1982 Honda Civic FE, 41mpg city / 55mpg hwy
1988 Honda Civix CRX FE, 56 mpg
1992 Honda Civic VX, 48mpg city / 55mpg hwy
Why spend $20-35K on a hybrid when you can get an old honda for $2K??
Just shows you how far we've come. Unlike Toyota or the hybrid fans would like you to believe, they haven't gotten huge increase in gas mileage, only increases in comfort and performance. What happened to the small cars with good gas mileage. My wife's Buick Lesabre puts a lot of these newer cars to shame.
The Prius is all about image. That's why on the local lots, accord hybrids sit while Prius's are back ordered.People want to be noticed for being green. Myself, I'd rather the 250 hp of the hybrid accord.
It may not be the BEST gas mileage in the world, but at 33 mpg, my Saab 9-5 suits me fine. Big luxurious car.
the other issue is that you cant really drive them like a strait gas car. you have to kind of baby them around. some people do not get the advertised mileage because they are zipping around at fast speeds and rapid acceleration. supposedly hybrids just dont like that. the siverado hybrid only gets a couple mpg better than the gas version but that still only puts it in the low 20s. my dads diesel gets that and it has the ability to pull a lot more than that hybrid.
It really depends on what you are doing.
Accelerate then brake, like a bus or a train, and hybrid is the way to go. (in my region, we are at 800m elevation. The trains coming up used electricity, and the trains going down generated it..perfect sense, but now the trains going down use brake pads instead).
Long distance, high speed, then normal high efficiency engines rule.
In my semi-rural location, work have bought hybrids, and they fall well below European turbodiesel economy.
My sister just purchaced a Prius Hybrid this past summer. Cost alot of money. The car is huge on the inside, has 15 in tires, very well made, weighs alot more than the cars mentioned above and has all the bells & whistles unlike the cars mentioned above and is very comfortable. The mileage is incredable. She has been checking the mileage since new and is claiming in the high 50's, and sometimes 60 in the city and the low 50's-high 40's on the highway. Not only that! It's pretty quick & quiet too! CVT Trans BTW.
I think diesel is the way to go too. It would take the life of the car (assuming you don't have electric/battery problems) just to break even on the gas savings. Then on top of that a lot of people aren't getting the advertised fuel economy. We wouldn't have the energy problem we have now if the govt. would just raise CAFE numbers and slap a gas guzzler tax on SUVs. I'm 6'5" and commute relatively painlessly in a 2002 Cavalier that gets an average of 30+ mpg combined mileage. Get 36-39 mpg on a trip going 70 mph. Oh by the way the upholstery shop did wonders to my stock J-body seats by adding an extra inch of foam to the lower seatbacks. So if I can do it, anyone can.
Though they are expensive, you don't necessarily get to pick your options/colors, and the dealer may or may not honor his Prius waiting list, there are some advantages to a hybrid. For instance, a nice federal tax credit for 2006, state tax deductions, and the use of HOV lanes in high-density traffic areas. That last one alone almost tipped the scale in favor of me buying one (well, until I saw the $5k deposit required to get on the three-month waiting list).
If you want to help further hybrid technology, and the inevitable switch away from petroleum engines (unless they come up with a way to create petroleum from renewable sources in the lab to the tune of billions of barrels a year), its not a bad idea to buy a hybrid. It helps show the car manufacturers that you are interested in efficency and the future, so some extent.
If you are interested in reducing air pollution and reducing the oil 'load' on the finite supply, using a hybrid (or any car that gets a respectable 30+ MPG) is a good idea. Less fuel burned = less carbon dioxide and other emmissions, getting longer usage from the remaining fossil fuels we have (do we trust Saudi Arabia to correctly report their reserves? I don't...).
I've always thought of the simple economy $$$ being the least likey reason you'd buy a hybrid. ToyotaNSaturn's link simply proves that without a doubt. If you simply and only want good milage at a good price, only a lunatic would buy a brand new hybrid.
I'm very happy with my Prius. The mileage on my Echo was almost as good, but it lacked the usable room and nice comfort of the Prius. Maybe I will not get my money back in gas savings, but will the owner of a Caddy Escalade get anything back, or a Chevy Tahoe? A car is a great personal choice item - we can all drive what we like. I have the Prius 'cause I like the technology and the look of the car. When gas hits $3.00 again next spring I may like it even a bit more, but that is my choice and I don't intend to force that on anyone else.
I go to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit every year to see what is new in the car world. This year should be especially good since everyone is in a mad scramble to address fuel efficiency and 'green' technology. But the styling of a vehicle is also very important. A really ugly 60 mpg hybrid is going to sit on the showroom floor for quite a while. The Accord Hybrid missed the mark by being only marginally better in fuel economy and the Prius has the same or more room, better economy, and a LOT lower price tag.
Interestingly, the Prius was developed as a super low emission emitter to try and improve air quality in Japanese cities. The mileage improvement was actually a secondary consideration, somewhat related the the first. The NOX emissions are so low on these things it is amazing. Granted, few people would buy a car just because it gets low emissions-for the exception of my boss who is an industrial hygenist and is trying to make a statement about air quality preservation.
The car is too complicated. How happy will you be with the car once it's old and needs repair? And if you don't keep it that long, what will be the residual value of a high-mileage hybrid that nobody wants because they don't know how to repair it?
I don't see the sense in spending a huge premium on this car to save gas. Saving gas is not the all-encompassing goal for the driving public.... the goal is low $ per mile over the life of the car. This car will make sense when gas prices hit over $5 a gallon. But by that time other technologies such as fuel cell cars will make more sense.
Remember we are very early in the hybrid technology cycle.
The problem with alternative fuels is that gasoline is so **** good in terms of energy content and portability. Nothing on the horizon can really hope to compete.
On the other hand electricity can be very helpful if you can find a way to store enough of it to carry around a useful amount.
Because of that hybrids make a lot of fundamental sense. You can carry around stored electrical energy and use it, with the option to burn actual fuel when more power or range is needed.
If hybrids evolve to higher-efficiency designs then you will see more battery capacity and smaller engines for a better overall efficiency, plus plug-in capability. With a drivetrain like that in a small car many people could do all but long-trip driving with only electrical power, without having to give up the range of a gas/diesel engine.
Perhaps things will not go that way though. For one thing the cost of fuel is just not high enough to be an incentive for most people. Part of the reason for that is that we have an economy that is artificially cash-rich thanks to the use of our national credit card - deficit spending. Until we have a balanced economy in that regard, our financial reality will be artificially biased away from frugality.
I am also convinced that the long-term direction of energy costs is downward. So as much as I like the idea of efficient cars I think the economic incentive is just not there yet to move the industry heavily in that direction.
The EPA modified the reported mpg in 1985. They reduced the city mpg by 10 percent and the highway by 22 percent.
As noted previously comparing a Prius to a Civic CRX or a Toyota Echo is not appropriate. The Prius is a much bigger car. Nor can it be compared to a Corolla. The Prius has much more rear leg and hip room. The Prius even has more rear legroom than a Camry.
" In fact, based on the fuel economy we get from C/D test cars, most vehicles barely match their EPA city fuel-economy numbers while being driven on the highway."
You will go over when using FP and LC.