The EPA ratings are not he same as actual fuel economy. The EPA
highway test is still stuck at 55 mph as a maximum speed and still
includes some stop and go portions. For the Civic Hybrid Consumer
Reports' overall fuel mileage was an impressive 37 mpg. They recorded
26 in the city, 47 on the highway and got 45 mpg on their 150 mile
trip. For the regular Civic the results were 31 overall, 22 city, 40
highway, and 37 on the 150 mile trip. For the Camry hybrid, CR
recorded 34 mpg overall, 28 city, 41 highway, and 37 on the 150 mile
trip. Pretty impressive for such a large car. The conventional 4
cylinder automatic Camry got 24 overall, 16 city, 36 highway, and 29
on the 150 mile trip.
To be clear - I have nothing against hybrids. For some applications,
it appears to be a great technology. Because of the nature of Japanese
traffic, I can see why hybrids were developed their first and best.
Lots of crawling along at low speeds with a lot of stop and go
driving. However, given the way hybrids work, why would you expect a
Civic hybrid to get significantly better gas mileage than a regular
Civic on a long trip down I-95 for instance (assuming it wasn't during
one of the frequent I-95 and stop and go wreck aftermaths)? The Civic
hybrid has a smaller engine than the standard Civic (1.3L vs. 1.8L),
so this might allow for slightly better highway cruising economy. It
also might affect performance. For the regular Civic (manual
transmission, 1.8L engine), the 0-60 was 8.6 seconds. For the hybrid,
it was 11.7 sec. So clearly, the cars don't have equivalent
performance. Too bad we don't have a 1.3L non-hybrid Civic for
comparison. As for the Camry, the hybrid Camry had a 8.4 sec 0-60
time. The conventional 4 cylinder automatic Camry only managed a 9.6
sec 0-60 (the V-6 automatic could do 7.1 sec 0-60s, and the fuel
mileage was only about 1 mpg worse). It is pretty obvious to me that
Toyota knows more about hybrids than Honda.
But the real question is, will you save enough on the cost of gasoline
to pay for the difference in initial cost? The Civic hybrid is at
least $3000 more expensive than the EX Sedan, if you assume the CR
average fuel economy is a good estimate of the real world, the math
works out as follows:
Gas used in 150,000 miles, and cost assuming $3 gasoline -
Hybrid Civic - 4054 gallons / $12,162
Regular Civic (manual transmission) - 4,839 gallons / $14, 516
You can spend $3000+ to save less than $1400. Of course if you keep
the car longer, or gas prices continue to rise, the hybrid might make
more sense, but then there is the question of maintenance costs, extra
financing spent for the more expensive car, etc. I don't have a good
feel for these factors.
Likewise for the Camry -
Gas used in 150,000, and cost assuming $3 gasoline
Hybrid Camry - 4,412 gallons, $13,235
Regular Camry (4 cylinder automatic) - 6250 gallons, $18,750
So a hybrid Camry could save you $5,525 compared to as conventional
Camry. Of course to save this, you are going to spend $6000 or more
initially. And again there are all the questions about relative
maintenance costs, long term gas cost, financing charges, etc.
It is difficult for me to see the hybrids as a cost effective solution
for most drivers. Of course if you do a lot of in-town driving, plan
to keep the car for a very long time (and drive a lot of miles), and
assume the maintenance cost aren't much different, you might decide
the hybrid makes a good choice.
One thing for sure, Toyota has the best hybrids at this time.
And cost to the environment for all the gas, the batteries, recycling the
batteries, the extra motors and electronics and resale cost and how long the
life of the car will be.
My point was that hybrids get better mileage on the highway than similar
cars without a hybrid system.
So there is a definite benefit to use a hybrid system in cars that run
mostly on highways. However, I don't know if this benefit is worth the extra
money or the environmental cost.
200K miles on the Prius. What will your gasoline versus cost of
I'm asking if it makes any sense? People ONLY talk about MPG never
discussing the premium for a Prius, or for that matter any 'new' car.
With interest, most people have no clue what the final price was on
their new , now 5 years old, car.
0% interest or $1000 cash back: Most young, see:dumb, people see that
$1,000 and grab it. Low interest would save you more than $1,000.
AND if you need $1,000 that bad what in the hell are you doing buying
a 'new' car?
Do you want an ounce of gold or a pound of aluminum?
Gee, wonder which one the 20s crowd would pick...
This depends on the particular car or truck and the difference in the fuel
used as well as the price of fuel. For most hybrids, it seems like it takes
about 300,000 km or 200,000 mi to pay back the cost, without tax breaks, in
The fact that the cars are expensive to buy (and that Toyota only breaks
even on them if they disregard development costs) tells you that hybrids
are wasteful of resources.
If a thing is relatively expensive, this can only mean one of two things:
1) profit margins are high, or
2) a tremendous amount of energy is going into the thing.
Maybe not. There are definitely places where a hybrid makes a lot of
sense. It seems to me that any driving pattern that involves a lot of
stop and go driving is potentially a good place for a hybrid. When we
were in Victoria, BC two years ago, I was impressed that many of the
taxis were Toyota Priuses. I don't think taxi companies would buy
vehicles that were not economically attractive.
I wonder if there is an application for true diesel/electric or
gas/electric vehicle that operates more like modern locomotives. It
seems to me that once you buy into including a generator and motor set
in a car, you might as well go one step further and eliminate the
conventional drive train. You could still include batteries to provide
"surge" power for qucik acceleration.
Don't forget government policies as an influence. Do you think hybrids
would have gotten a foothold in the US if it wasn't for the early tax
rebates and CAFE rules? The Prius must have a significant positive
impact on Toyota's CAFE numbers.
And if people always bought cars for strictly sensible reasons, there
would be no Lincoln, Cadillac, Lexus, Aura, Infiniti, etc....
Yet, even without the Prius and other hybrids, Toyotas are quire fuel
efficent compared to the offerings of American car makers. I doubt the
impact made any real difference in how Toytota would have done business with
regard to regulations about CAFE if it did not have the hybrids.
Not to mentions, far fewer trucks and SUVs.
And, actually, fewer total vehicles.
Unless they were getting subsidies from the government, which is just
another form of waste. Or if there are regulations limiting the types of
cars that may be used for taxi service.
And even if hybrids did work for taxis, how many ordinary people drive
the sort of mileage covered by taxis? High mileage within a short span
of time is the only way you'll ever recover the excess cost of a hybrid.
Problem is, used cars (specifically ex-cop cars) come on the market far
too cheaply to make hybrids even remotely an option for the low-margin
I'm sure it does. But that's not the same thing as conserving resouces.
Of course. That's my whole point. Hybrids do not conserve resources,
they just provide a feel-good hit for those that get off on such things.
3) or, A lot of labor goes into making it.
What is a tremendous amount of energy? Decreasing the energy requirements of
a vehicle from 33 mpg to 40 mpg will decrease the use of energy over 100,000
mi from 3000 gal to 2500 gal, a savings of 500 gal of fuel. 500 gal of
gasoline is a lot of energy.
#3 is the same as #2. It doesn't matter where the energy comes from (human,
machine, etc), just that it be expended.
Yes, but money is the product of energy. Paying too much money and not
being able to recover it means wasted energy.
Unless you drive like a city taxicab, it'll take 15 years to recoup the
cost of a hybrid. This is true whether you're given somebody else's money
as a subsidy, or you pay for it yourself.
I disagree. It takes a lot of labor to write a computer program, but not all
that much energy to make it compared to the costs of the human labor.
It's actually, more closely related to resources, energy being an important
Depends on the price of gas. In addition, it depends on the benefits of
decreasing green-house gases, too.
As I said, we don't know the accounting as far as the environment is
concerned, but I don't think for a second that this is the same as the money
The Prius is "green" because by paying extra for it, you have less money
with which to buy other goods and services, thus reducing productivity,
employment, and all those other things that liberals hate.
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