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Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-16-2005, 09:54 PM   #1
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Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

According to this, they cost more to buy, more to insure, depreciate faster and get poorer than advertised gas mileage.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8975473/

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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-16-2005, 10:10 PM   #2
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
According to this, they cost more to buy, more to insure, depreciate faster and get poorer than advertised gas mileage.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8975473/

REW
I went to my Honda dealer last week - there is an average 10 mile a gallon difference between the reg Civic and the Hybrid for about $2500 more.
I'm thinking the batteries won't last for to many years either and what will that cost?
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:34 AM   #3
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

From an economic only standpoint, they don't make sense. But some of us lefty greens are willing to put our money where our values are and make a hybrid purchase because it would serve a greater good even if it didn't help our own pocketbooks.*

Thank goodness every decision isn't based soley on economics. How many of you would have had kids if economics was the sole consideration?*
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 06:17 AM   #4
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Some of the energy pundits (perhaps a shady lot themselves) say the break even point is around $3.50 a gallon factoring in lower reliability. Too lazy to do the math to check.

Weak point is the same ole heavy lead-acid batteries. Uncle Sam and Detroit poured tons of $ into new battery development. No luck. Worked with a startup once trying to make a lead-acid replacement. Couldn't get the lead out.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 07:36 AM   #5
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Nope, they're not.* If someone wants an economical car, just get a civic, corolla, or sentra with the base model gasoline engine in it.* * I recommend one of the first two.

If you want to pay a little extra and have a dash of class, get one of the VW jettas with the diesel engine; what i bought my wife. The auto gets 44mpg, the manual 47mpg. Oh wait, they just changed the jetta's in 05'; not sure if the diesel is offered anymore.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal
From an economic only standpoint, they don't make sense. But some of us lefty greens are willing to put our money where our values are and make a hybrid purchase because it would serve a greater good even if it didn't help our own pocketbooks.

Thank goodness every decision isn't based soley on economics. How many of you would have had kids if economics was the sole consideration?
Obviously you're a lefty I monetize benefits like having kids so I can do a cost-benefit analysis. Besides, we get many tax breaks from having kids. And it is an extra layer of insurance for old age. Plus, it keeps the wife occupied, so she doesn't have to spend as much time worrying about how best to spend my next paycheck.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 09:34 AM   #7
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azanon
Nope, they're not. If someone wants an economical car, just get a civic, corolla, or sentra with the base model gasoline engine in it. I recommend one of the first two.
It's funny how some of the least expensive cars are also the least expensive at the pump.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

I was thinking of one of the vw diesels or a corolla. Anybody have issues with diesels in the cold?
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 10:00 AM   #9
 
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

I suppose this is a equal and opposite reaction to all the positive hype out there, but I wish folks would get their facts straight.* I haven't had a tankful under 50mpg in normal city/highway driving since March in my Prius (it dips into the 40's in freezing temperatures).* That is not to say it might be not be economically "worth it."* But you could say that about just pretty much any model.

And these guys did even better.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 11:02 AM   #10
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

tozz, how do these things do in 90-100 degree heat and high humidity? I'm addicted to air conditioning and can't see how these chainsaw motors would keep up.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 11:33 AM   #11
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Probably not worth it, but I have always been a sucker for leading
edge stuff (see the Fair Tax thread). My brother has been involved
in the development of an a new electric motor for cars so my
interest in hybrids has been high for a long time.

We won't need a new car for another 4-5 years. I hope by that time
the price has come down and there are some good used hybrids
on the market.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 11:36 AM   #12
 
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Here's another thread that discussed this.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 11:44 AM   #13
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

I love my Honda Civic --- 12 years old, hardly a problem at all, except for regular maintenance. Went to buy gas the other day and I turned to my husband and said "thank goodness for this little car." He drives the Lexus! Going to replace my car pretty soon, and it will be another Honda. Not sure yet if it will be a hybrid or not.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 12:07 PM   #14
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
tozz, how do these things do in 90-100 degree heat and high humidity? I'm addicted to air conditioning and can't see how these chainsaw motors would keep up.
I'm not tozz, but I've read that A/C only uses 10-15% of a car's power output. A hybrid should be able to keep up with that, although the manufacturer may be skimping on the quality of the A/C parts to reduce overall cost. The problem with these cool concept cars is that a lot of the auxiliary equipment skimps quality to support the main idea by keeping its costs down. The result is a crappy implementation of a great idea...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal
From an economic only standpoint, they don't make sense. But some of us lefty greens are willing to put our money where our values are and make a hybrid purchase because it would serve a greater good even if it didn't help our own pocketbooks.*

Thank goodness every decision isn't based soley on economics. How many of you would have had kids if economics was the sole consideration?*
If you like the car then buy the car.* That's why we had a kid.* But I think it's borderline hypocrisy to claim that either one of those concepts buttresses your values.

We installed our photovoltaic array because it's a fun engineering project, I enjoy monitoring its performance & payback, we enjoy showing it off to the neighbors, and we're having fun looking for more solar cells.* But if we really wanted to support the environment and reduce our energy consumption then we'd go out to the garage, flip the main feeder breaker, and live like our 19th-century ancestors.

We had a kid because, well, uhm, I'm still trying to remember how that conversation went.* Now I'm not sure what part of my body I was thinking with... Oh, yeah, I remember!* We had a kid because we thought it'd make us better human beings.* It was all about our own personal development, not our altruistic imperative to improve the world with our genetic potential.*

We could put our money where our values are much more effectively if we donated the cost of the car to an environmental organization and rode public transportation.* We'd be doing the world a much bigger favor by adopting kids rather than procreating.

No, I don't do that either.* But then I don't try to claim that a hybrid has some "value", other than reducing my fuel costs and being really cool.* And even that is a dubious claim, especially considering the pollution created by the process of manufacturing lead-acid batteries.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:26 PM   #15
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

We could put our money where our values are much more effectively if we donated the cost of the car to an environmental organization and rode public transportation.* We'd be doing the world a much bigger favor by adopting kids rather than procreating.

No, I don't do that either.* But then I don't try to claim that a hybrid has some "value", other than reducing my fuel costs and being really cool.* And even that is a dubious claim, especially considering the pollution created by the process of manufacturing lead-acid batteries.
After looking at the cost of hybrids and insurance.....well, let's just say that I still use public transportation. Yes, I could turn off all electricity (well, probably not, I'd suffer from computer withdrawl) but I still think you can make the case of making "better" choices as opposed to perfect choices.

Purchasing a hybrid would reduce the amount of oil I used even if my driving habits didn't change. By purchasing this type of vehicle, I am encouraging manufacturers to continue to explore and improve the technology.

I'm not trying to say that I would be some environmental saint by purchasing a hybrid but rather that my choice isn't driven solely by what is in my economic best interest. My values allow me to not be so frugal if I feel that a greater good might be served.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:38 PM   #16
 
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

The other problem I have with hybrids is that they are too complex. Two complete motor systems. Just as in programming, sometimes you can be too clever.

Also, concerning the batteries:

"The batteries on average last 8 to 10 years and cost around $6800 to replace. "

In other words, your car will be automatically "totalled" in 9 years, since it will cost more to replace the batteries than the car is worth.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:43 PM   #17
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Also, concerning the batteries:
"The batteries on average last 8 to 10 years and cost around $6800 to replace. "
In other words, your car will be automatically "totalled" in 9 years, since it will cost more to replace the batteries than the car is worth.
Thanks for that research Al.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:58 PM   #18
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

One of the values of being FI is the ability to buy what you want when you want it. I have no need to make a political "statement" about my personal beliefs about saving the rainforest or the spotted owl or the snail darter, etc.,. I don't feel the desire to broadcast my opinions on others through my purchases.

If you think you are making a difference in the habitat of the snail darter because you buy biodegradable toilet paper and drive a hybrid car, then go for it. I will continue to buy what I want at the best price I can get it at and use it until it no longer has value to me. I have no delusions that my spending has any real effect on the world around me. Trees will be cut and replanted, water will be poluted and purified and the nature will continue to polute and purify itself as it has done for millions of years.

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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 01:58 PM   #19
 
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

Sheesh, I seem to go through this every couple of months. *Before you get really emphatic you should check your facts. *

1) The Prius produces about 10% of the emissions of the average vehicle in the US. *It has the AT-PZEV rating which is the strictest standard available. *It is arguably the cleanest production vehicle on the road. *I could provide links, but they are only a quick google away. *

2) *I don't know why folks on this thread are jabbering about lead-acid batteries. * The main battery is nickel-metal hydride, warrantied for 10 years and 150K miles in my state. *The early production vehicle original batteries from 1997 are still on the road, so there is no reliable lifetime information. *Toyota recycles everything in the battery from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring. *Stamped right on the case is Toyota's phone number, with notification that the person turning the battery in will get a $200 bounty.

3)* As for the insinuation that the air conditioner is being manufactured with substandard components, that is simply bizzare.* Source?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
But then I don't try to claim that a hybrid has some (environmental) "value", other than reducing my fuel costs and being really cool.* And even that is a dubious claim, especially considering the pollution created by the process of manufacturing lead-acid batteries.
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?
Old 08-17-2005, 02:00 PM   #20
 
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Re: Is A Hybrid Car Really Worth It?

The air conditioner is more than adequate, though I seem to take a 3-4 mpg hit on the really hot days.* It has an electric compressor, so the engine can start and stop at will.* My sense is that the electric compressor is marginally less efficient than the tried and true mechanical ones.*

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim
tozz, how do these things do in 90-100 degree heat and high humidity? I'm addicted to air conditioning and can't see how these chainsaw motors would keep up.
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