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The 2011 Toyota Prius isn't that great a deal, compared to fuel-efficient gas vehicles.  (Source: Toyota)

The Hyundai Elantra is more affordable over a 10-year lifetime, given current fuel costs and an average driving budget.  (Source: Hyundai)

Nissan's LEAF EV is the best deal of all -- but only because of the $7,500 tax credit.  (Source: Nissan)
Are EVs the best deal of all? Yes, but only thanks to tax credits -- without them, they're the worst

Thinking about buying that Prius?  You might want to think twice.

recent study released by the automotive analysis site TrueCar.com confirms what many already suspected -- that the benefits of hybrid vehicles still fail to justify their inflated premiums versus fuel-efficient budget vehicles.

I. Hybrids v. Gas Vehicles -- Hybrids Lose

A report examines the 2011 Toyota Prius from Toyota Motor Comp. (7203) -- the most popular hybrid vehicle in America -- which gets about 49.6 miles per gallon combined gas mileage and retails starting at $22,120 USD + fees.  It compares this to the 2011 Hyundai Elantra by Hyundai Motor Comp. (005380), a fuel efficient budget "traditional" gas vehicle which gets 33.1 mpg combined gas mileage and retails for $14,830 USD + fees.

At a gas price of $3.52 USD/gallon (the average price at the time of the report's publication) the Prius owner would pay approximately $1,063 USD to travel 15,000 miles over the year, while an Elantra owner would pay $1,594 USD to travel the same distance.  At $5 USD gas -- an extreme not yet reached, the difference would grow to $1,510 USD (Prius) vs. $2,250 (Elantra).

Thus under the current price scenario, it would almost 14 years to recoup the cost distance between the Prius and Elantra.  However, Prius batteries are only under warranty for 10 years and may die or experience significant performance degradation as the vehicle gets up in the years.  In other words, buyers will have to wait years and may even then have trouble breaking even.

Of course if gas reached $5/gallon then it would only take 10 years to recoup the difference, in which case the Prius might seem slightly more attractive.

Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights at TrueCar.com, concludes, "If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient car, the Toyota Prius wins. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient car, the Hyundai Elantra is the clear winner."

While intriguing the study has one serious flaw... read the update at the end of the study for that point and our conclusions.

II. Battery Electric Vehicles -- the Best Option of All?

What the report fails to mention is that the battery electric 2011 Nissan LEAF EV from Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. (7201) might be the most attractive option of all, given the initial comparison.  Here's our take.

The LEAF retails for $25,280 USD + fees, post $7,500 tax credit.  (Note, the Mitsubishi i EV retails for even less --approximately $20,500 after federal tax credit -- but is a significantly smaller compact and has limited availability).

The LEAF, comparable to the Prius in size, is approximately $3,150 USD more expensive than the Prius and almost $10,500 more expensive than the Elantra.

But in theory that same driver could travel the 15,000 miles using only the electric drive (even if you only consider driving on weekdays, this would work out to an average of about 58 miles per day -- within the LEAF's range).  Over the year the driver would save approximately $1,600 at present gas prices, minus the additional cost of electricity.  

Assuming about $400 of the electricity based on
$0.11 per kWh [source], this would work out to $1,200 saved a year.  Thus it would take nearly 9 years to recoup the cost of investment -- and lo and behold, you might even come out ahead.

Of course this only is thanks to the $7,500 tax credit.

III. The Future -- Hope for the Hybrid?

Toyota is producing a lot
 of Prii, currently (or was pre-tsunami).  But it still has a way to go before it sells as many as its best-selling models like the Camry.  Once this volume is reached, costs should drop, which should help to justify the payback.

The real question is how to convince buyers to purchase enough hybrid vehicles to get to that point at a time when the vehicles don't necessarily make sense financially.

One answer may lie in smaller hybrids.  Toyota is contemplating releasing a mini-Prius, dubbed the Prius-C.  Ford Motor Comp.'s (Fplug-in C-Max Energi, due out in 2012 will fill a similar niche.  These smaller hybrids will likely be more affordable, and are expected to get even better gas mileage.

Of course they will be competing against smaller cars that are themselves far cheaper and more fuel efficient, so this strategy may not be as easy as one might think.

At the end of the day the pricing is predictable -- EVs are most expensive, then hybrids, then traditional gas vehicles.  EVs are the best deal price-wise with tax credits, but without them they're the worst.

As the technology advances hybrids and electric vehicles may become the best buy.  But for now expect diesel vehicles and efficient gas-only sedans to remain the most financially advantageous non-subsidized option.

Updated: May 16, 2011 5:03 p.m.--

As one reader points out, the base Elantra does not include air conditioning or an automatic transmission.  The A/C upgrade costs an extra $1,250, while automatic trans. bumps the price $2,200. 

This would skew the figures slightly in favor of the Prius, but it's still very close.  The return would be reduced to 7.5 years at current gas prices.

This would still leave the EV even farther in the lead, so this conclusion is correct regardless of the comparison point.

One thing to consider is that you'd only see returns on the Prius after 7.5 years, and would likely only see savings for ~ 2.5 years on average, as your battery would begin to deteriorate.  Thus you'd be saving about $1,250 over a 10 year lifetime.  That's less than an investment with 3 percent annual return over inflation, so it means even if you do save, it's not that "great" an investment for the amount of money you have to put in, up front.



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Years != Miles
By gamerk2 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Years != Miles
By gamerk2 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Years != Miles
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2011 5:23:42 PM , Rating: 4
How many people do you know that keep a car until 200,000 miles though? I'm not saying you shouldn't. I'm saying how many people actually do it.

Answer: Very few.


RE: Years != Miles
By Lord 666 on 5/16/2011 5:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
Halfway there with the 2006 TDI. Joke with my 6y/o that its going to be her first car.


RE: Years != Miles
By Hieyeck on 5/17/2011 8:32:52 AM , Rating: 2
It's a TDI, it probably could be her first car (assuming VW).


RE: Years != Miles
By ChuckDriver on 5/17/2011 9:20:01 AM , Rating: 2
Just got half-way there too with my 2006 GLI.


RE: Years != Miles
By Souka on 5/17/2011 5:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... I just hit 100k on my 1999 Subaru Forester (bought new)..and I drive to work every day plus occasional weekend trips from Seattle to Portland.

Headgasket is about to fail (known issue with motor design)... well worth replacing....despite my 20mpg


RE: Years != Miles
By do_i_neda_name on 5/17/2011 11:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
175,000 miles on my 01 tdi. Cant wait to put the 3rd timing belt in.


RE: Years != Miles
By Samus on 5/17/2011 2:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
Gotta do them timing belts on those TDI's, its like a bomb waiting to detonate every 60k ;)

I've helped my buddy do his twice now in his 02 Golf TDI, back in 05 and again last summer, it only gets easier. We found a power steering pump leak that was entering the timing belt compartment too, good thing we found that when we did, that stuff eats belts. The pump needed to be replaced, was leaking from the shaft. 115k is kind of lame for a p/s pump failure but appearantly its not unheard of on VW's, especially R32's and Audi TT's which has higher pressure racks (yet still use stock pumps.)

DO THEM TIMING BELTS. It's a $6000 motor or a $600 job ($200 if you do it yourself)


RE: Years != Miles
By Dailyrant on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Years != Miles
By SKiddywinks on 5/16/2011 7:50:01 PM , Rating: 1
Unless Toyota have moved over to their new batteries they claimed to be working on (this was ages ago so is quite possible) for the Prius, it is far worse for the environment than you might think. Gas usage and emissions are not the only impact cars have. You need to think about their manufacture, particularly batteries.


RE: Years != Miles
By phryguy on 5/16/2011 9:35:06 PM , Rating: 1
Stop posting stupid hybrid myths. The Prius NiMH battery only weighs about 100 lbs is fully recyclable. Less than 15% of a car's lifetime energy costs is due to manufacture. See http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_of_science... and http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200711/mrgreen_ma...

Nickel has many other uses besides in NiMH batteries.

Over 150K miles, a 30 mpg combined vehicle vs. a 50 mpg combined vehicle will have burned 2000 additional gallons of gasoline, weighing 12600 lbs. and produced 40000 additional pounds of carbon dioxide.

What about the environmental costs of the above? Think exploring for, drilling for, transporting the oil, refining it, shipping it and carrying it around as dead weight?


RE: Years != Miles
By Hieyeck on 5/17/2011 8:36:59 AM , Rating: 3
Quoting Sierra Club? They're only slightly better than Greenpeace :/

That said, my next car will probably be the CT200h. Not because I believe in hybrid, but because it's a Lexus that runs on regular for $30k. It has nil performance, but damn comfortable for city driving.


RE: Years != Miles
By bjacobson on 5/16/2011 6:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
the unending recession has changed that. More and more people are going to be holding on to their cars.

Besides, whether or not people do, doesn't impact the math. The point is they break even at 200k.


RE: Years != Miles
By mindless1 on 5/21/2011 3:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
They'll be holding onto their cars but they will also be driving fewer miles, so there are MANY people who will never own a car that gets to 200K miles before either an accident totals it or the cost of repairs becomes higher than the value of the vehicle.

This is a big variable in cost comparisons, it would be short sighted not to assume there are thousands of dollars worth of repairs and maintenance on a vehicle by the time it reaches 200K miles... even if you DIY most of it the cost is still non-trivial.

Some might say "oh but my 100K car hasn't needed many repairs yet". Sure, besides initial manufacturing defects they do tend to be more reliable when new than old. Imagine that. At some point things start failing one after another and it's easy for a repair to be higher than the value of a smallish sized vehicle with over 100K miles on it. For example a mere water pump alone can easily cost over $500 to replace because of all the work just to get to the darn thing on today's small vehicles and even some larger ones, it can take hours of labor instead of 30 minutes for the average car built in the (late?) 1980's or previously.


RE: Years != Miles
By fishman on 5/16/2011 8:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
181,000 on my Mercury Sable, and 150,000 on my wife's Camry.


RE: Years != Miles
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2011 9:14:50 PM , Rating: 4
OMG. Do you people not read? I said very few. Not none.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 9:18:39 PM , Rating: 1
lol you can't win here. If you try to make a case for keeping your old car and not buy a hybrid, these same people will say "but most people don't keep a car to 200k!". Now that 200k is the break even number, the same people are saying "200k is no big deal! Everyone has a car that old".

It's just so dishonest and hypocritical.


RE: Years != Miles
By mindless1 on 5/21/2011 3:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
The typical person or family financially well enough off to buy new cars will be keeping one car when the buy another, and start driving the new car most of the time so as the years go by the older car racks up mileage less and less, it is very easy to not rack up 200K miles before the car is retired, goes to a junkyard. I'd even speculate that the average car ending up in a junkyard (which most do, eventually) does not have 200K miles on it so it seems a bit over idealized to use 200K figure for calculations of any kind.

Yes there are people who drive a lot, on highways which accumulate a lot of miles without as much wear per mile on the car. These people might be the opposite of those who are cost conscious, chosing to limit or combining their trips, choosing work closer to home, etc.

Then there is location. People living near major cities seldom have a need to drive far. Want? Maybe, but not need. Gas rising to $5 a gallon could easily curb their wants, a car will then all the more easily die of old age before mileage hits 200K. Personally I doubt I will ever own a car that hits 150K let alone 200K even if I keep it till it rusts to the ground because I stored it outside so newer cars could be garage kept.


RE: Years != Miles
By SirKronan on 5/17/2011 10:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
Just because they sell their vehicle before they personally hit 200k, doesn't change the fact that the vehicle will probably hit 200k easily. I owned a Prius for slightly over three years, and hit nearly 100k with no degradation in performance, and zero repair costs above normal vehicle maintenance. My family sold it and purchased a larger vehicle, but the new owner is a friend, and will more than likely hit the 200k. My dad's Lincoln Navigator has 330k miles on the original engine. Our Saturn, which my wife has had and we plan to keep until it dies has almost 170k on it. It's a changing economic picture these days, and often folks will save money by driving the life out of their vehicles rather than replacing them with something newer.

That's what has kept us driving the saturn for so long, even though it's a tiny car, and that's what keeps my dad driving his navigator rather than replacing it, even though it really needs replacing ... he will probably not replace it until it dies, just to get his money's worth out of it as much as possible.


RE: Years != Miles
By tng on 5/17/2011 8:27:47 AM , Rating: 3
I do....

Drive it till it quits is my motto. My last 2 cars both went well over 200K. Probably would have went well over 300K but they both died in accidents.

I am constantly amazed at some of the people I know that complain about how little money they have, but they always have to get a new car every 2-3 years. They are never without a car payment.


RE: Years != Miles
By Solandri on 5/16/2011 5:25:18 PM , Rating: 5
1) You didn't compare per year as you said you would, you compared per 200,000 miles. The per-year calcs are in Jason's original article.

2) Average miles driven per year in the U.S. is about 12,000. The national average is skewed low by low-frequency use vehicles, so 15,000 miles is more typically used as a commuter vehicle. 200,000 miles at 15,000 miles/yr would represent 13.3 years til break-even. That's virtually identical to the 14 years Jason calculated.

3) Hardly anyone drives one car for 200,000 miles. Average vehicle ownership duration is 5-7 years. Crazy, I know - cars are one of the few big-ticket items people get rid of even though they work just fine. Refrigerator, washer and dryer, dishwasher, people are happy using those for 10-20 years if they last that long. But a car? 5-7 years and they want to get rid of it. 5-7 years works out to 75k-105k for a commuter vehicle.

4) Assume 5-7 years of ownership, 15,000 miles/yr, a $7290 difference in purchase cost, no substantial difference in maintenance costs nor resale value, and 49.6 vs 33.1 mpg. The price of gas needed for the two to have the same TCO is $9.67/gal (5 years) to $6.91/gal (7 years).

That said, the whole reason hybrids are advocated are due to external costs which are not factored into the cost of gasoline. e.g. smog, violence in the Middle East, acid rain, etc. The cost calculation for an individual owning the car doesn't account for these. But the cost calculation for a nation trying to manage its energy consumption does. So while it may not make sense for an individual to buy a hybrid, it could still make sense for a nation to encourage purchases of hybrids.


RE: Years != Miles
By DigitalFreak on 5/16/2011 7:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That said, the whole reason hybrids are advocated are due to external costs which are not factored into the cost of gasoline. e.g. smog, violence in the Middle East, acid rain, etc.


the Hippie Factor.


RE: Years != Miles
By phryguy on 5/16/2011 9:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
Like many bad studies that only look at fuel costs, there's more to it. If you look at Intellichoice cost of ownership, they peg the Prius as having ~$1400 less in ownership costs than the Elantra after only 5 years.

You're going to need lookup the 2011 Elantra vs. 2011 Prius model Two yourself. if I post either link, this dumb board thinks I'm posting spam.


RE: Years != Miles
By Targon on 5/17/2011 6:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
The real key to why people trade in their vehicle is the expected maintenance that comes at around the 7 year mark. The potential for a problem with the transmission or other major problem is VERY high for a 7-year-old car. So, people sell or trade in their cars at that point, hopefully before the expensive repairs are required. As time goes on, you also have to look at what sort of sale or trade-in value you will get and compare it to the "best time".

So, take a $22,000 car, and see how much it will be worth at the 3-year, 5-year, 7-year, and 10-year mark, then factor in how much you will want a new car with more features at that point. Power windows and locks, trip computer, LCD displays, bluetooth, and more are now showing up in even lower cost vehicles, and people will want to trade in their old cars to get these features.

What has also not been mentioned is the pollution generated by the production of many components in a hybrid. Those batteries may make for "cleaner air" here, but in China, where the batteries are produced, the process generates a LOT of pollution. So, it is less of a "save the world" situation, and more of a "If China wants the pollution, and we have clean air here, that is all that matters" way of looking at this. The exact amount of pollution generated in the creation of the battery packs can be looked up, but it isn't good.


RE: Years != Miles
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Years != Miles
By Arsynic on 5/17/2011 9:15:49 AM , Rating: 3
Your last paragraph was excellent. Common sense stuff.


RE: Years != Miles
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 4:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Funny, how we are supposed to measure gas usage per GALLON, and not per YEAR.


??

Reread, please... it was $$ per year... I list how many years it would take to break even.

The estimate was at $3.51 gas...

Further, your example (200k, 10 years) assumes a much heavier driver than the average one in the article (150k, 10 years).

In short you're comparing apples and oranges when it comes to your scenario versus the one in the article.

quote:
Bias much?


If anyone is biased, it's you. You've given the use case of gas that's more expensive than the current average and someone who drives much more than the average user. That's the BEST case scenario for a hybrid...

The case in the outline is more of an average case and should be taken as such...

By ten years and 150k the age will have caught up with the battery...


RE: Years != Miles
By gamerk2 on 5/16/2011 5:01:02 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Reread, please... it was $$ per year... I list how many years it would take to break even.


Which is an irrelevent argument. The only factor should be "Which is cheaper over the lifetime of a car". I used 200k miles because thats how long a moderately well cared for car should last.

quote:
The estimate was at $3.51 gas...


What about states where gas is at $4.50 right now? Likewise, what about two years down the road when gas prices peak due to the improved economy? Or price increases over the next decade due to declining production? As such, I'm using a number that is much more realistic to what one would see over the next 7-8 years. Over the next decade, $4/Gallon is far more realistic to what we'll see at the pump compared to just $3.50/Gallon.

quote:
In short you're comparing apples and oranges when it comes to your scenario versus the one in the article.


So, using Gas Price A and Miles B is valid, but using Gas Price X and Miles Y isn't?

Thats the entire point of the discussion: At what point is the break-even price? Using one set of numbers to argue the Prius isn't cost-efficent is outright idiotic. I mearly showed using more realistic numbers, the cost between the two is roughtly equivalent.

quote:
If anyone is biased, it's you. You've given the use case of gas that's more expensive than the current average and someone who drives much more than the average user.


I've had the same Camry for 15 years. Don't drive it much, but over time, its hit 200k [and counting]. I fail to see why expecting a newer car to last just as long is out of bounds. Likewise, I'm projecting the average cost of gas over the lifetime the vehicle is owned, instead of using the prices we see TODAY, and assuming those prices will hold over the next decade.


RE: Years != Miles
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 5:14:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So, using Gas Price A and Miles B is valid, but using Gas Price X and Miles Y isn't?


No, I'm just saying, the numbers you presented were for a very different use case and thus could not be directly applied to invalidate the claims of the study cited by this piece (which I did not author).

As one reader pointed out there was legitimate problems (lack of auto trans and A/C) with the Elantra that was examined by TrueCar.com... see my update for commentary on this.

That said, I think the article was relatively clear if you read in carefully about what numbers it was claiming. Clearly in extreme use cases, the general conclusion that hybrids were a worse deal would be invalidated (and that conclusion may have been invalidated, anyhow, based on the above discrepancy)...

quote:
I've had the same Camry for 15 years. Don't drive it much, but over time, its hit 200k [and counting]. I fail to see why expecting a newer car to last just as long is out of bounds.


The car will last that long, but the hybrid battery pack likely won't. Even if miraculously is still chugging it will likely be reduced to practically nothing and your mpg will suffer greatly (as you no longer have a hybrid effectively)...

That said there was an error in TrueCar.com's numbers that MrTeal pointed out. My point wasn't that the numbers were infallible, just that your comparison didn't necessarily invalidate them...


RE: Years != Miles
By yomamafor1 on 5/17/2011 2:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The car will last that long, but the hybrid battery pack likely won't. Even if miraculously is still chugging it will likely be reduced to practically nothing and your mpg will suffer greatly (as you no longer have a hybrid effectively)...


Not sure where you get that, since some Priuses are still returning the same MPG 10 years and 200k miles ago.

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2011/02/toyota-...


RE: Years != Miles
By heymrdj on 5/17/2011 11:46:13 AM , Rating: 3
Well at least you said some and didn't use a blanket term. The Prius's battery life has been far from stellar. I have personal experience with a failure just passed 112000.

Same article you linked: "Not all Prius owners have been lucky with their batteries, though. Many have complained about batteries failing after 100,000 to 150,000 miles of use. Consumer Reports rated the reliability of the battery of the 2001-2003 Prius as worse than expected. A brand-new replacement battery can cost between $2,200 and $2,600, but Consumer Reports says that salvaging a low-mileage battery from an inoperable model costs about $500."


RE: Years != Miles
By ebakke on 5/16/2011 7:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Which is an irrelevent argument. The only factor should be "Which is cheaper over the lifetime of a car".
If investment A makes more money in 20 years than investment B but investment A costs twice as much up front, that's half the amount of money you have available to invest elsewhere. So the comparison isn't simply A vs B. It's A + opportunity cost vs B + opportunity cost. If you're able to invest in C with the dollars you saved by purchasing B instead of A, over that same 20 years you might still come out ahead.

As it relates to cars, it absolutely matters how long it takes to break even because that's how you determine the total cost (including opportunity cost) over the lifetime of the car.

quote:
Thats the entire point of the discussion: At what point is the break-even price?
Wait a second. 2 paragraphs above, you said that's an irrelevant argument. What gives?

quote:
What about states where gas is at $4.50 right now? Likewise, what about two years down the road when gas prices peak due to the improved economy? Or price increases over the next decade due to declining production? As such, I'm using a number that is much more realistic to what one would see over the next 7-8 years. Over the next decade, $4/Gallon is far more realistic to what we'll see at the pump compared to just $3.50/Gallon.
When you have a second, can you ask your crystal ball which stocks are going to skyrocket in the next 2-5 years (and then 10-20 years if you have time)?

quote:
Using one set of numbers to argue the Prius isn't cost-efficent is outright idiotic. I mearly showed using more realistic numbers, the cost between the two is roughtly equivalent.
Using one set of number is outright idiotic...ok. So then why did you do the same thing?


RE: Years != Miles
By gamerk2 on 5/17/2011 12:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If investment A makes more money in 20 years than investment B but investment A costs twice as much up front, that's half the amount of money you have available to invest elsewhere. So the comparison isn't simply A vs B. It's A + opportunity cost vs B + opportunity cost. If you're able to invest in C with the dollars you saved by purchasing B instead of A, over that same 20 years you might still come out ahead.

As it relates to cars, it absolutely matters how long it takes to break even because that's how you determine the total cost (including opportunity cost) over the lifetime of the car.


Argument fail. Using that logic, I can argue the up front extra cost is made up for by the later on savings. So with the higher up front cost, I have more money to invest later, making up the difference again.

quote:
When you have a second, can you ask your crystal ball which stocks are going to skyrocket in the next 2-5 years (and then 10-20 years if you have time)?


Nope, but I can tell you where the markets as a whole are going. Oil in particular can be expected to be up year over year, for a variety of reasons, including declining production, increased demand, more speculation, and consumers adjusting to constantly higher prices. I think $4 a gallon 5 years down the road is wildly optomisitc, quite frankly.

quote:
Using one set of number is outright idiotic...ok. So then why did you do the same thing?


To prove that using more realistic numbers leads to a differnet result, proving how idiotic cherry picking numbers is.


RE: Years != Miles
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 11:17:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Argument fail. Using that logic, I can argue the up front extra cost is made up for by the later on savings. So with the higher up front cost, I have more money to invest later, making up the difference again.
Do you know how investing works? It's not going to the casino and putting everything down on a single hand of blackjack. It's all about compound interest. The longer you have your money working for you, the better. If it takes you 10 years to break even on the more expensive car, and you can't start investing your savings until year 11 you're going to have to get one helluva return (or be investing crazy amounts) to make up for 10 lost years.

quote:
To prove that using more realistic numbers leads to a differnet result, proving how idiotic cherry picking numbers is.
Do you not see that you're also cherry picking numbers and also trying to tell the rest of us that they're realistic?


RE: Years != Miles
By adiposity on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Years != Miles
By ebakke on 5/16/2011 7:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the article Jason was referencing? It was written 3/10/11. I'll give you one guess what the average price of gasoline was on that day.


RE: Years != Miles
By DigitalFreak on 5/16/2011 7:36:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
At a gas price of $3.52 USD/gallon (the average price at the time of the report's publication)


RTFA


RE: Years != Miles
By phantom505 on 5/16/2011 5:03:25 PM , Rating: 3
From a strictly economic standpoint nothing he said was wrong. Judging by what's happening in the world I wouldn't expect this to change much.

I recognized this and bought a '11 Ford Fiesta. I average (yes, average) in warm weather 38-39 MPG. In cold weather I got was low as 33 MPG but closer to 35 MPG.

The car serves me well. I need transportation for myself and my personal effects while in medical school. I paid $17k on the sticker and with TTL and insurance for a year it was just about $19.5k.

My other option was to drive a Honda Odyssey. My choice has saved me a lot of money. A hybrid would have cost me significantly more since I would have had to finance one of those and I paid cash for the Fiesta. So yeah, don't forget the finance part of this; interest adds up quickly.


RE: Years != Miles
By phantom505 on 5/16/2011 5:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
The total included a 100,000 mile factory warranty. The DCT only needs maintenance every 150k miles. Oil changes are every 10k miles, pretty sure you have use synthetic blend.

So the cost of maintaining this car is very low. For me that's about once a year oil change. I don't know about hybrids but I somehow doubt you can get away doing that little.


RE: Years != Miles
By FITCamaro on 5/16/11, Rating: -1
RE: Years != Miles
By phantom505 on 5/16/2011 5:57:34 PM , Rating: 1
It's apparent you have no clue as to what factors effect the interval of oil changes. Just to list a few: heat cycles, amount of particles in the oil to start (one of the factors that changes dramatically with synthetic versus blends versus conventional oils), likelihood creating particles through the heating cycles, gasket and ring integrity, quality of filter, viscosity, and so on.

10k is probably still conservative for synthetic blend on a modern motor. Newer motors with synthetics have been shown to go 20-25k without issue.

You just have to say something contradictory don't you?


RE: Years != Miles
By ebakke on 5/16/2011 7:35:12 PM , Rating: 3
Oh god. Don't get him started on cars.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 8:51:25 PM , Rating: 1
I don't like the idea of that much crap in my engine for 10k miles. I run synthetic, and I would NEVER go past 5k. I don't care what the manufacturer claims. As the mileage on your car increases, so does the amount of particulate matter that's suspended in the oil. Frequently changing the oil removes these particles from the engine, one of the main functions of motor oil.

Have you ever worked in the service or maintenance field? Trust me, manufacturers today are NOT highly invested in engineering long lasting products. These are the same people who use plastic on metal gears on your washing machine. Why? Because it's engineered to most likely fail after the warranty is expired.

Auto manufacturers are, for the most part, no different. So sure, go 20k between oil changes. Going that long, you start losing the benefits of synthetic oil's superior engine protection.


RE: Years != Miles
By phantom505 on 5/16/2011 9:25:38 PM , Rating: 1
I was an electronic warfare technician and a chemist. I've done my own car maintenance for the last 15 years, including having designed a turbo kit. Planned obsolescence is largely a myth (except GM in the 80's and it cost them dearly).

Every time you type stuff like this I have to replace my BS meter.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 9:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
Look, you change your oil your way, and I'll change mine my way. I don't give a damn what you think either way about it. It sure as hell doesn't HURT a vehicle to change the oil often, does it?

quote:
Every time you type stuff like this I have to replace my BS meter.


Coming from someone who just threw a bunch of unverified credentials at me over the Internet? Hey while we're at it, I'm Donald Trump, and 'you're fired!' :)


RE: Years != Miles
By phantom505 on 5/17/2011 6:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
So you can challenge my credentials, then say that I'm a liar by virtue of the fact it's the internet. Pure FUD. I'm sure everyone runs around saying things like I was an electronic warfare technician and help develop a turbo kit for a car. Doesn't everyone?

I stopped lying, even on the internet, when I was teenager. I guessing you're doing a lot projection here. The things I see projected are incompetence, lying, and deception. You should be a CEO.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 6:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
I like how you are completely ignoring my proof that synthetic oil uses the same detergents and additives that are in regular oil, and break down just the same.

Or how about this, genius. Even if the oil could go 20k miles, the goddamn oil filter sure as hell couldn't!

I don't care who you are or what you do. I only care that I'm, again, right. Apology accepted.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Years != Miles
By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:07:06 AM , Rating: 2
You need to go check out some UOAs. Can't say this is true with every car but with several cars you can go 10k+ and the oil is still clean enough to safely used in the engine.


RE: Years != Miles
By EricMartello on 5/17/2011 6:50:49 AM , Rating: 2
No oil fights contamination, but modern oils such as the popular Mobil-1 contain DETERGENTS which are designed to break down soot and other particles that would otherwise form a layer of gunk within the engine. This is why the oil turns dark brown. When it is fresh it is about the same color as honey.

If you have a modern car, like something 1990 or newer, and you are using a full synthetic...5,000 to 6,000 miles is a reasonable interval for oil changes assuming you do typical driving in an urban setting. If you use oil that is designed to work for extended intervals, such as Mobil 1 Extended Performance, it's reasonable to allow up to the advertised 15,000 miles between oil changes, which means once a year for most people.

Of course, if you plan to leave the oil in there for 15K miles you should purchase a quality oil filter to go along with it. Mobil oil filters are great, but so are purolator Pure-1 and AC Delco Gold. Napa-branded filters are pretty good too.

I use Mobil Extended Performance oil and change it annually, which works out to something like 8K miles. FYI the chemistry of Mobil Extended Performance is similar to Amsoil, which means if you were to send a sample to have it tested at the lab, you'd see that it does in fact work as advertised and is worth the slightly higher price (even if you stick to more frequent change intervals).


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 11:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No oil fights contamination, but modern oils such as the popular Mobil-1 contain DETERGENTS which are designed to break down soot and other particles that would otherwise form a layer of gunk within the engine. This is why the oil turns dark brown. When it is fresh it is about the same color as honey.


Can you read? Those DETERGENTS are the same ones that regular oil uses, and they break down just the same. Once the additives and detergents break down, you no longer have adequate engine protection, synthetic or not.

quote:
If you have a modern car, like something 1990 or newer, and you are using a full synthetic...5,000 to 6,000 miles is a reasonable interval for oil changes assuming you do typical driving in an urban setting.


Yeah that's what I go for, around 5k, no longer. But 10 or 20k? That's just flat out bad for your car, period.


RE: Years != Miles
By EricMartello on 5/17/2011 9:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can you read? Those DETERGENTS are the same ones that regular oil uses, and they break down just the same. Once the additives and detergents break down, you no longer have adequate engine protection, synthetic or not.


I wasn't disagreeing with you, bro...but since you assed. The detergents and additives in oil do break down, but the rate at which that happens depends on driving conditions and the quality of the oil itself. Synthetic oil doesn't lose its ability to lubricate due to viscosity degradation as much as non-synthetic oil does.

quote:
Yeah that's what I go for, around 5k, no longer. But 10 or 20k? That's just flat out bad for your car, period.


10-20K intervals are quite possible on a modern engine with quality oil and filter. You do realize that there is no set interval and that what you accept as common wisdom is what you were told by the people selling you the oil.

Amsoil creates blends of oil specifically designed to last up to 20K miles. Why? It's intended for fleet operators as a way to reduce maintenance costs without increasing repair costs due to potential engine problems caused by overused oil.


RE: Years != Miles
By mindless1 on 5/21/2011 3:33:43 PM , Rating: 2
There are very easy to understand facts that clearly disprove your claims. Testing has proven that same engines operated in the same environments, then stripped down and checked for wear and sludge, could operate multiple times as long on synthetic oil as dino oil.

Despite all your seemingly logical thinking the fact is that you can run synthetic oil for 10K miles or longer with no more wear or deposit buildup than dino oil for 5K miles.

You do need to change the oil filter on the same schedule with either. If the vehicle is operated in very hot climates or the driver revs the RPMs up a lot and runs the engine hot, the dino oil lifespan becomes an even smaller fraction of that for synthetic (with the dino needing replaced in less than 5K mi.).

On the other hand, engines without design or manufacturing flaws, treated reasonably and maintained, tend to run 200K mi on dino oil fine so if you are going to change oil at 5K intervals there isn't much reason to pay more for synthetic oil.

Seldom do I see people mention it but you can tell easily enough with a simple tool - your eyeballs. Oil that is wearing away an engine gets dark. Always. If your synthetic oil is at 10k miles and isn't getting dark yet, you don't have to think about particles, acids, or anything else - it's not wearing the engine or creating sludge if it isn't getting dark.

On the other hand if your synthetic oil has 500 miles and has darkened, it should be replaced... and unless you have a reason why it got dark so fast like the car being driven like a race car, it is time to get a mechanic to see what is wrong before more costly damage occurs.


RE: Years != Miles
By The Raven on 5/17/2011 12:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Have you ever worked in the service or maintenance field? Trust me, manufacturers today are NOT highly invested in engineering long lasting products. These are the same people who use plastic on metal gears on your washing machine. Why? Because it's engineered to most likely fail after the warranty is expired. Auto manufacturers are, for the most part, no different. So sure, go 20k between oil changes. Going that long, you start losing the benefits of synthetic oil's superior engine protection.
So I take it you did work in the service or maintenance field? You had as much motivation to convince those people to change their oil every 5k as the car makers do to say 10k is appropriate. If not more, since they have a motivation to make or protect a reputation for long-lasting vehicles. The service places have no such motivation. (Though the oil manufs do for 'long-lasting' oil.)

But that aside, by your own logic of being weary of the vendor's motivations (which I agree with BTW) you should be changing your oil every 7.5k. Not too close to the car manuf's recommendation, and not too close to the serviceman's recommendation.

And there is no way you can convince me that 1k either way is going to make much difference. So personally I don't even think about changes until I hit 6k. Then it is a "when I get around to it" kind of thing.

But in defense of your regimen, it doesn't cost that much more to change at 1k less than me (actually maybe a bit since you are using synth). You are being more 'safe than sorry' if that is a fear for you. Nothing wrong with that IMO. I just don't have that fear based on my experience. But your statements beg the question: Why not change at every 3k? 2k 1k? And if you weren't using synth, how often would you change? That is what I don't get.


RE: Years != Miles
By DigitalFreak on 5/16/2011 7:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You enjoy your 10,000 mile oil changes. I'll ensure my car lasts and go no more than 5000.


Hmm... Should I believe you or the company that actually designed and manufactured the vehicle? Do you work for one of those instant oil change places?


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 8:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hmm... Should I believe you or the company that actually designed and manufactured the vehicle? Do you work for one of those instant oil change places?


Do you think that company wants your car to last forever? Or do they want you buying more cars? You tell me. I think they're in the business of selling cars, not keeping yours on the road forever.


RE: Years != Miles
By yomamafor1 on 5/17/2011 2:19:20 AM , Rating: 1
And you're in the business of selling your BS. I'm not entirely sure which one is better.


RE: Years != Miles
By Shadowmaster625 on 5/17/2011 9:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
It is a silly argument, because the biggest factor in how long your oil lasts is how contaminated the air is that goes into your engine. No filter catches everything. If you drive under pristine conditions all the time, you can go 50k miles without an oil change. But of course no one does.


RE: Years != Miles
By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 11:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is a silly argument, because the biggest factor in how long your oil lasts is how contaminated the air is that goes into your engine.


What!? Talk about BS! Water moisture, acids, carbon deposits etc etc do NOT come through the filter. And these are what break down the additives in motor oil. Not just dirt from the filter.


RE: Years != Miles
By Dr of crap on 5/17/2011 11:25:20 AM , Rating: 2
Oil changes and it's intervals could fill this web site so full it would take days to read them all.

That said to each his own. Change when you want and don't try and change anyone. It's kind of like politics and religion, don't bring them up if you haven't got the time or energy to debate til the end.

Now I have changed oil 3500-7500 miles for the past 28 years. I've ran 3 of these cars to over 175,000 and they ran perfectly until I got rid of them. I've not had one engine failure because of oil damage. I've not had to overhaul any engine. I now do an oil change around 5000 miles after reading a lot of interesting info about the modern enignes and oil additives. I use normal oil, no man made stuff. No loyality to any brand or brand filter.

Believe it or not. I'm am not trying to change anyone point of view about oil changes, just stating my experiences. Modern cars can handle this. You might have gotten a BAD setup or did something to make problems if you've had a motor fail, but the vast majority of cars now can handle what we do to them and will last. It's doing the PM so they run good.


RE: Years != Miles
By corduroygt on 5/17/2011 7:33:54 PM , Rating: 2
They don't want you to buy a new car because your old car is broken, they want you to buy a new car because you want something new and shiny.

It's in their best interest to make sure your old car lasts long and gets a reputation as being reliable, so you can trade it in for a higher value and get a more expensive newer car from them. If your car was not reliable, you're less likely to shop from them and might go to one of their competitors.


RE: Years != Miles
By Azethoth on 5/16/2011 5:09:34 PM , Rating: 1
Bias? What is wrong with you sonny? Jason clearly states his assumptions, shows his calculations and results for a few scenarios. If you were to read the article carefully you would know to also take the subsidy into account. You do not, so yeah there is bias, but I am thinking you are being biased.

So lets rework your results a bit to take into account no subsidy, because those are not gonna last forever and come out of my taxpayer pocket: oops, the $7,500 subsidy makes the Prius no good on a pure _cost_ basis in your scenario.

So the article stands as is. Right now, with subsidy, Prii are right at the edge of competing. No subsidy = not quite as competitive depending on scenarios. Actual EV are competitive +/- battery failures which are still unknown at this time.

So really the upshot is, buy green cars if you can afford it. It supports R&D and gets us to even better tech faster. Also, in the zombiepocalypse your green car will let you outrun them longer than a gas guzzler will.

Finally, iirc Jason's well known biases are pro green tech, or generally just science oriented. Nothing wrong with that seeing as how this is Daily _TECH_.


RE: Years != Miles
By DrKlahn on 5/16/2011 5:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
Now add in the price of the battery replacement and the numbers aren't even close for the Prius. The added complexity of the hybrid drive is likely to add to out of warranty maintenance costs as well.


RE: Years != Miles
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
Prius's HSD has less moving parts than the current Hyundai Elantra/VW Jetta TDI's gear box.


RE: Years != Miles
By RussianSensation on 5/16/2011 8:41:50 PM , Rating: 1
Even if the Hybrid breaks even at 10 years, the 'emotional suffering' of driving such a boring vehicle isn't worth any cost savings. Some of us actually purchase automobiles for enjoyment factor. And I am sorry to say but outside of Fisker Karma, all of the other hybrids are just "appliances", not automobiles.

Also, the assumption that an average person keeps a car for 200,000 miles (320,000) is unrealistic. Most people in Canada, for example, consider a car with 200,000 kms (125,000 miles) pretty much scrap.


RE: Years != Miles
By frozentundra123456 on 5/16/2011 11:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you that the Prius is boring, but really, is an elantra exciting either?? The Honda Civic is probably the nicest and sportiest small car, but expensive.

Any you have a point about 200,000 miles in a cold climate. Here in Minnesota, I cant imagine even the best built car surviving the road salt and generally harsh cold weather conditions for 200K miles without being quite ugly.


RE: Years != Miles
By frozentundra123456 on 5/16/2011 11:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you that the Prius is boring, but really, is an elantra exciting either?? The Honda Civic is probably the nicest and sportiest small car, but expensive.

Any you have a point about 200,000 miles in a cold climate. Here in Minnesota, I cant imagine even the best built car surviving the road salt and generally harsh cold weather conditions for 200K miles without being quite ugly.


RE: Years != Miles
By Shadowmaster625 on 5/17/2011 9:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
So the Prius becomes $750 cheaper over 10 years as gas price crosses the $4 threshold? Yeah but you are forgetting financing. Let's be realistic, most new cars on the road today have a loan and an interest rate attached to them. It costs roughly $1000 to finance $5000 of principal for 5 years at 4%. Since the Prius costs $7000 more you're looking at an extra $1400 finance charge over 10 years, at 4% interest.

If you are financing any part of the vehicle then you need gas to be much more expensive in order to pay for the extra financing on the Prius. If financing the entire purchase at a crappy interest rate, gas would need to be up around $6 a gallon to make the Prius a better deal over 10 years.

It is highly unlikely the Prius is a better deal for anything remotely close to what we'd call the average driver or the average usage pattern. There are probably only a few thousand people who have usage patterns that would make the prius a more economically viable option.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cheaper car loans generally can be paid off quicker. Once the loan is paid off, you then get the option to remove the costliest component of your insurance coverage, which leads to even more savings.

Also, we have to look at the various state registration charges. If your annual registration fee is based on vehicle MSRP, then you're getting screwed once again by the Prius. If it is based on weight then again you're still getting screwed if the Prius is heavier. Over 10 years this could add up to another few hundred bucks.

Then there is the additional annualized maintenance costs for the battery. What is that, about $100-$200 a year? Or an extra 1-2 grand after 10 years? Ouch. Even if gas was $7 a gallon it is a stretch to think that anyone would be better off with a Prius.


By dgingeri on 5/16/2011 6:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
I believe my reply to that is suitable using lyrics of Montgomery Gentry's song "You do your thing":

quote:
I ain't tradin' in my family's safety Just to save on a little gas


it just fits here.

let's face it, smaller, lighter cars are more vulnerable to damage from bigger vehicles. In addition, they have a lot more kinetic energy at the same speed than smaller, lighter cars. People do get hurt a lot more in small cars when they are hit by bigger cars. When a smaller vehicle gets hit by a bigger vehicle, they accelerate faster than the bigger car slows because of this. This causes worse "sudden direction change" injuries, as I call them, like stretching of the corpus collosum, blood vessel damage in the brain, and other closed head injuries. These are the biggest killers in car crashes, and can sometimes kill hours, days, or even years after the crash.

The only defense against that, with our current technology, is a bigger vehicle. Many people, including my parents and my sisters, would not go with a smaller vehicle because they want their children to be as safe as possible. My older sister has a Ford Excursion. My parents have a Ford Expedition. My younger sister has a Toyota SUV of some sort that's about the same size as my parents' Expedition. They all say they aren't getting a smaller vehicle because they aren't as safe, no matter the gas costs. they'll just drive less when the gas prices get higher.

TLDR version: you will not get rid of the big vehicles, ever. people just won't let it happen.


By corduroygt on 5/16/2011 9:37:05 PM , Rating: 1
They will get rid of them once they can't afford the gas. Also, the defense against injuries in crashes is to drive safe.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 9:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
And when we can't afford electricity either because of EV's, then what?


By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:24:22 AM , Rating: 2
Then we get off our ass and finally make some new nuclear plants? Fear mongering is a pretty crappy tactic. You'd be better off asking what's going to happen in 10 years when gas is likely going to be over $6, perhaps even higher given recent trends? Can't afford gas forever given that prices are only going to go up unless we have some breakthrough and can literally manufacture cheap gas.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 11:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You'd be better off asking what's going to happen in 10 years when gas is likely going to be over $6, perhaps even higher given recent trends?


Then we get off our ass and build more refineries and expand drilling? Fear mongering is a pretty crappy tactic.

quote:
Then we get off our ass and finally make some new nuclear plants?


The same people who are against oil are also against nuclear power, so good luck in getting more nuke plants built.


By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
You're just as bad as Tony Swash and Reader1 when it comes to arguing. No need to respond to rhetorical questions. Especially don't need to respond with sarcasm.

Could be right about the nuclear plants, but if we need more electricity then they'll have to do something and wind/solar is too expensive right now for them to use. Could be more coal plants if it's just in the near future, but long term only nuclear, solar, and wind make any sense unless something else comes along.


By corduroygt on 5/17/2011 12:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Who says get an EV? They can get a more fuel efficient vehicle. Also, the solution for EV's is to build more nuke plants.


By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 7:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, the defense against injuries in crashes is to drive safe.


don't I wish. Unfortunately, I lived in Chicago for about 2 years. Driving safe doesn't defend against other idiots. I got hit a total of 7 times while living in Chicago. 5 of them were very specific circumstances: I was driving the speed limit, leaving a safe distance in front of me, and getting tailgated for it. Then someone pulled over in front of me going 15-20 under the speed limit. I hit the brakes and managed not to hit them, but I got hit by the jerk tailgating me. tailgating, speeding, and slow merging are constant problems in the entire Chicago area. The other 2 times I was sitting still for a full minute or longer and just got hit. in one of those case, I was stuck in completely halted traffic and got hit by someone trying to pass traffic on the divider, but he lost control because of the gravel that had built up there, hitting my driver side door. I've also had my car hit 5 times in parking lots.

As far as accident my fault go in my 800,000 mile driving history, I've bumped 2 parked cars in icy parking lots. That's it. I drive safe, but I get hit by idiots.

Driving safe won't protect against that, only actual enforcement of the traffic laws would do that (that's why traffic laws exist) however, that doesn't happen in Chicago. The cops and judges are useless there. In the 7 times I got hit, they never once gave out a ticket. Because of the way the laws work there, that wound up causing some major confusion on which insurance company was to cover the expenses to fix my neck after the third time I was hit from behind. I wound up with the choice of paying $25,000 for a lawyer to recover $15,000 in medical expenses, or just paying out of my own pocket. Yeah, great choice. 3 cars and $15,000 later, I moved out of Chicago, half because it was just too expensive and dangerous to live there. (The other half was because I missed Colorado, a halfway civilized society that isn't completely ruled by lawyers.)


By DominionSeraph on 5/17/2011 12:13:03 AM , Rating: 1
Except the only time a SUV is safer is when it impacts a smaller vehicle. Same-sized and single-vehicle, a SUV is much LESS safe. So your "safety" is only based off killing people -- killing those in smaller cars to give yourself a boost, while all-around being less safe.
If everyone valued this phantom "safety" of a big SUV and bought one then everyone would be less safe.

The person you were talking about was for getting rid of SUVs. This would have the effect of increasing overall safety. If nobody can drive a SUV then you don't have to worry about getting hit by one. You can drive a mid-sized sedan without fear.

If you buy a SUV for safety you're psychopathic.
Hello, psychopath.


By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 7:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
if you had the choice of having a 50/50 survival and an 80/2o in a crash, which would you pick? If you had to deal with the same chances with your family, having to live with one or more members of you family just because of the size of the car you drive, which would you pick? I find nothing psychopathic about it.

honestly, I hate trucks. I pull up to an intersection, trying to turn left, and I can't see past the stupid truck in the right turn lane. That's frustrating, yet it happens all the time on my drive home from work. I have to wait until the truck turns in order to see any traffic coming from that direction. Frequently, I have to do the same turning into my apartment complex, but its because the truck in the opposite left turn lane is blocking my view of oncoming traffic.

I drive a Monte Carlo, which is a mid sized coupe. I don't drive a truck. However, I understand the reasons most people around here (Colorado) drive trucks, either SUVs or pickups. In collisions, the chances of survival are higher, no matter the conditions. (In other words, no, it doesn't depend on hitting smaller vehicles, you idiot.)

I find the tone of this post to be incredibly insulting and moronic at the same time. you obviously know nothing about either physics or people. go home and watch your ecchi, otaku, reality is not your string point.


By tng on 5/17/2011 9:10:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
find the tone of this post to be incredibly insulting and moronic at the same time. you obviously know nothing about either physics or people. go home and watch your ecchi, otaku, reality is not your strong point.


Don't bother, you really can't tell somebody like that anything.

That is the type of person that would outlaw SUVs for the sake of the environment, safety, or half a dozen other half-baked ideas to save us from ourselves because we obviously are stupid.

I remember a coworker telling me that CA should restrict the use of pickup trucks and SUVs to people who could show a need for them, not just to drove them to and from work wasting gas.

I told him that also wouldn't it be great if everybody had to move into a house that was sized for them, after all it was not fair that he lived in a 3100sqf house when it was just him and his wife. They should have about 700sqf each and that should be it....

He did not get it.


By DominionSeraph on 5/17/2011 11:45:30 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
if you had the choice of having a 50/50 survival and an 80/2o in a crash, which would you pick?


That isn't the only thing you're picking. You're picking worse performance in single-car and equal-car performance for, not only greater protection in unequal-car, but worse performance for the passengers of the other car. You're getting 80/20 because they're getting 20/80.
The SUV is worse overall AND it kills people in other cars in the one instance it is better.

quote:
In collisions, the chances of survival are higher, no matter the conditions. (In other words, no, it doesn't depend on hitting smaller vehicles, you idiot.)


Yes, it does depend on hitting smaller vehicles. SUV's are not the safest car per mile driven. Large cars are safer, and minivans safer still. And both get in fewer accidents than SUV's as well.

SUV's are prone to rollover, are unmaneuverable, and their mass ain't gonna help you when you hit a tree.

quote:
I find the tone of this post to be incredibly insulting


You're basing a conclusion regarding safety on feeling rather than data. An insult is warranted.

quote:
go home and watch your ecchi, otaku


Buy a clue. It's ponies.


By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 12:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, it does depend on hitting smaller vehicles. SUV's are not the safest car per mile driven. Large cars are safer, and minivans safer still. And both get in fewer accidents than SUV's as well. SUV's are prone to rollover, are unmaneuverable, and their mass ain't gonna help you when you hit a tree.


you are presuming my driving style and my vehicle. Guess what, I don't drive and SUV and I have only had 2 accidents when I hit someone else, and those were bumping parked cars in icy parking lots.

My main concern, and those of my family, who have better driving record than mine, is getting hit, not doing the hitting. We don't run red lights. We don't speed. We know how to drive in snow. The big problem is that others don't. All of us have been hit by someone else breaking traffic laws. None of us (except for my dad running into a tree about 40 years ago) have hit other drivers or other objects while breaking traffic laws. I did hit a curb about 3 years ago making a legal U turn when I hit some gravel in the road and slid about 2 feet instead of turning.

It safer getting hit in an SUV than a smaller car in any case. In this case, getting hit does not mean I'm killing people. If they hit me, it's their fault and they're killing themselves.

Get a clue about what's going on.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 1:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
You're arguing with someone who said people who bought vehicles he didn't personally like were "psychopathic".

Turns out way back in 2007 the IIHS and the NHTSA concluded SUV's are safer than cars. So all his arguments are garbage anyway. Almost every SUV is 5 star side and 5 star frontal crash rated.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/04/iihs-and-...


By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's amazing how personal you took his argument we he clearly states he's talking about as a whole. If you're in an SUV and get hit by another SUV then you're going to end up being less safe than a car vs car collision, at least if his data is true. I mean, if being in an SUV is all about safety, using your logic, and nothing more then we should all be driving them meaning it's nothing but SUV/SUV collisions, probably with more collisions too since it takes them longer to stop. Of course, if safety is your primary concern then why not just get a dump truck or a moving van. I'm sure they weigh more. Hell, just by your SUV and fill it with lead weights.

If you need an SUV then you need an SUV, which sadly most don't but that's not my point, but getting one because of safety is borderline idiotic.


By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
And yet the ironic part is that if we had less bigger vehicles on the road it'd effectively negate safety as a primary reason for buying them. Sure, you could argue about all the dump trucks, semis, etc on the road but if you get hit by one of those you're pretty much screwed no matter what you're in.


By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 7:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
That would be true, but it won't happen.

I think this story applies to this:
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=21641

a great many people aren't going to backtrack


By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
Ohh you're right. I just love the irony. :) Most people don't use logic and rational thinking when buying products. That's more or less the American way.


Compare apples to apples
By MrTeal on 5/16/2011 4:49:49 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think the Prius is necessarily the best deal, but you really aren't doing a fair comparison here. The $14k Elantra is a manual without air conditioning. Add in AC and an automatic transmission (like most people would purchase) and you'd be looking at a $17k car.




RE: Compare apples to apples
By gamerk2 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Compare apples to apples
By Connoisseur on 5/16/2011 5:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be realistic here. How many people keep their cars till 200k miles? Also, this is going back to the point that the batteries will most likely NOT last nearly up to 200k miles which means either expensive replacement or degraded performance. Even if you compare the 17k price point for the Hyundai that the previous post stated, it's still a difference of about 5-6k which will takes several years to make up. I'd rather have the extra 5k in hand right now to invest in something else.

Hybrids don't make sense right now...


RE: Compare apples to apples
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
With the Prius, the HV battery is most likely to last more than 200k miles.

http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-main-foru...


RE: Compare apples to apples
By wiz220 on 5/16/2011 5:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, usually Jason is accused of being a liberal-lefty-so-and-so. If that's the case wouldn't he be backing the hybrids or skewing things in FAVOR of them?


RE: Compare apples to apples
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 5:27:52 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Hmm, usually Jason is accused of being a liberal-lefty-so-and-so. If that's the case wouldn't he be backing the hybrids or skewing things in FAVOR of them?


People tend to be very confused about my political views because I'm a free thinker.

Reclaimer has accused me of being a "bleeding heart liberal" or something of that nature in recent history. And in the Sony article today a reader accused me of being a follower of Glenn Beck...

In reality my political opinions don't fall neatly in line with either party, so I supposed I'm doomed to be alternately blasted for supposedly following both (which I don't!).

Back to the topic on hand...
As for green-tech my political opinions -- other than the tax credit on EVs -- are a non-issue. (And even that opinion I kept to myself, simply mentioning the distinction...)

I didn't author the TrueCar.com study, rather our executive editor assigned me to write on it.

I apologize for missing the distinction about the A/C... I did basic fact checking on the numbers but I never thought the base model wouldn't come with A/C... I updated as soon as I found that out.

I'm generally supportive of hybrids/EVs, but I understand they're still NOT wildly ahead of gas vehicles or certainly diesels, given how much you have to invest up front.

Though if gas stays so high, that could change...


RE: Compare apples to apples
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Compare apples to apples
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 5:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think the Prius is necessarily the best deal, but you really aren't doing a fair comparison here. The $14k Elantra is a manual without air conditioning. Add in AC and an automatic transmission (like most people would purchase) and you'd be looking at a $17k car.


Good point, see the update.

Again, I didn't come up with the Prius v. Elantra comparison, was just reporting on that study.

Either way, with the tax subsidy factored in the EV comes out ahead of the winner of the hybrid/gas race. So the part that I contributed remains accurate at least...

If you can find a LEAF/Mitsubishi i, I should say... as they're pretty scarce...


RE: Compare apples to apples
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2011 5:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
They still make cars that don't come standard with AC?


RE: Compare apples to apples
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 5:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They still make cars that don't come standard with AC?

I was surprised by this too, I admit...

Apparently the South Koreans do... No wonder those Hyundai's claim to be so darn cheap!!

(At $18k w/ auto and A/C the Elantra sounds a lot glamorous than @ $14.8k w/out...)


RE: Compare apples to apples
By ebakke on 5/16/2011 7:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, the base model Civic doesn't even come with a radio. Just 4 preinstalled speakers.


RE: Compare apples to apples
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 8:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
I can live without a radio, besides those are marked up to hell and back from the dealer anyway. For what a basic radio costs at the dealer, you could buy a premium head unit third party.

I can't, however, live without A/C. As I live in the South where the humidity alone can make it hard to breath.

No car in 2011 should come without A/C standard. Shame on you Hyundai.


RE: Compare apples to apples
By ebakke on 5/17/2011 7:58:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'm cool with them not offering it standard. Just like not offering a block heater standard. Living in the South, you probably don't need a block heater. In other climates, A/C might be a convenience but not be a requirement. I'm cool paying for what I need/want and not being forced to pay for things I don't.


RE: Compare apples to apples
By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2011 11:09:23 AM , Rating: 1
Block heaters? Isn't that for diesel vehicles?

quote:
In other climates, A/C might be a convenience but not be a requirement.


That's foolish thinking. What if you move? What if the weather changes and you have a hot year? It happens. What if you go on a trip?

And good luck selling a car that doesn't have A/C. I mean, really?


RE: Compare apples to apples
By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
Then they get to suffer. Why do you care what actually in their car? You're not driving it and it'll never affect you.


RE: Compare apples to apples
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 11:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Block heaters? Isn't that for diesel vehicles?
You're thinking of glow plugs. A block heater is typically identified by the extension cord hanging out of the front grille, and often is used to keep the oil warm (or at least warmer than the ambient temp) for easier starting in brutally cold temps.

quote:
That's foolish thinking. What if you move? What if the weather changes and you have a hot year? It happens. What if you go on a trip?
Oh c'mon now. Don't insult me because we have different opinions. If I move, or if the weather changes I'll either deal with it being uncomfortable or ... install an A/C! It's not like the only available option is to install it from the factory. Just because I'm willing to accept dealing with that scenario when/if I encounter it instead of paying for something up front that I may or may not use, doesn't mean I'm foolish or unable to think critically.

Furthermore, let's use your exact same complaint but with a block heater. What if you move? What if you travel? What if you want to sell it? You'd adapt, just like I would.


RE: Compare apples to apples
By tng on 5/17/2011 8:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
I love all the people here who claim that they want enjoyment out of a car and then say that they want a Automatic Transmission. Can't anybody here use a clutch? Auto trans suck out half of the enjoyment of driving. Also if you use a manual correctly you get better mileage.

The AC, well yeah, that is a requirement where I live. I drove a car without AC for 10 years here in the Summer and always had 2 bottles of water with me, one to drink and one to pour over my head to cool off. Sitting in the middle of traffic moving 5 mph for miles at 100+ degrees sucks...


RE: Compare apples to apples
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
Prius doesn't have the Automatic Transmission's liquid torque converter system.


even better deal...
By dgingeri on 5/16/2011 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 3
three thing mentioned here that could potentially change everything:

1. hybrid technology used today uses batteries. batteries that cost a ton to change every 3-4 years. Throw that into the equations and the deal is even worse for hybrids

2. also, with that battery system in place, you lose efficiency to the engine in the of internal resistance both charging and discharging the battery, as well as extra weight being hauled around.

3. with hybrid technology using capacitors for regenerative braking to assist with acceleration and getting rid of the batteries, these hybrids could be as much as 20% more efficient. Figure 50mpg going up to 60mpg. Removal of the batteries would also improve the cost of production.

Now, if they'd build a small 2 seat car with a decently powerful engine, I'd probably get one to replace my 2005 Monte Carlo. It only gets 30mpg, but it can actually merge onto a highway at speed, instead of slowing everyone down and screwing up traffic.

They need to outlaw underpowered cars so that they stop screwing up traffic and causing the immense traffic jams all over the place. That would help all our wallets. People who don't match speed with traffic before merging, forcing traffic to slow down to let them in, can affect a busy highway for 2 hours after the incident. Each occurrence can slow traffic by 10% or more. The next time you drive down a highway and traffic is slowed to 20mph, you know its the idiots merging slower than traffic that are to blame. (Not to mention, I've been hit from behind 5 times because I had to slow down for some idiot merging onto I290 in Chicago going 40mph while traffic was going 60.)




RE: even better deal...
By Azethoth on 5/16/2011 5:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is there are two causes of inadequate merge speed:
1) Gutless car as you mention
2) Gutless driver
Unfortunately 2 is far more common and is exacerbated by:
3) Traffic smoother.

These people leave a 5 mile gap to the next car and think that by driving slowly they will magically make the traffic smooth out and go faster. Sadly, all they do is make traffic go slow and prevent traffic jams from unjamming. Unjamming can only happen when traffic volume decreases, or people accelerate fast off the back of the jam.

Sigh. Also, yes there are studies showing the folly of traffic smoothers.


RE: even better deal...
By dgingeri on 5/16/2011 6:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, I saw the study from MIT. They made one car have a "desired speed" 10mph below that of the other drivers on a semi-busy road. It caused a jam that took anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to dissipate, even though that car was only on the road for 15 minutes.


RE: even better deal...
By Philippine Mango on 5/17/2011 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you don't think a traffic smoother works, then why do they employ metering lights? Why not think of a traffic smoother like a metering light, except a rolling one that is on the highway? I'm sure you'll counter argue saying that metering lights reduce the amount of cars on the road and therefore that's the only way to improve the flow of traffic. The problem is, when you have people merging and changing lanes, causing people to slam on the brakes, it's almost like creating an obstruction in the road and when people don't attempt to smooth out that obstruction like traffic smoothers do, then everyone has to slow down at that exact spot. I think you're just trying to excuse your self from your bad road manners. I'd much rather be in slow moving traffic that has no changes in speed than in traffic where I have to slam on my brakes because of something someone did two hours prior.


RE: even better deal...
By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 1:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem is, when you have people merging and changing lanes, causing people to slam on the brakes, it's almost like creating an obstruction in the road and when people don't attempt to smooth out that obstruction like traffic smoothers do, then everyone has to slow down at that exact spot.


The big problem there is that people need to get up to speed before merging onto the highway. That way we don't get slow downs at merge points. It's actually in the Colorado driver's manual and the driver license test. those people are the rude and dangerous ones. Of the 7 times I've been hit from behind, 5 of those were from having someone merge onto the highway doing 15-20 under the speed limit. (Of course, this was all in Chicago, where nobody is punished for violating traffic laws.)

traffic smoothers are idiots that try to make up for one type of idiocy with another, and just make things worse.

http://www.studybarn.com/TheQuestion/In-the-accele...
http://www.ehow.com/how_2057959_merge-traffic.html
http://www.mpi.mb.ca/english/dr_tips/wfpcolumn/Hwy...
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Driving-Driving-Test-23...

there is no two ways about it. match speed with traffic before merging. that's is the only way to properly merge.


RE: even better deal...
By Philippine Mango on 5/17/2011 2:49:58 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is, you're assuming all congestion is caused by people merging.. While merging can and does affect the flow of traffic substantially, there are times where there are slowdowns to a complete halt for no apparent reason. It turns out, a lot of these slowdowns can be caused by rubberneckers and or because of a collision that happened hours previous. In my area, when there is object or a situation that potentially can cause rubbernecking, we have a CHP officer cross all the lanes of the highway going the same direction in order to not only reduce the speed of traffic but to also have everyone drive at a smooth but reduced pace. The CHP literally acts like a pace car like you'd see in Nascar.


RE: even better deal...
By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 3:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
There are a few areas around Denver where lanes end instead of becoming a forced turn off lane. 3 or 5 lanes of heavy suddenly become 2 or 4, for the two I can think of off hand. These get huge congestion jams during rush hour, especially on the 3>2 merge. (That one is at I225 and Parker Rd in Aurora, a particularly stupid design that has cost us major, major time in this city. the jams end up going all the way back to I25 at times, a distance of over 12 miles. What's even worse is that they designed that lane to split exit, then end it 1/4 down the road before the bridge. If they had made it a exit only lane, that would significantly reduce the jams.) Yes, stupid road design is partly to blame for some of these jams.

However, there are more places where stupid people refusing to get up to speed before merging cause major jams. All along C470 in the western Denver suburbs are really bad about that. There is one on-ramp from Sante Fe onto east bound C470 that has a steep incline, and frequently people will merge onto the 65mph highway going 20-25. I know my car has the ability to get up to speed long before merging on that same ramp, and it's not all that powerful. these people just refuse to do it. I've seen so many accidents because of that on-ramp in the year I lived out in the western suburbs it makes me cringe. I remember seeing one compact car had been completely run over by a semi right at the end of the merge ramp. The occupants were probably killed in that one.

As for rubber neckers, they're as stupid as the slow mergers. they need to keep their minds on what is happening in front of them, not off to the side. it doesn't concern them, so they need to ignore it and think about what they're effects on other drivers are.


RE: even better deal...
By gixser on 5/16/2011 8:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have never seen any discussion/feedback/article suggesting battery replacement occurs every 3-4 years on hybrids. Google searching on the subject seems to reveal the opposite with annecdotal evidence suggesting Prius owners reporting no issues with >200k miles on their vehicles. If you want to believe Toyota, their "research" shows a healthy battery pack after 180k. FWIW, my discussions with Prius driving taxi owners report no battery issues past the 300k mile range.

quote:
1. hybrid technology used today uses batteries. batteries that cost a ton to change every 3-4 years. Throw that into the equations and the deal is even worse for hybrids


RE: even better deal...
By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 7:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
That's simple. most hybrids on sale currently use Lithium Ion batteries. Lithium Ion technology has a limited lifetime of about 3-4 years, less if operating conditions are above a certain temperature or discharge/recharge cycles are more frequent.


RE: even better deal...
By Philippine Mango on 5/17/2011 3:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong.. Most hybrids use Nickel Metal Hydride batteries because they're cheaper than lithium ion batteries. Only the very most recent vehicles are considering Li-ion. Further more, because of the warranties on these cars, even if the batteries died in 4 years, they'd have to be replaced under warranty because hybrids have a minimum of 8 year warranty on their emissions system which includes batteries and other electric drivetrain components. If you buy a Prius in california, that is extended to 10 years, 150K miles. Manufacturers typically design their cars to have a very high probability of outlasting the warranty which means that you won't likely be replacing the batteries for the life of the vehicle and if you do, it will be under warranty. I have lithium ion batteries that are over 10 years old for a notebook computer and they still retain their charge. The reason batteries die is because of how they're used and stored and in the case of hybrids, they're kept in as optimal conditions as possible.. (no 100% charge at 120F like you see in a laptop)


RE: even better deal...
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
On your point 1, Prius G1.1(NHW11, 2003) says Hi.

My Prius G2 is dated from DEC 2004 and it's HV battery's state of charge still good.

Your "change every 3-4 years" for the HV battery claim is BS.


RE: even better deal...
By Rasterman on 5/18/2011 12:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
Your entire post is complete BS.

1) Toyota, taxis, and millions of people have been driving Priuses with the original batteries for over 100k,200k, and taxis even 300k miles, 5-8 years. Toyota was actually surprised how little problems they are having with the batteries and will last well into 15 years, at a small drop in capacity of course.

2) Are you joking, you must not have a clue about the efficiencies of electronics, batteries, and ICE. ICE are about 20% efficient at best, the best electronic motors and batteries are 98% efficient.

3) again you are clueless, capacitors lose a charge very quickly, in a matter of milliseconds, they cannot store a charge for a long time, and for them to store a powerful charge they are huge and expensive, much more so than batteries. sure there are some pie in the sky technologies always 5 years away that try to solve this problem but its not happening anytime soon. capacitors are worthless for regenerative braking as any power they store is gone in a few milliseconds unless dumped into a battery.


RE: even better deal...
By encia on 5/18/2011 2:18:08 AM , Rating: 2
Just a minor point on capacitors...

Instead of rechargeable batteries, Toyota Supra HV-R: Hybrid racing car uses supercapacitors.

Toyota already in R&D on pure supercapacitors powered hybird cars.


RE: even better deal...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/18/2011 11:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
WOW, 3 to 4 years for battery replacement? Tell that to all the people in the Gen II 300K Mile club who have not had to replace their batteries, AND have only replaced their brakes once, and had one tune up. What, you didn't know that hybrids preserve the brakes and engine since the electric motor takes most of the load for both jobs? What else do you not know about hybrids? Only NYC cabs have had to replace their batteries.


Leaf me alone.
By icanhascpu on 5/16/2011 4:35:44 PM , Rating: 1
Nissan's LEAF EV is the bes-- err ugliest deal of all




RE: Leaf me alone.
By icanhascpu on 5/16/2011 4:38:34 PM , Rating: 1
+1

Seriously, ugly stick beatings wouldn't be enough. This car drove through an ugly forest and ran over a few ugly trees.


RE: Leaf me alone.
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/16/2011 4:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
+1

Seriously, ugly stick beatings wouldn't be enough. This car drove through an ugly forest and ran over a few ugly trees.


Nice comment, but wait, did you just +1 YOURSELF? :O Tsk, tsk...

My own personal take would be that I was not aware that manatees and whales could mate until I saw the LEAF....

One thing I mentioned, but I should emphasize is that although the LEAF is the most economical (in theory) in the long run, it's also very hard to find one (there's a waiting list).

That's important to point out, as the Hyundai Elantra may win out given the ease and non-need to put money up front for a marginal 10 year return (which isn't great considering that if you invested wisely, you'd get a much larger return on that ~$10k...)


RE: Leaf me alone.
By icanhascpu on 5/16/2011 5:17:46 PM , Rating: 2
:O LIES! DECEPTION! OPTICAL ILLUSIONS!

Practical matters aside, I really hope they start designing better looking cars. I do not get the uglification of hybrids. Thankfully it looks like they are slowly getting more attractive, if not just in looks (some models more than others..).


RE: Leaf me alone.
By Solandri on 5/16/2011 8:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
It just means he forgot to switch accounts before posting the follow-up. See? Nothing nefarious nor deceptive about it. Just an innocent mistake... ;)

The "uglification" of hybrids is, I'm pretty certain, directly linked to aerodynamics. Reduction of the angle change between the hood and the windshield seems to be pretty prominent in hybrids, so I suspect there's a strong aerodynamic advantage to that. Unfortunately it leads to the car looking less car-like and thus "uglier" (in addition to increasing the amount of glass needed for the windshield).


RE: Leaf me alone.
By shiftypy on 5/17/2011 4:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
Today I found out that Nissan GTR has better aerodynamic drag than most regular cars at 0.26 (same as 2009 Prius)

At that being as mean looking as it comes and with a huge spoiler in the back :)

Can't they just take Prius drivetrain and put it in GTR? On another thought I rather keep the 500hp V6 :P

Point being that you don't have to shape your car after a soapbox for it to be aerodynamic


RE: Leaf me alone.
By encia on 5/17/2011 11:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
Prius G2/G3 can carry useful household cargo.


RE: Leaf me alone.
By tng on 5/17/2011 9:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
Besides some of the Lexus models, the only serious hybrid that has any looks is the Honda CR-Z. Not super sexy, but better than a Prius.


Conclusions for north americans
By ipay on 5/16/2011 6:20:33 PM , Rating: 1
In Europe, the price of gasoline can be $8.6 USD/gallon (where i live), so the math can change a bit.

But here, there aren't those big tax credits so... i don't know.




RE: Conclusions for north americans
By dgingeri on 5/16/2011 6:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Europe also isn't as big and spread out as the US. our city and suburb planning is directly related to our mobility. without this mobility, we would have to change how we do nearly everything. We would have to have stores closer to living area, disrupting the flow of traffic and distribution of goods. The stores would have to be smaller as a result, causing prices to go up. (There is no illusion: bigger stores mean bigger discounts, meaning lower prices. This is actually how reality works.) Commutes would also have to be shorter, meaning a great many people would have to change jobs or move closer to work. Since many jobs are in downtown area (a really stupid business move, if you ask me) many people would have to move closer to the big cities, driving up costs of already expensive real estate. This would cause many people to sacrifice owning a home and force them to live in apartments. This degrades the wealth of the country as a whole.

this country lives on gasoline. Our efficiency is based on it. Our wealth is based on it. Our way of doing business is based on it. This country will be weaker and poorer if gasoline goes up in cost that much. Any increase in gas taxes would do the same: make us weaker and poorer.

The politicians know this. They aren't going to mess with it right now. They know that the current crisis on gas prices is hurting the whole country, from lowest to highest. Even Obama has capitulated and allowed expanded oil drilling in domestic reserves. I may not agree with most of his policies, and I may not believe he knows enough about real world economics, but I don't believe he's a complete fool.


RE: Conclusions for north americans
By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:29:12 AM , Rating: 2
IDK if I really agree with what you said, but I can say that the bit about the gas tax is pretty poor logic. If increasing the tax makes us poorer then decreasing it should make us richer. Though, you could argue that the curve isn't linear and is parabolic in nature. Of course, the odds that we just so happened to pick a gas tax that is at the apex of that curve at the given moment is pretty ridiculous sounding.


RE: Conclusions for north americans
By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 1:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
history has borne out many times that lowering taxes increases collected tax revenues. Basic macroeconomics.


RE: Conclusions for north americans
By Alexstarfire on 5/17/2011 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
It very well could depending on the circumstances. In this case though there is no way that lowering the gas tax would increase revenue for gas sales, long term anyway. You only have to look at the demand for gas to understand that. If the demand is very inelastic, as is gas, then increasing the price, or tax in this case, is only going to increase revenue. Basic microeconomics. :)


By dgingeri on 5/18/2011 1:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
it's true for direct gas taxes, but with reducing the gas tax, costs of transportation, of people and of goods, go down. this leaves more money to be spent on other expenses and/or wants. this means more money moving through the economy, meaning more taxes collected.

Taxes, as a whole system, are a function of how fast the money moves through the economy, not just a single step of the process. The faster money moves through the economy, the more taxes can be siphoned off. Thus, when taxes of any type go down, the money moves faster through the economy and more taxes can be collected. Of course, this is also dependent on those with large amounts of money reinvesting their profits into the economy, which has been slacking lately.

(This is why I hate state lotteries. the big winners of lottery games don't reinvest, they just spend. it doesn't provide the same stimulus into the economy as reinvestment does, and too much is removed by the government through taxes, slowing the economy further. In addition, short term stock and real estate investments also hurt the economy, as the money doesn't really have time to be reinvested. they take their profit and run rather than keep it in to reinvest properly. Both of these things hurt the system.)

In addition to this, the money supply has a significant impact on this. If the money supply grows, it reduces the value of each unit, increasing inflation. This has been a problem lately as well. While our economy is growing in dollar value, the value of the dollar is being reduced because of an increased money supply, thus making the growth less effective. With the slow growth and high inflation of 2009, our economy actually shrank, thus collected taxes, and the value of those taxes, shrank all over. This has introduced the problems with government budgets lately.

There were 2 things that needed to happen to reduce this effect that didn't happen: reduce taxes on the lower/middle class as the lower and middle classes spend the highest percentage of their income and would push the circulation of money faster, and lower taxes on investments.

While some see lowering taxes on investments as a tax cut for the rich, it is exactly those people who have the responsibility of reinvesting to keep the economy going. Tax cuts on investments only pushes those with large amounts of money to reinvest more instead of just spending more on their wants. this allows more money to be spent on hiring more people and buying more business equipment. This all increase jobs and the money spent by the middle and lower class, since they are more and better employed.

Eliminating taxes on money spent by businesses on new positions and new business equipment as well as on long term (3 years or more) investments by individuals in businesses for a short term (one year for business investments, three years on long term individual investments, delayed taxes on short term individual investments) would likely rescue the economy and bring us back to <4% unemployment within a year and increase collected income taxes from other sources tremendously. Then the taxes start up again and the economic growth slows back down to normal rates. The rescue would be over at that point, and the tax rates would keep the growth in check after that. If the growth rate gets too high, then raise taxes to keep it from getting dangerously high. (There is danger in both too much growth and too little.)

This is getting into slightly advanced economics that most people wouldn't know, but this kind of thing was covered in my one semester class.


Of course, you also have the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid...
By Mozee on 5/16/2011 11:51:35 PM , Rating: 2
Nearly instant payback on this one.

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid MSRP $34,645 36/41 mpg
2011 Lincoln MKZ MSRP $34,645 18/27 mpg

Granted, you will likely see a bit more manufacturer incentive on the non-Hybrid model, but this one pays for itself very quickly. It's definitely the exception to the rule, but it does make you wonder why more hybrids aren't priced in this manner.




By Targon on 5/17/2011 6:16:55 AM , Rating: 2
It costs more money to make a hybrid, just because of the cost of the battery pack plus other systems. I have not done a comparison to see if there are missing features from the hybrid MKZ compared to the regular to make up for keeping the price the same.


By Mozee on 5/17/2011 7:58:47 AM , Rating: 2
Just did a quick look-through on the feature comparison between the two versions - direct from Lincoln:
quote:
ALL MKZ EQUIPMENT PLUS:
- Airbags – Driver Knee
- Badge – Exterior (Hybrid Unique)
- Battery 275V Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH)
- Brakes – Regenerative Braking System
- Engine – 2.5L 16V Atkinson I-4
- Instrument Cluster – SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide
- Permanent magnet electric motor
- Seats – 2nd Row – Fixed (Due to battery placement - Gas MKZ has 60/40 folding)
- Transmission – Aisin Powersplit E-CVT Automatic


By encia on 5/18/2011 12:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
E-CVT can reduce the moving parts in transmission side.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/18/2011 11:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
There is only one planetary gear set in a CVT. So definitely less moving parts.


and the cost of replacing batteries is???
By kenyee on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: and the cost of replacing batteries is???
By Targon on 5/17/2011 6:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
The battery pack is theoretically warrantied for 10 years on the Prius. But there may be other costs involved in the maintenance that are just not taken into account.


By encia on 5/18/2011 2:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
What cost are they?

On my Prius G2, most the cost comes from the traditional technology side e.g. oil(ICE), brakes(front and back disc), cooling fluids(ICE), air filters(ICE/Aircon), parking lights and 'etc'.


By encia on 5/18/2011 2:21:46 AM , Rating: 2
BS, my Prius G2 is already more than 5 years old i.e. DEC 2004.

Prius's HV battery is recyclable.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/18/2011 11:45:19 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong on the replacement cycle. Most Prii never have to make this replacement. Plus, as to other costs, those are MUCH less because the electric motor takes the load off the brakes and the engine. Most 300K drivers have had one brake job and one tune up.


prius is a higher end car than elantra
By surt on 5/16/2011 10:30:50 PM , Rating: 3
I mean seriously, have you seen both cars? The prius is much nicer, well beyond things like ac/automatic.




By DominionSeraph on 5/17/2011 12:24:05 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that was my question when I read the article -- are the Prius and the Elantra even comparable?

Compare a BMW 7 series to a Yaris with only point-A-to-point-B calculations and of course the Yaris will come out on top. That doesn't mean that people don't value the adds that the 7 series brings.

If the Prius is several thousand $ more CAR then you can't factor that into a comparison of basic transportation cost. It's money going to things that are above and beyond basic transportation.


But...
By Homerboy on 5/16/2011 5:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to venture to say that the majority (if not vast majority) of EV and hybrid buyers are not doing it to save pennies on their gas usage. They are buying it to help lay the foundation, infrastructure and future demand for such vehicles that will continue to drive the overall prices down, and the ROI up.

They purchase it to help their environment (or at least feel as if they are) in even the slightest way. To help stem our need of (overseas) oil.

Those are the goals of the current hybrid/EV buyers.




RE: But...
By ebakke on 5/16/2011 7:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well sure. And that's exactly why hybrid sales are a drop in the automobile-sales ocean. Until the masses have some reason other than "feeling good about it", the situation will stay as it is.


There's more
By bug77 on 5/16/2011 4:55:05 PM , Rating: 1
There's also the resale value. And the fact that a hybrid has both the problems of an ICE and those of an EV.
And God forbid you damage that battery in a car accident. Of course, this scenario has nothing to do with the conditions in the test above.




RE: There's more
By encia on 5/18/2011 2:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
How much for Jetta TDI's Turbo module?


Midsize vs. Compact
By usbseawolf2000 on 5/16/2011 5:28:10 PM , Rating: 3
Midsize Prius can pay back or even cost less than a compact after 7.5 years!

When will the Sonata payback when compared to the Elantra? Never.




Also doesn't factor in who your money goes to.
By kraeper on 5/16/2011 6:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
In general, I'd rather give my money to Toyota (or really any auto manufacturer) than an oil company.

Sure, it might cost a little more over 10 years, but other than a stuck accelerator here and there, car companies have blown up far fewer people than OPEC money has. They have also produced significantly fewer oil spills.

Sometimes Dollars and Cents should take a backseat to Dollars and Sense.




By DominionSeraph on 5/17/2011 12:32:12 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know why you got voted down for that.

Oil companies invest money into sucking more of a finite resource. It's a dead end.
Car technology, OTOH, is an actual advancement in human knowledge. It brings us better things.
I, too, would rather my money go towards a better car of the future than just dumping it towards sucking more oil.


By DonKofAK on 5/17/2011 3:50:58 AM , Rating: 3
Skilled financial analysts would find the analyses in the article too simplistic. A more sophisticated discounted cash flow analysis and/or life cycle cost analysis will take into consideration the time value of money and would likely consider whether future gas and electric costs in a specific market will remain flat, decrease, or rise.

The U.S. gas consumption peaked a few years ago and is likely to remain down because of the movement toward fuel efficiency and fuel conservation. Other markets, especially those in Asia, Africa and the Mideast are expected to increase their relatively low per capita gas consumption, thereby increasing the world demand for gasoline while the U.S. curtails its consumption.

What do you suppose will happen to gas prices in the next decade or two? Level or decreasing prices seem about as likely as the sudden return of the polar icecap.

The presumption that batteries will quickly lose utility is not borne out by the recent re-test of a 2002 Prius by Consumer Reports; the high-mileage vehicle now performs at nearly the same level as when it was new. It's likely that battery prices, like computer prices, will decrease over time as a result of (1.) technological advances, (2.) improved manufacturing methods, and (3.) economies of scale as the number of auto batteries produced each year rises. Do you remember the $3,000 IBM Personal Computer and its specifications circa 1983? What of the 1986 $3.200 Compaq 6MHz Intel 286 with a 5 meg hard drive?

The increasing number of small windmill and solar electric installations will raise the demand for used automobile battery packs, as they'll be ideal for storing electricity by residential and small commercial systems.

None of these issues are to be found anywhere in the analyses discussed in the article.




There are more flaws and weak logic here
By Targon on 5/17/2011 6:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
Another thing that was missed is that very few people have the money to just BUY their car, so financing is also a critical part in the expense of any vehicle. What sort of interest rates are available to people of fair to good(not great) credit? Toyota is one of the worst when it comes to interest rates, and they NEVER offer any incentives on the Prius. As a result, the Prius ends up also costing a lot more each month for those who need to finance and have credit scores in the 650-710 range compared to other manufacturers.

The cost of maintenance, not the battery pack which may be under a 10-year warranty, but in general was also not discussed. Features and overall car ability need to be comparable as well to make for a proper comparison(not just automatic transmission, A/C). If you look at the comparisons out there, you see sub-compact cars compared to other subcompacts, and you go all the way up. The reason is not just in terms of price, but of features and overall capabilities.

Then there is talk about EVs....people forget that you DO need to pay for the electricity, and electric rates are NOT the same all over, so it isn't "free", and MUST be calculated into how expensive it is to own an EV.

Once you start going for feature parity, you will see that while the Prius may not be a bad purchase, there are a lot of trade-offs. Acceleration is critical for those who have to merge onto a highway for example, or available cargo room. What about other features, since most people buying a car these days want more than just the basics? The Prius 5 for example is quite a bit more expensive.




By Philippine Mango on 5/17/2011 3:05:16 PM , Rating: 1
0-60 in 10 seconds is PLENTY fast. If you have to merge onto the highway at a rate faster than that, then something is seriously wrong with your driving habits and or where you're driving. Cars 40 years ago had a 0-60 time of around 20-30 seconds yet we already had a developed interstate highway system at that time. Most on ramps give you plenty of space and time to safely merge onto the highway in far more than 10 seconds. Don't confuse the people who switch into the slow or cruising lanes at 45mph when the rest of traffic is going 65mph with those who slowly accelerate in the 'on ramp off ramp' lane. In my area we have 5 lanes going in each direction on the interstate highway. The lane to the far right is typically for the on ramp and off ramp.. On a 65mph highway, there is absolutely no reason people in the far right lane (on ramp/off ramp) to be going faster than 55mph because those who are getting off the highway shouldn't be going faster than that and those getting on shouldn't need to be going faster than that either. The reason anyone could possibly feel they need to be at 65mph in the on ramp off ramp lane is because asshole drivers who are already on the highway who are exiting the highway at a high rate of speed.

The driving attitudes and behaviors of people for the last 60 years appears to be in a never ending arms race with people driving increasingly faster and more aggressive.


$3.5 GAS ??? LMAO
By Rasterman on 5/17/2011 11:02:03 AM , Rating: 3
If you honestly think gas is going to average $3.5 over the 10 years you are kidding yourself. Even at the rate of inflation of 3% at 10 years gas will be $4.7, so an average of $4.1, and with our current fiscal policy inflation is going to be much higher, 5-10% minimum, which would put gas in 10 years at $5.7 to $9. This is not even accounting for massive projected energy demand from India and China. I would guess in 10 years gas is going to be $10 - $25 a gallon and articles like this one will be laughed at while being driven to work in your self driven Google EV.

In 20 years once self driven cars have been entrenched for 10 years, people will see cars and transportation in a much different light and not care about it so much, the boomers will start dying in mass and their nostalgia for autos will die with them, no one will be able to afford gas anyways for big or powerful cars at $50-$100/gallon, mass EV transportation will take over slowly and only the very rich will own a car.




What about Hollywood
By Azethoth on 5/16/2011 5:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
On second thoughts, if we go all EV, what would happen to crashes in movies? Instead of glorious explosions we would get ... arc lightning discharges? Battery acid in the face melts? We need to think through the consequences here.




So??
By InvertMe on 5/16/2011 5:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
If the sole reason for buying the Prius was to save money then maybe this story would mean something but that's not the case.

It's almost like saying buying oranges at $4.00 a lbs is a waste because you can get apples for $3.00. Sure they are both fruit and can feed you but they are not the same thing.

I think some people just would rather buy and drive a Prius.




Diesel vs Gas vs Hybrid vs EV
By Lord 666 on 5/16/2011 5:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
Let's do a real comparison next time and include all of the possibilities.

Assuming they did not because the TDI would make the other vehicles look insulting




Suicide rate?
By Christobevii3 on 5/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Suicide rate?
By dgingeri on 5/17/2011 11:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
especially males being forced to drive powder blue Priuses by their wives. :)


By CharonPDX on 5/16/2011 5:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
Back in 2004, with a new child due soon, and two aging, not-very-child-friendly vehicles, we decided to look for a new car.

The contenders (all hatchbacks of some form):
Toyota Prius - Gen 2
Hyundai Elantra GT
Volkwagen Jetta TDI Wagon

I threw together a spreadsheet comparing all sorts of stats: safety, cargo capacity, head/leg/shoulder space, etc. Plus a giant "fuel economy comparison" sheet. It had variables for gas price, gas price increase per year (wow did we under-guess that!) miles driven per year, etc. Then there were the 'maintenance costs'. Obviously, those had to be guessed. We took into account the warranties on the drivetrains (the Elantra and Prius had the same 100K, the Jetta less,) and started "expensive maintenance" after those mile markers. I even budgeted in an extra $2000 for the Prius at the 150K mark, assuming that would be the price of the battery pack at that point.

And, just for grins, I added in "keep the existing car".

Obviously, "keep the existing car" won, financially. But it was an ultra-cheap car I bought when I got my first "real job", two door, not very safe, no AC or power anything. Just not a very kid-friendly car. (It was a Hyundai Accent.) It served us well, with no real problems, hence the inclusion of another Hyundai in our calculations.

Of the remaining cars, it ended up being a tossup between the Jetta and the Prius for the most part. We figured that we would own the car for at least 200K miles (which would be less than 10 years, as I drove a *LOT* for my work at the time.) The Prius pulled ahead of the Elantra at the 98K mile mark, and ahead of the Jetta at the 140K mile mark. So we went for the Prius. (I'd say it was about 50% "money savings over time", about 20% "environmentally friendly", about 20% "more family friendly" (aka safety) and about 10% "geek who likes technology" that factored into the final decision.)

Since then, gas prices have increased faster than expected, and based on two friends who bought mid-00s Hyundais, the maintenance cost would likely have been more than predicted for the Hyundai. After the purchase, we did look at both the possibility of buying a used Jetta TDI to replace our other vehicle, then converting it to run on grease, and the idea of converting the Prius to a plug-in hybrid. We ended up inheriting a slightly-newer-and-more-fuel-efficient car to replace our second car ('98 Subaru Forester replacing a '94 Ford Explorer) and just kept that rather than buying a replacement.

Since the math, I have gotten a new job that involves essentially no driving, so the rate of putting miles on the car has gone way down. As such, we only just broke the 100K mile mark during year 7, instead of the predicted year 5. But now that there is a cheaper 'plug-in-conversion' kit available ($2000) I just might do that now, which would give the Prius enough EV range to cover my commute.




Cost question I don't see.
By Belard on 5/16/2011 7:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
When comparing the LEAF and other EV to gasoline cars - talking about their savings, etc.

How much does it cost to RECHARGE your car? Price per mile, roughly?

What we need are some cold-fusion reactor cars.




which is cheaper??
By frozentundra123456 on 5/16/2011 11:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
I still tend to favor a fuel efficient gasoline engine car. Besides having to replace the battery pack eventually, I cannot believe that all the complex regenerative braking, power management and computer controls in a hybrid will not eventually call for costly repairs, especially in a climate like Minnesota where I live with all the road salt getting in the mechanicals under the car. And I plan to retire in a few years and cut the amount I drive drastically.

That said, if one drives a lot in the city especially, where the advantages of the hydrid are most usable, it could make sense. One must also consider that eventually gas will probably cost 6.00 to 8.00 per gallon. In that case, a hybrid or all electric vehicle makes sense.




Electric Energy Costs
By sleepeeg3 on 5/17/2011 4:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot to include the added cost from the windmills & solar panels that the hippies are also forcing us to switch to. These will raise the costs of electricity by ~4x as much, once you factor in the efficiency and lifetime operating costs that are excluded from any green energy site.

Wind turbines also require neodymium, which is required for the electric motor in the turbine and electric cars and China owns 98% of the supply of - that will raise the cost of these vehicles. It will also require 50% of the world's obtainable lithium supplies to put the current world population in electric vehicles, which will dramatically increase the cost of electric vehicles. Additionally, we are seeing the effect of artificially increased gas prices through wars, liberal legislation and inflated prices to compensate for decreased consumption.

No matter how you cut it, we are moving to one limited resources to another and electric will be more costly in the end.




predict the future ?
By poi2 on 5/17/2011 8:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
Assumming 4 Dollars per Gallon fixed price for the next 10 years is preety bad prediction i think.




Even if...
By Philippine Mango on 5/17/2011 1:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you don't keep your car for 200K miles, the Prius and other hybrids retain their value significantly better than a comparable Elantra or any other car for that matter. So if you habitually sell your vehicle after 5 years, you'd still be ahead with the Prius since more of its value would be retained.




By Chuck Darwin on 5/18/2011 1:01:04 AM , Rating: 2
The comparison of a Prius to a cheap Korean econobox is ludicrous. Every other comparo uses comparable models from the same make to compare whether hybrids are worth it. If you use different makes, you can bias the results, and that was plainly done here. Why not compare the Prius to an Audi A3, another "high mileage" 4 cylinder non-hybrid that is roughly the same dimensional size as the Prius? Oh, right, the A3 costs more in the first place, so it wouldn't fit your bias.

Had you wanted to get a defensible answer, you would've compared the Prius to a Corolla. But then I guess you know you would have found that the break-even point is about 1 year, just like Road & Track did when they did the same comparo two years ago. Actually, that was at $3/gallon gas, so now the break-even point is undoubtedly under a year. Not 200,000 miles, more like 10,000.




EPA Size Class vs Report's Size class
By encia on 5/18/2011 2:49:30 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/26425.shtm...
2010 Prius G3's EPA Size Class is "Midsize Cars".

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/30980.shtm...
2011 Chevrolet Volt's EPA Size Class is "Compact Cars".

The report's Chevrolet Volt vs Prius G3 size class is wrong.




By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/18/2011 8:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
Not that there isn't some validity in the article, but comparing two compact cars with a mid-size is not really on point (2010+ Prius is a mid-size.) Let's see the mid-size comparisons.

Also, why leave out the Ford Fusion hybrid (another mid-size), which gets 25% less mpg than the Prius, and costs $3k more? How about a Honda Insight as well, which costs $4K less (of course their batteries ARE failing, unlike the Prius.) The Prius C will cost less and get 62+ mpg epa rating, so that makes it a better comparison.

Also, please consider other reasons for owning a more fuel efficient car besides personal finance, primarily keeping oil money out of the wrong hands, and keeping US troops out of the middle east. Also, I think there is this environmental thing, but I am told I am full of crap.

Okay, go back to your SUV and pickemup truck fantasies while I go back to paying $30 per fill up every 10 days or so witha 40 mile commute - each way.




By superstition on 5/21/2011 2:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Why the US is still so in love with gasoline engines seems to be because of the dominance of oil companies.

Check out the MPG of a small diesel engine with a modern transmission in a small light car. For highway travel especially, there is no contest.




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