Hybrids

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

What Do Diehards think of Hybrids?

Considering Purchase When New Car Needed
31
43%
Wait and See if Price Comes Down
15
21%
Wait and See Expenses of Repairs in Future
13
18%
Wait and See Expenses of Repairs in Future
13
18%
What's a Highbrid?
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 72

nyblitz
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Hybrids

Post by nyblitz » Thu May 10, 2007 3:11 pm

What do Diehards think of hybrid vehicles?

Disclaimer: This is my first poll, and I'm certain I've left out at least one major category.

J

agbpl
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You Left Out...

Post by agbpl » Thu May 10, 2007 3:18 pm

the "I already own one" category. That would be my vote!

agbpl

nyblitz
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Post by nyblitz » Thu May 10, 2007 3:26 pm

Uggh! Not even 7 minutes! I also like how a spelled "Highbrid" in the poll :oops:

Is there a way to edit polls?

If not, I guess "I already own one" would have to go in the considering to purchase.

agbpl, are you pleased so far with your hybrid?
J

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WiseNLucky
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Post by WiseNLucky » Thu May 10, 2007 3:34 pm

nyblitz wrote:Is there a way to edit polls?
It's been awhile since I've done it (on another site) but I thought you just edit the original post. The poll questions are at the bottom.
WiseNLucky

gkaplan
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Post by gkaplan » Thu May 10, 2007 4:31 pm

I am seriously considering buying the Toyota Prius when my 1981 Toyota Tercel finally gives it up.
Gordon

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United
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Post by United » Thu May 10, 2007 11:47 pm

The benefits of hybrids are financial, not environmental.

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Met Income
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Post by Met Income » Fri May 11, 2007 5:52 am

United wrote:The benefits of hybrids are financial, not environmental.
Yep - those batteries gotta go somewhere

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Post by harland » Fri May 11, 2007 6:26 am

Met Income wrote:
United wrote:The benefits of hybrids are financial, not environmental.
Yep - those batteries gotta go somewhere
Yeah, they go to a recycling program (from Toyota's website):

Is there a recycling plan in place for nickel-metal hydride batteries?

Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery.

http://www.toyota.com/about/environment ... ybrid.html

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Post by Sidney » Fri May 11, 2007 7:50 am

I have heard that if you use the air-conditioning, these are no longer hybrids as the AC demands that the gas engine runs. Can anyone confirm that? If that is the case, any warm climate is probably not a good place for a hybrid.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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daryll40
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Post by daryll40 » Fri May 11, 2007 9:37 am

I don't see the economics of these cars. Unless gas goes above some very high number (I am just guessing...maybe $5 or $6 per gallon), where is the savings?

You can buy a Toyota Corolla for about $10,000 less than a Prius. Not EXACTLY the same car but very similar size, quality and expected durability.

How much better mileage doe Prius get in the real world than Corolla? It would appear that you'd have to keep the vehicle forever to make up the $10,000.

One thing about Prius, however, is that it's taken on as a status symbol among the left. It's the left's Mercedes/Lexus/BMW.

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modal
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Post by modal » Fri May 11, 2007 10:22 am

I do not consider them economical or environmentally friendly... plus Larry David drives one.

My honest opinion ==> bunch of hyped bull... and there is this term Renewable Energy :lol:

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Post by coastn » Fri May 11, 2007 10:27 am

I own one too, so I can't vote.

We bought a 2003 Prius in '06, and love it. All the ins and outs of the cost efficiency, net fuel calculations, production fuel costs, etc., make my head swimmy. The issue for us was/is wanting to use less fuel - reduce our carbon footprint. (When we had a choice of a mid efficiency gas furnace vs a high efficiency one, we chose the high efficiency one. Even though the extra cost significantly reduces cost-effectiveness. I'm not sure if that's Die-Hardish or not.)

The hard part was getting rid of our 14 year old Volvo wagon. It was in good condition, with only 160K miles. On one hand we could have junked it, so it would not be out there using 16-22mpg for anybody. On the other hand we have a trustworthy agency here in town that sets up cars to be received as gifts by refugees from other countries. We went that route, and got a tax deduction. A difficult choice.

All in all, the Prius is a great car. How does it know when to shift from motor to engine while all the while recharging the battery duirng breaking? That's a rhetorical question. I don't want know, just marvel at it. We get 43 mpg city, 57 highway.

-David
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greg24
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highbrids

Post by greg24 » Fri May 11, 2007 10:30 am

At the present time, I agree with the earlier post that it'd be cheaper to jusy buy a Corolla or a similar good-mileage, low-priced vehicle.

As for the environmental benefits, I have read that the process to create the batteries is a huge energy cost, so in the long run the car may not consume less energy than a Corolla anyways.

If my '97 Accord dies anytime soon, I'm buying a Civic or Corolla. I would like to buy the most environmentally friendly car out there, but I'm not sure if that is clear at this point.

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Gentex
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Post by Gentex » Fri May 11, 2007 11:11 am

United wrote:The benefits of hybrids are financial, not environmental.
How so? I always though of it as the reverse.

Gentex

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Post by shadowrings » Fri May 11, 2007 11:15 am

Actually I did consider a hybrid while back but until recently there was only one place in the state (WV) pumping ethanol/methanol blended fuel. Just saw where one of the local fuel companies is modernizing thier big self serve station and are advertizing methanol coming soon....

And there's one drawback to the blended fuel capable hybrids... in lots of places around the country there just aren't many suppliers..

vickie
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. | --- Carl G. Jung

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Post by Bounca » Fri May 11, 2007 11:37 am

I don't know the source, but I heard a news segment that said that the Prius is the only hybrid that makes financial sense. You will recoup your initial cost expenditures typically in 2 to 3 years. If you get rid of it before that you've essentially lost money. Beyond that....your in the black.

The Civic, Camry, Escape and certainly the Lexus hybrids were not worth it based on the news study.

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Post by Nitsuj » Fri May 11, 2007 11:45 am

Bounca wrote:I don't know the source, but I heard a news segment that said that the Prius is the only hybrid that makes financial sense. You will recoup your initial cost expenditures typically in 2 to 3 years. If you get rid of it before that you've essentially lost money. Beyond that....your in the black.
I heard a story on NPR about this, they compared the Prius vs the regular Camry, saying you'd recoup the costs in 2-3 years, quicker the more miles and/or the higher gas prices went.

However, a Prius is more like a Corolla than a Camry.

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Post by Orion » Fri May 11, 2007 11:56 am

Bounca wrote:I don't know the source, but I heard a news segment that said that the Prius is the only hybrid that makes financial sense.
I think this might have been the study that made a rather large accounting error (something like factoring in depreciation twice.) I recall an "OOPS!" being published a little later.

Here's a different study which says:
"With the number of hybrids now on the market, the end of 2006 was an opportune time to examine the cost performance of each hybrid model with respect to the rest of the vehicles in their peer group," said James Bell, publisher of IntelliChoice.com. "Across the board, we found that all twenty-two hybrid vehicles have a better Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over five years or 70,000 miles than the vehicles they directly compete against."

Bell said that aside from lower fuel costs, other factors playing a role in hybrids' cost performance are better-than-expected depreciation and resale value. Also, contrary to skeptics and critics, repair and maintenance costs have not proven to be higher than those of other vehicles.

"Up to now," Bell added, "The Prius has been the darling of the hybrid set, and it remains our highest rated value for hybrid vehicles. But this survey validates the cost performance of the other many hybrid models that are currently on the market. All of the hybrids in our study have achieved 'Excellent' ratings in their respective classes from IntelliChoice.com."

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Post by greg24 » Fri May 11, 2007 12:32 pm

http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editoria ... NewsID=188

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

So, if you are really an environmentalist - ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage - buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.

One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses.

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greg24
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report link

Post by greg24 » Fri May 11, 2007 12:32 pm

Direct link to the CNW reports.

http://cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/

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Post by gkaplan » Fri May 11, 2007 1:33 pm

As I said, my current car is a 1981 Toyota Tercel. I think the chances are pretty good that I'll recoup my investment, and then some, when it comes time to buy the Prius.
Gordon

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greg24
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or

Post by greg24 » Fri May 11, 2007 1:44 pm

gkaplan wrote:As I said, my current car is a 1981 Toyota Tercel. I think the chances are pretty good that I'll recoup my investment, and then some, when it comes time to buy the Prius.
or you could buy a xB, Neon, Corolla and get even more bang for your buck. And be better to the environment.

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Re: or

Post by Nitsuj » Fri May 11, 2007 1:46 pm

greg24 wrote:or you could buy a xB, Neon, Corolla and get even more bang for your buck. And be better to the environment.
Or drive the Prius more than 6K miles a year, on which these numbers were based.

Driving the 30K a year I drive, I imagine the numbers would be quite different.

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good luck

Post by greg24 » Fri May 11, 2007 2:53 pm

believe whatever you like.

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catDaddy
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Re: good luck

Post by catDaddy » Fri May 11, 2007 3:53 pm

greg24 wrote:believe whatever you like.
Here is response #4 from this blog:
http://www.minezone.org/blog/2007/04/05 ... vs-hummer/

"The original article you link to is an opinion piece (i.e., no fact-checking) for a college newspaper that publishes wild claims in a pathetic attempt to draw attention to itself. In February, The Recorder published “Rape only hurts if you fight it” and now in March, “Prius outdoes hummer.” This newspaper and this article are garbage.

1. Regarding new EPA mileage estimates, Demorro claims the Chevy Aveo’s mileage puts it within “spitting distance” of the Prius. The new EPA combined mileage put the Chevy Aveo at 26 mpg, the Toyota Prius at 46 mpg. So I guess 20 miles more per gallon is “spitting distance.”

2. The “Dust-to-dust” study is from a marketing firm, not a science journal. It arrives at an artificially high cost for the Prius by assigning it an arbitrary lifespan of 100k miles, and a Hummer 300k miles. There’s Prius being used as cabs that have 200k on them now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8839690/

And, insofar as a car lasting, what car do you expect to repair less? A Toyota Prius or a GM Hummer? You can check Consumer Reports for the answer to that one. A good analysis of the flaws in dust-to-dust is available at:
http://www.truedelta.com/blog/?p=48

3. The Sudbury info is seriously outdated, and the comment about moon buggies (like, when did Nasa test moon buggies — early 1970’s) ought to have given the author a clue. Sudbury was polluted by a century of mining (1870 on). In fact, some of Sudbury’s nickel went into making the Statue of Liberty. Currently, the mine is owned by INCO (not Toyota), and produces 100,000 tons of nickel a year, of which Toyota buys 1% (1000 tons). Blaming Toyota for the pollution at Sudbury is ludicrous. Nickel, by the way, is primarily used to make stainless steel. The Mail on Sunday newspaper, which ran the story the college article is a thin re-write of (visible here http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/liv ... ge_id=1770 ), used a stock photo you can buy online taken in 1994 to illustrate the pollution (visible here http://www.photoboy.com/bin/Cklb?vmo=1173985067754 ). There were, of course, no Prius in existence or being manufactured in 1994.

Furthermore, Sudbury is no longer this polluted, as INCO and the city have planted over 8 million trees there since 1979. The best history online of the Sudbury devastation/reforestation comes from GM Canada — that’s GM, maker of the Hummer, ahem, writing about how Sudbury was polluted and how it has come back. Really, one should blame Chicago more than Toyota, as Sudbury’s trees were all cut down in 1871 to help rebuild Chicago after the fire. GM provides telling photos of some of the reclamation from 1979 to present.
http://www.gmcanada.com/inm/gmcanada/en ... Sep22.html

Canadian news recently broadcast a show on Sudbury’s regreening (the acid rain problem David Martin of Greenpeace is talking about is the situation pre 1972):
http://www.cbc.ca/clips/rm-hi/mackinnon ... y070312.rm

The author of this article, Demorro, is so fact-challenged that in his follow-up piece, wherein he admits CNW’s Dust-to-Dust is suspect, he continues his Prius-bashing by recommending people buy a Tesla Roadster instead for a mere $30,000. (http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editoria ... NewsID=203). The Tesla Roadster actually costs $92,000. Demorro can’t even get the list price of a car right; I seriously wouldn’t trust his opinion on hybrids."

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Post by Target2019 » Fri May 11, 2007 9:46 pm

Early adopters of new technology pay a higher price.

When we purchased last year, we took into account published statistics (not blogs). We compared a Honda Civic to Toyota and Honda hybrids. We couldn't justify the higher upfront cost, and higher interest payments over the course of a loan.

The Toyota Prius has a higher tax incentive, but the look of the car, its cost, and available room sent us to the Honda Civic.

We have used the Honda twice for a long trip, and are glad we made the decision we did. It is hard to imagine what these drives would be like in a Prius, going up and down the Adirondacks, competing with SUVs and larger vehicles.

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Post by Valuethinker » Sat May 12, 2007 8:03 am

greg24 wrote:http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editoria ... NewsID=188

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

So, if you are really an environmentalist - ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage - buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.

One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses.

Greg24

This piece of 'research' has been completely discredited. The consultant won't release his data for others to examine.

MIT looked into this quite closely. About 90% of the energy used in a car in its lifetime is its driving (assuming 180,000 average vehicle mile).

Even if we assume a Prius uses twice as much energy being built, you don't get anywhere near the energy consumption of a Hummer, which gets a gas mileage of *one third*.

On the CO2 front, it's also the case that the source of that energy matters.

A Prius built in Japan is built in one of the world's most energy efficient countries, where they make a fetish of saving energy. And about 20% of their electric energy is carbon free (nuclear).

Whereas the supply chain that puts gasoline into a US pump is hugely inefficient, and exposes the US to the huge political risks of importing Arabian oil.

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What happened to high mileage standard cars?

Post by rolleur » Sat May 12, 2007 10:49 am

I voted for hybrids being a political statement or fad. There were high mileage cars in the past - often higher mileage than hybrids. They didn't have all the extra complexity of today's hybrids.

We are still driving one - a '92 Civic VX. They only made the VX for 2 yrs or so. It's window sticker was 48city/53highway. We still get 47-48 in mixed driving and the car is almost 16 yrs old.

I wish a manufacturer would make something similar today so the hybrid debate could die out. Oh well, I guess just like most high ER investments, high complexity hybrids are more profitable than simple high mileage cars.

Lee

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Post by Jack » Sat May 12, 2007 4:22 pm

The CNW report seems absurd on its face. They claim that the Prius costs $3.25 per mile over a 100,000 mile lifetime, which is $325,000. Fuel costs over this lifetime, even at today's $3.50 per gallon is only $7,500. The sales price is $24,000. That leaves $293,500 of uncompensated costs. Who is paying this? Toyota has sold over 500,000 Prius cars. That comes to about $150 billion dollars of unaccounted costs. Gee, you think someone might notice $150 billion in missing costs somewhere.

CNW seems to be a bit of a crank outfit. If you look at their web site, they refuse to allow anyone to visit their offices. Is that because they are in the den in his basement? They announce that for some mysterious reason they refuse to do business in Alabama. They are located in Bandon, Oregon, population 2,800. They refuse to allow anyone to see the data behind their report. It is not peer reviewed. They don't seem to have any economists or scientists on staff. In fact their primary business seems to be marketing research for the automotive industry and making press releases on topics such as whether water splash scenes in auto ads attract more buyers than desert scenes. It brings to mind this famous New Yorker cartoon -- on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

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Post by runner26 » Sat May 12, 2007 6:30 pm

Sidney wrote:I have heard that if you use the air-conditioning, these are no longer hybrids as the AC demands that the gas engine runs. Can anyone confirm that? If that is the case, any warm climate is probably not a good place for a hybrid.
From wikipedia:

The Prius 2004 model was a complete redesign of the previous generations of Prius. The new model is larger inside and out (now a mid-size vehicle), gets even better gas mileage and is a hatchback. It is based on the new (second generation) Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD or also known as THSII), replacing the earlier Toyota Hybrid System (THS) technology. The first generation (1997 to 2003) used the engine to run the air conditioning compressor. While idling, the engine would need to start every minute or so if the air conditioning was running. In contrast, the 2004 model introduced an all-electric compressor for cooling. This not only allowed the use of air conditioning without the engine starting from time to time when the car was completely still, it also allowed more extensive use of the "stealth mode" (operation on electric motor only).

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greg24
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prius

Post by greg24 » Sat May 12, 2007 6:58 pm

I don't actually believe the Prius consumes more energy than the Hummer. But I also don't believe that the Prius is as good as a deal as a good Corolla or other low-price, high-mileage car. Good luck with the Priuses.

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Post by Valuethinker » Sun May 13, 2007 5:54 am

Jack wrote:The CNW report seems absurd on its face. They claim that the Prius costs $3.25 per mile over a 100,000 mile lifetime, which is $325,000. Fuel costs over this lifetime, even at today's $3.50 per gallon is only $7,500. The sales price is $24,000. That leaves $293,500 of uncompensated costs. Who is paying this? Toyota has sold over 500,000 Prius cars. That comes to about $150 billion dollars of unaccounted costs. Gee, you think someone might notice $150 billion in missing costs somewhere.

CNW seems to be a bit of a crank outfit. If you look at their web site, they refuse to allow anyone to visit their offices. Is that because they are in the den in his basement? They announce that for some mysterious reason they refuse to do business in Alabama. They are located in Bandon, Oregon, population 2,800. They refuse to allow anyone to see the data behind their report. It is not peer reviewed. They don't seem to have any economists or scientists on staff. In fact their primary business seems to be marketing research for the automotive industry and making press releases on topics such as whether water splash scenes in auto ads attract more buyers than desert scenes. It brings to mind this famous New Yorker cartoon -- on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

There was a podcast with the guy. He admitted his 'methodology' included counting the full costs of R&D in each car manufactured. So the next generation of Priuses will be much cheaper because the R&D cost has been written off.

But if we counted the R&D that created the Hummer, we'd have to go back to Henry Ford.

He was picked up by that group on the internet that 1). denies the existence of global warming 2). thinks global warming is a 'leftish greenie plot'/ conspiracy. He said something they wanted to hear-- I've seen that article blasted all over the media and the right wing blogs.

My own take on this is that if you believe in man-made global warming (I do) there is a valid choice in favour of a hybrid. Ditto if you believe in Peak Oil, ie that oil prices in the future are going to be a lot higher than they are now.

On a straight depreciation-cost basis, they probably don't make sense for most people, not at US/CDN gas prices (they would at UK prices ie $6/gal *but* Priuses cost a lot more here) *unless* the majority of your driving is stop-go city driving. In which case, the electric feature could save you money.

Note some of the SUV-hybrids etc don't seem to create the fuel economy savings of a Prius. I would wait for more widely available diesel engines (see below).

If one merely wants to be environmentalist, I would be tempted to wait for the plug-in hybrid. Peugeot-Citroen has a test bed diesel-electric hybrid that can do 80mpg (US gallon).

Cars like that will be widely available in 10 years time.

If one is primarily concerned with fuel cost, then in 2 years time there should be a much wider range of diesel cars available in North America (30-40% higher fuel economy on the *same car*- -whereas with the Prius you can't really compare). Particularly for the SUV class of vehicles, these are a viable (relatively low CO2) alternative.

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Post by daryll40 » Sun May 13, 2007 7:19 am

Yeah but diesel fuel now costs significantly more than regular gas.

And for the "plug in" cars, doesn't that electricity have to be generated SOMEHOW?

I think for the average mainstream American who wants is concerned about global warming (personally I think it's not at all clear that this is man made and/or can be man fixed) and about gas prices (now you're talkin' my language...POCKETBOOK issues!), the Corolla/Civic with a gas engine or even a Honda Fit is a much better choice all around.

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Re: prius

Post by werdna » Sun May 13, 2007 7:25 am

greg24 wrote:I don't actually believe the Prius consumes more energy than the Hummer. But I also don't believe that the Prius is as good as a deal as a good Corolla or other low-price, high-mileage car. Good luck with the Priuses.
I, for one, have an open mind on the Prius versus Civic debate. Could you give us the data that supports your conclusion that the Civic is a better deal than the Prius?

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greg24
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Re: prius

Post by greg24 » Sun May 13, 2007 10:21 am

werdna wrote:I, for one, have an open mind on the Prius versus Civic debate. Could you give us the data that supports your conclusion that the Civic is a better deal than the Prius?
I don't have any specific data. I have read lots of articles about the hybrid debate, and have used my own intuition to come to my conclusion. The comparisions count on recouping the extra upfront cost a number of years down the road, but I haven't read a good comparision that considers the likelihood that each car will need repairs (I think the Prius will have a higher repair rate) and the cost of the repairs (I think the Prius will cost more to repair). And I think the Prius will have a more limited lifespan.

The one big benefit, in my mind, to buying the Prius is the more people who buy them, the more money sank into the technology and the economies of scale that could help bring hybrids into the mainstream.

And the lower emissions, of course.

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Post by gkaplan » Sun May 13, 2007 12:48 pm

greg24 wrote:I think the Prius will have a higher repair rate.
This year's Consumer Reports annual automobile issue seems to come to a different conclusion. Consumer Reports terms the Prius' reliability as outstanding. In addition, its Reliability Ratings gives the Prius' "Used Car Verdicts" and the Prius' "New Car Prediction" a "Much better than average" rating.

By the way, the CR overall mpg for the Prius, Corolla, and Civic were 44, 29, and 28, respectively.
Gordon

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greg24
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prius

Post by greg24 » Sun May 13, 2007 3:25 pm

gkaplan wrote:This year's Consumer Reports annual automobile issue seems to come to a different conclusion. Consumer Reports terms the Prius' reliability as outstanding. In addition, its Reliability Ratings gives the Prius' "Used Car Verdicts" and the Prius' "New Car Prediction" a "Much better than average" rating.
Call me in 10 years.

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Post by jc358 » Sun May 13, 2007 5:02 pm

Wife drives a Prius and I drive an older Corolla. The Prius has performed very well for two years and has no greater repair costs than the Corrolla. The Prius bashing is silly. It has a very roomy interior, gets 40 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway and unless you need a brawny 8 cylinder performs well.

My firend has a Prius which we drove on a road trip through the Midwest last year and it was comfortable for two old overweight guys to cruise for 8 to 10 hours at a time. Nice piece of work by Toyota.

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Re: prius

Post by werdna » Sun May 13, 2007 5:18 pm

I don't have any specific data. I have read lots of articles about the hybrid debate, and have used my own intuition to come to my conclusion. The comparisions count on recouping the extra upfront cost a number of years down the road, but I haven't read a good comparision that considers the likelihood that each car will need repairs (I think the Prius will have a higher repair rate) and the cost of the repairs (I think the Prius will cost more to repair). And I think the Prius will have a more limited lifespan.

The one big benefit, in my mind, to buying the Prius is the more people who buy them, the more money sank into the technology and the economies of scale that could help bring hybrids into the mainstream.

And the lower emissions, of course.
What articles have you read that have led you to this conclusion? Hopefully they weren't on the same caliber as the previous article you referred us to!

Why do you think the Prius will have a higher repair rate and more costly repairs? Why do you think a Prius will not last as long as a Civic or Corolla?

Thanks in advance,
Andrew

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Re: prius

Post by greg24 » Sun May 13, 2007 5:37 pm

werdna wrote:Why do you think the Prius will have a higher repair rate and more costly repairs? Why do you think a Prius will not last as long as a Civic or Corolla?
A more complicated drive system would tend to have a higher repair rate, in my guesstimation. It would also more likely limit the number of places where it can be repaired, leading to more expensive places like the dealer.

The unknown life of the batteries and drive system is why I think it may not last as long.

Look, I'm not bashing the Prius. I just don't think the mileage can overcome its greater upfront costs and possibly cheaper life than some other high quality Toyota or Honda cars. In time, some of these problems will go away. Toyota has had a long time to perfect the Corolla. In time, they will perfect the Prius and other hybrids.

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Post by Karl » Sun May 13, 2007 6:14 pm

I'd look for what provides the best financial deal. I'd look at price, size, performance, reliability and other such objective measures. If a hybrid could exceed the standards set by regular cars, I'd certainly buy it. I'm not willing to pay more and get less to serve some environmental cause.

Actually, it seems sort of silly how some buy tiny hybrids to save the environment while others buy huge SUVs that will never go off raod and have no practical application for most drivers.

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Post by Valuethinker » Mon May 14, 2007 3:05 am

daryll40 wrote:Yeah but diesel fuel now costs significantly more than regular gas.

And for the "plug in" cars, doesn't that electricity have to be generated SOMEHOW?

I think for the average mainstream American who wants is concerned about global warming (personally I think it's not at all clear that this is man made and/or can be man fixed) and about gas prices (now you're talkin' my language...POCKETBOOK issues!), the Corolla/Civic with a gas engine or even a Honda Fit is a much better choice all around.

Diesel costs vary by country: in the UK, 2-3p more per litre than petrol (94p a litre at my local Shell station).

If diesel costs 10 cents more per gallon in the US ie c 3%/gallon, and a diesel car gets 40% higher fuel economy than its petrol equivalent, how many miles a year do you need to drive to make diesel a worthwhile switch?

Diesels typically cost around £1000 more ($2k) for the same car, though. However they are a hedge against future energy price rises.

'plug in' electricity. Depends a lot on your utility and what time of day you charge up. If your utility uses brown coal for its' baseload, a plug in hybrid is probably not a lot cleaner. If it uses nuclear, or hydro, or gas it would be, and obviously even more the case if it uses combined heat and power or wind.

In terms of pure thermal efficiency, a modern coal plant is 42% efficient, you lose another 10% on long distance transmission of power. So roughly 32% efficiency. An internal combustion engine is c. 25% efficient, so you are still (somewhat) ahead (I'd have to check that 25% number, it's been 30 years since I studied this stuff. :( )

Since you don't need 120V AC to charge a battery, in the long run we will have a separate, 24V DC system to charge our vehicles, hooked up to solar panels on the roof, micro wind turbines, etc. This is the same electrical system we use in our recreational vehicles already and it makes sense generally-- most laptops, set top boxes, wide screen TVs etc actually run on 15-20V DC. The cycle from generation to car will be almost carbon free.

Most people who express scepticism on global warming (I'm not including you, because I don't know) haven't sat down and read some books on it, such as:

non-technical
Tim Flannery 'The Weather Makers'
Elizabeth Kolbert 'Field notes from a catastrophe'

technical
Sir John Houghton 'Global Warming: the complete Introduction'
the IPCC reports themselves (www.ipcc.ch)

Houghton in particular is interesting because he is an evangelical Christian, (as well as being the UK's chief meteorologist), so his chapter on the moral implications of global warming is quite interesting.

They go to great and painful lengths to show the evidence that global warming is happening, and the evidence that human activity is causing it. This science hasn't come from nowhere, it's been over 100 years since it was first hypothesised, and an extraordinary amount of very painstaking research and work has been done to get to the scientific consensus.

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New EPA Ratings

Post by CyberBob » Mon May 14, 2007 11:45 am

The EPA is changing how they calculate MPG ratings to more accurately reflect real-world driving, resulting in lower mileage ratings for hybrids.
Wired magazine article wrote:The new EPA tests factor in real-world conditions such as speeding, varying weather and lead-footed driving. Vehicles like hybrids with smaller engines pay a higher penalty during the acceleration test, as well as the tests that simulate going up a hill and maintaining highway speeds.

Hybrid vehicle performance was previously overestimated partly because the tests included vehicles' idling for long periods, causing many hybrids to shut down their engines to conserve fuel. The old testing methodology registered "a higher fuel economy for hybrid vehicles than is achieved under typical driving conditions," according to EPA documents.

The two top-selling hybrid vehicles, the Prius and Honda's Civic Hybrid, will lose 12 and 11 miles per gallon respectively from their city driving estimates.
Hybrid Cars' Fantasy Mileage Ratings Drive Into the Sunset article at Wired.com

Bob

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Post by Karl » Mon May 14, 2007 12:27 pm

The two top-selling hybrid vehicles, the Prius and Honda's Civic Hybrid, will lose 12 and 11 miles per gallon respectively from their city driving estimates.
Last year on the news I recall a story about how hybrid owners were quite angry about how their cars didn't actually live up to the impressive claims made by the stickers posted on the window. I'd be mad as hell too if I was sold something and then found out they lied by 11 or 12 mpg, hardly a trivial difference. My Impala is supposed to get 25 city & 31 highway and it actually does in the real world.

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EPA Ratings

Post by CyberBob » Mon May 14, 2007 1:03 pm

Karl wrote:Last year on the news I recall a story about how hybrid owners were quite angry about how their cars didn't actually live up to the impressive claims made by the stickers posted on the window.
Companies like Toyota have for years said that their hybrids may not get the mileage stated on the window sticker, but the numbers come from the EPA estimates that they are apparently obligated to use.

Judging by how the EPA tests are done, I can see how real-world numbers may be different:
The EPA fuel economy tests are conducted in a laboratory that simulates conditions to allow repeatable test results. Tests are conducted at an ambient temperature between 68–86°F with the vehicle’s air conditioning turned off. The highway mpg test simulates a 10-mile trip with no stops and an average speed of 48 mph. The city miles-per-gallon (mpg) test simulates a 7.5-mile trip with 18 stops and an average speed of 20 mph. Both EPA tests simulate driving on a level, dry, straight road. Though the tests reflect a portion of real-world driving conditions, actual driving is highly variable. The EPA results serve as a guide by which all vehicles can be compared. Many vehicles, when driven in real-world conditions, may not achieve the EPA-estimated fuel economy figures.
Bob

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Post by daryll40 » Mon May 14, 2007 1:50 pm

So MY question is this: If my Corolla gets an honest 25 MPG around town, would would a Prius get in the same type of driving?

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cr

Post by greg24 » Mon May 14, 2007 2:29 pm

daryll40 wrote:So MY question is this: If my Corolla gets an honest 25 MPG around town, would would a Prius get in the same type of driving?
I believe Consumer Reports has their own MPG numbers which more closely reflect real world driving. Check out their numbers.

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Post by catDaddy » Mon May 14, 2007 4:28 pm

Karl wrote:I'd look for what provides the best financial deal...I'm not willing to pay more and get less to serve some environmental cause.
It's a pretty sweet deal to make our children pay for the consequences of the decisions we make today.
Hey, everybody else is doing it, right? :wink:

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Side by side comparisons

Post by runner26 » Mon May 14, 2007 4:40 pm

Side by side comparisons of fuel economy (EPA and average driver) and emissions at:

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm

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Post by Nitsuj » Mon May 14, 2007 5:48 pm

daryll40 wrote:Yeah but diesel fuel now costs significantly more than regular gas.
Not in Indiana or Chicago area right now it doesn't. Under $3 for diesel this weekend, 3.19-3.42 for 87 octane

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