Sunday, July 21, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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Buying a new hybrid may seem like a great way to save money.  Many claim to get fantastic fuel mileage and there is no shortage of media promotion.  From a service standpoint and from the standpoint of overall lowest cost, I feel there is another side to the story.

Many well intentioned folks be misled with regard to hybrid vehicles

Those that profit from their sale of hybrids are quick to point out the questionable fuel savings. A more responsible approach is to perform some simple math.

A 2010 Toyota Prius boast 51 MPG city and 48 MPG highway. This sounds quite impressive, until you do a bit of math. The Toyota Corolla achieves 26 MPG city and 35 MPG highway. At $3.00 per gallon and 12,000 miles per year the average savings comes to $479.00.

The 2010 Prius sells for around $22,750.00 and the Corolla around $15,350.00. That’s $7,400,00 investment to save $479.00 per year.  Over fifteen years payback, excluding interest.  

Another issue is the Prius uses a battery to supplement the gasoline engine. Much of the "savings" is merely a tradeoff, using chemical energy produced by the battery instead of gasoline.  The battery cost around $6,000.00 and has an estimated life of around eight years. That adds $750.00 per year to the cost of driving the hybrid. This cost alone is almost double the fuel savings.

The hybrid also uses very expensive technology. For instance, the starter/alternator/hybrid motor cost around $12,000.00 to replace. Imagine an eight-year old hybrid in need of a battery and starter, $18,000.00.

Another factor, using air conditioning may keep the vehicle from going to hybrid mode. The gasoline engine is needed to run the air conditioner compressor. This may result in actual mileage a lot less than that stated on a hybrid.

  • Before considering a hybrid, do the research and do the math.

  • Get professional opinions from those who do not stand to benefit from your decision.

  • Use the AGCO vehicle cost calculators to give you even more facts.

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