Don't let gas prices scare you into a hybrid- Do The Math.

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posted on May, 10 2008 @ 03:42 PM
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Confessions of a former car salesmen.

I decided to write this because I am seeing an explosion of Toyota Priuses (or would the plural be Prii?) on the road these days. It's apparent that a lot of people are being taken in by hype and marketing and overreacting to gas prices. This is in Anchorage, Alaska where people worship trucks and SUV's, so it must even bigger in other places.

I was formerly a car salesman (at a Honda dealership) and I had people coming in daily to ask about hybrid cars. They were being sold as soon as they arrived. Well, now I guess I can tell the truth without it hurting me. You won't get this kind of honesty at the dealership though.

This is the main point: If you are considering changing vehicles so that you can save money, DO NOT BUY A HYBRID!

If your purpose for buying a hybrid is for the status symbol that shows to the world that you are someone who is environmentally conscious, then it may still be worth it to you.

If you want to buy a hybrid because you honestly want to make a positive change in the environment, I wouldn't bother if I were you. Check out this thread An Inconvenient Truth...but a Convenient Solution and see if you still feel the same way.

The information that follows is a little long, but very important to everyone thinking of getting a new car to save money.

Mod Edit: All Caps – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 5/10/2008 by Gools]




posted on May, 10 2008 @ 03:45 PM
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Now I'll set out the math to show why hybrids aren't going to save you money.

I'll use the Prius as an example which has the best gas mileage of currently available hybrids(all of my numbers are taken from the Toyota website).

If you buy a Prius, the MSRP is $21,100 (base model). You have a 1.5L engine that gets 48 mpg city and 45 mpg highway.

The average driver does about 45% highway driving, 55% city driving, and drives an average of 1,000 miles per month. That requires 21.5 gallons of gas.

Right now regular gasoline is currently at $3.79/gallon where I live. That would mean you would be paying an average of $81.33 per month in gas. However, we know that gas prices will continue to rise, even if they drop first in the short term. If gas went to, say, $4.50/gallon, then now you're paying $96.56 per month on average. I bet that looks pretty good to a lot of people reading this.

And how much does this car cost you? Well, even though the MSRP is $21,100, you know that you can negotiate with the dealership and you'll probably get about 10% off. So now it costs you $19,089.

What about hybrid tax credits? Don't count on one. Hybrid tax credits fade away as a manufacturer makes more hybrids and disappear altogether after 60,000 vehicles. You can still get a decent tax credit on a Ford hybrid (up to $3000), but there is barely anything left for GM, Nissan, and Honda, and absolutely no tax credit on Toyotas anymore. www.fueleconomy.gov...

If you have pretty good credit, you can finance your Prius through Toyota at 8.2%. If you do that for 60 months (and you don't want to ever finance a car for a longer term than that or you'll certainly be owing more than it's worth) then your payment will be $389/month. If you had a little money to put down, or some money in a trade-in, let's say $1000, then your payment would be $369 per month. (Calculated on www.toyotafinancial.com)

Also the insurance: (in my case 30 yr old male in Anchorage, AK, married, homeowner, no accidents or violations in the past three years, minimum required coverages on a financed car) $204.88/month through Progressive.

So in conclusion, a 2008 Prius will cost you the payment of $389/month + $96.56/month in gas + $204.88/month insurance payment
Total = $690.44/month (We'll exclude maintenance costs)

We sure pay a lot to drive. Thanks for staying with me for this long. Next I'll compare the costs of a comparably sized non-hybrid Toyota: the Corolla.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 03:47 PM
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So the MSRP on a 2008 4 speed automatic Corolla (base) is $16,050. It has 92 ft3 of passenger volume compared to the 96.2 ft3 of the Prius. You also have a 1.8L engine which provides more horsepower than the Prius and gets 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. (The manual gets 28 and 37, but most people would prefer the automatic).

The same mileage calculations means that you will need 34 gallons of gas each month on average. Right now that is $128.86/month ($3.79/gallon), but at $4.50/gallon you would spend $153.05/month in fuel.

To calculate payment, let's once again reduce the MSRP by 10% which gets us $14,445. At the same financing terms you'll have a payment of $294/month or $274/month if you have $1000 for a down payment or some equity in a trade.

Your insurance, using the same criteria as above, would be $193.38/month.

So now your totals for the Corolla (with gas at $4.50/gallon and no money down at purchase) is a car payment of $294/month + $153.05/month in gas + $193.38/month insurance payment
Total = $640.43/month.

By choosing the hybrid, you would have increased your expenses by $50 per month! You can save about $60 per month in gas, and that may make you feel like you are saving money, but looking at the big picture shows you the opposite.


[edit on 10-5-2008 by tamerlane]



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 03:53 PM
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I know some of the benefits of hybrids are overhyped. For example, Hybrids save little or no gas when driven on the open road. (Although they do save significant gas in "stop and go" traffic and in the city.) I know the money saved on gas when buying a hybrid may not compensate for the premium price paid for a hybrid. Just because the hybrid may not live up to all the hype, it does not mean that everybody should be driving around in hummers and F350's.

This is not to say that hybrids are bad things, or that people should not be trying to conserve fuel. Global warming is only one reason why a responsible citizen would want to conserve fuel. Conserving fuel can also help fight terrorism, help the US extricate itself from the Iraq debacle, and also lowers other types of polution like smog.

[edit on 10-5-2008 by hotpinkurinalmint]



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 04:48 PM
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Is your last name FORD? Why in GODS name would you tell people NOT to buy a car that is more efficient with less emissions. DO YOU throw your car away after you pay it off? Who cares if you pay $50 more a month for five or six years. The Prius will last 10 or 15 years or more. The battery is rated for 180,000 miles and TOYOTA'"S perform for 200,000, 300,000 or more miles without a major breakdown.

Think of $5, $6, $10, dollar gas. Buy a Prius or buy a motorbike.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 04:56 PM
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So the lesson here is, if you want to save money, just buy a smaller and less expensive car, not necessarily a hybrid. A small car will still get pretty good gas mileage. The same rings true for other hybrids besides the Prius. For example, buy the Honda Civic rather than the Civic hybrid and you will pay less. If you want to really save money, try the Toyota Yaris.

I'm also not so sure I would feel as safe in a hybrid. That is a big battery behind the seats. I would hate to be in a serious front end collision and have my airbag save me only to have a several hundred pound battery come crashing into me from behind.

There may be some cases in which a person really drives a whole lot more than average and therefore would save money with a hybrid, but most people won't. You need to consider all of the factors.

Even if you were to pay cash for the car, it would be a long time before you could make up the price difference with savings in fuel. In the Prius vs. Corolla example, the price difference would be $4,644 ($19.089 - $14,445). With an average gas price at $4.50/gallon you would have to purchase 1,032 gallons before you broke even. If you are an average driver using 21.5 gallons of gas per month in your Prius, it would take 48 months (4 years). Most people are ready to trade-in for something newer about that time anyways.

I hope this is helpful to everyone considering a new car.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 05:10 PM
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Tamerlane, you are a brave person. My husband has managed dealerships for many years and has said the same as you. Another thing not figured in is the replacement cost of that battery!

To those that are upset at this math, Tamerlane did not say buy a hummer or SUV. He said buy a regular gas efficient car and you will save MORE. Most cars are incredibly clean burning anyhow.

Now, the difference in a suburban and a suburban hybrid might be worth it if you need the space. You still will pay more for the vehicle and that will take awhile to make up for it in gas($$ wise)

This shows how dumb people can be. A woman bought a Lexus SUV, then decided the gas mileage was too low, brought it in to trade lost TEN THOUSAND dollars on the trade and bought a vehicle that got 5mpg better. My husband even tried to explain to her that it would take a very very long time to make up ten thousand dollars in gas spending.

Sheeple. Most are sheeple.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 05:17 PM
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The hybrids are good, but they aren't the be all, end all of the deal.

My wife has a Civic. It gets 38+ MPG.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 05:52 PM
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The Most Stringent Emissions Certification
The Prius produces over 70 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle. The Prius has been certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in California and those states adopting California standards. In the rest of the country, Prius is certified as Tier 2, Bin 3. In addition, In California and states adopting the California rules, Prius is certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). The AT-PZEV certification requires the SULEV exhaust standard linked with the ability to meet a zero-fuel-evaporative standard, a 150,000-mile durability demonstration, extended emissions system warranty, and technology deemed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to advance future fuel cell vehicles.


www.conceptcarz.com...

U.S. Toyota Prius has never had a battery failure other than wreck since introduced 2001. Dealers want to deter you from buying a Prius because people that buy them are dedicated to gas savings and stick with the Prius for years after they buy.

People who buy less efficient cars trade in after a few years. Dealers don't make money if you don't trade in your car or buy new.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 06:14 PM
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reply to post by ColdWater
 


Why yes, my last name is Ford. Harrison is my first name.
(I wish)

Actually, I think it would be more fitting if you asked me if my last name was Conoco or Phillips.

Anyways, I'm not against hybrids, per se, as you may believe. But I am against ignorance and deception which is the reason why many are purchasing hybrids now.

When I was selling cars, 90-95% of the customers asking about hybrids simply wanted to save money. Carbon emissions were not as important to them as being able to make their house payment or buy enough food. To these people I direct this information.

Regarding my own environmental consciousness, I am concerned about the prospects of global warming, and I am satisfied that the evidence supports the theory that our carbon dioxide emissions are causing climate change. I've even written about this in posts here on ATS.

However, I am also convinced that hybrids are not a good solution and that they are rather distracting us from making a real impact on global warming. I believe that a significant number of people buy hybrids and then sit back and relax in the belief that they are saving our world, when in fact they are still polluting significantly (especially with hybrid SUV's). I think they highly overestimate the effect their hybrid is having and feel like their part is done now.

If someone would like to spend an extra $50 per month to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they can do it a lot more effectively than by buying a hybrid. They should put that money towards a wind turbine or solar panels to power their house for example. That would actually save them money too in the long run.

At any rate, hybrid vehicles, in my opinion, are over-hyped and will contribute very little to solving our global crises. I think they can be safely ignored by those who are serious about adopting new technology that is environmentally friendly.

I'm much more interested in fuel cell technology and I'm glad to see those types of vehicles being produced now. I've even heard of vehicles that can be powered by ammonia and simply release nitrogen gas into the air. These kinds of technology would go much further towards reducing our oil dependence than hybrid vehicles.

That's my point of view anyway.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 06:21 PM
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reply to post by llpoolej
 


Thanks for your comments. I'm very pleased to know that your husband is an honest person whose concern is really for the needs of the customer. In the car business that is quite rare, and especially in management.

Please let him know that he has my respect.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by ColdWater



U.S. Toyota Prius has never had a battery failure other than wreck since introduced 2001. Dealers want to deter you from buying a Prius because people that buy them are dedicated to gas savings and stick with the Prius for years after they buy.

People who buy less efficient cars trade in after a few years. Dealers don't make money if you don't trade in your car or buy new.


Yes, the batteries are quite long-lasting and durable.

However, at the dealership where I worked, we were certainly not trying to deter people from buying a hybrid. It was quite the opposite. We were quite happy to tell them that they were going to get great gas mileage and save lots of money and that they should buy right now and start saving right away because gas prices were only going higher. They went off the lot as soon as they came in and there were always plenty of people who wanted to be notified when more were coming.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 06:30 PM
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If you are fair and honest with people, it will make your more money throughout the years as the customers come back. Screwing people is a very short term gain.

There is nothing wrong with hybrids. Like you, I agree that they are not the salvation. Hydrogen cars are possible with today's technology. Big oil has blocked hydrogen filling stations to be put in. Basically, the only think stopping hydrogen powered cars is infrastructure. THAT would be a solution. BMW and Honda both make hydrogen powered cars that are sold in California. The byproduct is water. If those were used by everyone, it would actually filter the air!

Coldwater, it isn't a conspiracy by dealers not to sell hybrids. They make WAY more profit on hybrids than the do any other type of car. Hybrids will often sell above list price.

There has been battery failures on priuses, though I think it is very rare priuschat.com...

Tamerlane has made very good points. People who have hybrids love their hybrids. I think though, it is the idea of the hybrid that they love the most



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 06:45 PM
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No disrespect. I dispute the intent of this post, specifically the quote below:


Originally posted by tamerlane

This is the main point: If you are considering changing vehicles so that you can save money, DO NOT BUY A HYBRID!

If your purpose for buying a hybrid is for the status symbol that shows to the world that you are someone who is environmentally conscious, then it may still be worth it to you.

If you want to buy a hybrid because you honestly want to make a positive change in the environment, I wouldn't bother if I were you. Check out this thread An Inconvenient Truth...but a Convenient Solution and see if you still feel the same way.



If I use your math, after I pay off the car, I'll save about $6,000 a year for the life of the car. Potentially $25,000-$50,000 or more.

I'll produce 70% less emissions every year. There may be better ways to help the environment, but starting here won't hurt. It's a lot better than buying a regular car and complaining on the internet about the environment.

I don't usually dispute posts unless the OP states they are an authority on a subject, then takes a stand that dosen't include important facts. When you present yourself as an authority others tend take notice and heed your advice.

I'm not an authority. I just used Google.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 08:32 PM
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reply to post by ColdWater
 


I am dubious about your ability to save $6000 each year.

If you are using the same assumptions as me which is gas at $4.50, and the average driver doing about 1,000 miles per month (12,000/yr) and therefore using 21.5 gallons of gas in their Prius each month (258 gallons/yr). Then you would spend $1,161 to fuel your car. In a Corolla, using 34 gallons of gas each month (408 gallons/yr) you would spend $1,836 to fuel your car each year. That is a savings of $675/yr.

After financing for 60 months, you would have paid $23,340 for the Prius and $17,640 for the Corolla- a difference of $5700. Therefore, you need to be driving for 8.44 years before you break even. After that, then you would save $675 per year with average driving. There are not many people who keep their car for 8 years, at least not as their primary vehicle. (Plus you're paying a little less in insurance during this whole time for the cheaper car.)

But if you did keep your Prius until it died, and the car lasted another 10 years, then you would save a total of $6,750, a far cry from the $25,000 - $50,000 that you claim.

llpoolej made another good point which should be factored in to make the scenario more realisitic. In actuality, you would probably not get 10% off the MSRP when buying the Prius as I assumed in my example. In reality you would pay the sticker price or possibly even a little more because of the demand for hybrids. The dealership has no need to cut the price by 10% for you when someone else will walk in the same day and buy it at sticker. The commissions are great on hybrids which means that the profit margin is good too.

So to be more realistic, I should add another $2000 to the cost of the Prius in my example plus the extra cost of financing that $2000 for 60 months. That would add about 4 more years to the amount of time it would take you to make up your money with the hybrid if it is financed (which most new cars are.) The people trying to save money by getting better fuel efficiency aren't the type that can pay cash for a new car.

Even if gas goes to something like $6.00 per gallon, you'll spend $1,548 per year to fuel the Prius and $2,448/yr to fuel the Corolla. Then you would be saving $900 per year. That's still many years to break even.

And if fuel went much higher than that, I don't think you'll even want to drive your hybrid around. You'll be back to walking or cycling or driving your fuel cell vehicle which you traded in your hybrid to buy.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by ColdWater
 


And about producing 70% less emissions each year...

The Government Fuel Economy guide states that the automatic 4 speed Corolla puts out 6.3 tons of carbon dioxide per year and the Prius emits 4.0 tons/yr. That is a reduction of 36.5% (6.3 - 4.0 / 6.3). Yes, a reduction, but not nearly as much as we would like.

I'm sure the Prius emits 70% less than a truck or small SUV, but not when compared to other small cars.

I would really like to see the demand for hybrids trickle to nothing. No, not because I hate the environment. Rather because the auto industry is not going to work effectively towards developing truly clean technologies or promoting infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles while it's making a killing on gas burning hybrids. Auto manufacturers spent many years and at least millions if not billions to develop hybrids, and they are not going to waste all that investment and bring something better to market unless people demand it and reject hybrids. If your concern is truly for the environment, then it should not be hard to accept the clear logic here.

I do respect, however, the interest you show ,ColdWater, in doing something positive and in making your voice heard to support the things you believe.



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 10:29 PM
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screw the emissions check this out
I am driving to Houston for work monday that is 680 miles round trip.
My hybrid honda civic is averaging 46mpg lately. it will use up approximately 15 gallons round trip at $4.00 a gallon that is=$60 bucks.
I get paid .90 cents per mile this comes out to =$612 bucks

my little hybrid honda will make me a nice little profit of $552.00 buckies!

one of these trips a month and it practically pays for itself



posted on May, 10 2008 @ 11:06 PM
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Let them scare you into pure electric.

Do the math.


$10k used car. + Electric motor, batteries, install = $20k total.


Paying for the electricity to charge the batteries, moving your car around would cost around 2.5 cents per mile. Compared to gasoline at $4 per gallon, you would need a car that gets 160 miles per gallon to achieve the same cost per mile.



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 12:30 AM
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reply to post by ianr5741
 


Pure electric is interesting. Have you got more info?

What's the range and the top speed of a vehicle that's been modified the way you suggest?

How long does it need to sit and charge after typical use?

Know of any websites that discuss these issues and/or give instructions on making the modifications?

It would be great for auto manufacturers to work on something like that since a $10k modification job would not be practical for the majority of drivers who are struggling with fuel prices and looking to save money.



posted on May, 11 2008 @ 11:08 AM
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The most efficient hybrid is a biological/mechanical one..(bicycle),and common sense enough to work close to your residence helps too,this suburbia disease is not helping much,in fact,it is near the core of the problem in my opinion.
Yeah,I know the old excuse that you couldn't get a home closer to your job,in reality,you wanted to distance yourself from the ugly truth about your pitiful weak,crooked and violent species,you had to get a new house,away from all the dirty gritty truth,so fkn get over it and ride your bike.
And stop trying to run me over,I can out maneuver you,dumbass.





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