, stock.

    It's just wierd hitting the gas and watching the tach go DOWN.
     
  18. totalburnout

    totalburnout Well-Known Member VIP

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    The math works out for the car to be ineffective if you were going to forgo spending the $21,000 and opt for a car that was $16,000 or less. This is assuming that you can find another car that meets your requirements and has excellent fuel efficiency which may be a difficult task.

    The direct comparison of a $20,000 hybrid to a $20,000 standard car shows where all the gains can be made.. Drastic differences are also seen when you opt from a vehicle that gets 15-20mpg to the hybrid.

    You brought up a good point about the hybrid tax incentive. When Steve mentioned it I was going to point out that the tax incentive has all but evaporated. When President Bush supported hydrogen as the alternative fuel source of the nation and opted to subsidize the construction of the hydrogen refueling stations in California, he cut the tax incentives for hybrids from ~$5,000 to ~$500.
     
  19. B16

    B16 Super Moderator VIP

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    What about TDI's? TDI's I rented in Germany seemed to get me around 53mpg.
     
  20. BrutalB83

    BrutalB83 Brutal Moderator Moderator VIP

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    Kind of a thread jack here, so I apologize in advance, but did anyone see HondaTuning this month? They've got a K20-swapped Insight as the cover story. The owner is calling it the "K-sight"...
     
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