Hybrid vs Gas what should I do

So you see gas prices rising, and you think….should I take the plunge and get a hybrid…thinking gas mileage, gas mileage gas mileage.  But have you ever thought of what the real difference is.

First a quick thought on the batteries.  Most hybrid batteries are not the old lead acid type, but still there is sufficient reason to believe the obtaining, production, use and disposal of the batteries has a much larger impact than the industry or the “Green” people are willing to admit.

That aside lets take a quick look at comparisons for reasonably similar vehicle.

Honda Civic LX Automatic vs Honda Civic Hybrid.

The MSRP on a Civic LX automatic is about $19,305.

The MSRP on a Civic Hybrid is about $24,700

Giving you an instant difference of about $5,395. (now granted you might be able to get these cheaper through someone like me, but with gas prices hitting highs again, many of the dealers are holding fast on the MSRP)  Lets take an average 12.000 mile per year person.  The Civic LX will get around 32 mixed average driving.  (based on my own driving) requiring 375 gallons a year.  The Civic Hybrid should get around 42 per year taking about 285 gallons to go the same distance.

At $4.00 per gallon the LX will take $1,500 of fuel, the Hybrid will take $1,140 for a net difference of $360

If we  had purchased the LX we would of had $5,395.00 left in our bank account.  If we assume no interest on the money left in the bank it will still take almost 15 years to break even.  If you are able to get even a paltry 2% per year you will push that recoup time up closer to 20 years.

What about $5.00 per gallon you ask…seems like you hear about one of these scare sound bites a week..  The Civic would use $1,875 of fuel and the Hybrid would use $1,464..for a difference of $446.  Again with no interest it will take you over 12 years to recoup the money.  With interest closer to 15.

Most people never own a car more than 3 to 5 years…small percentage own one 10, even smaller over 10.

Technology in transportation in the US anyway has never been faced with high priced gas, so the “Brains” who will give us the next major improvement in fuel economy are working…and what might be just around the corner.

My thoughts, if fuel economy is your concern, there are numerous great gas mileage vehicles out there that do not rely on expensive, caustic, dangerous batteries to simply help get a tiny bit better mileage.  Buy one of them…drive it, enjoy it, leave the thousands extra in the bank, set back and watch technology for the next few years….if I was wrong and they never come out with any better gas mileage cars, or gas drops back to #2.00 per gallon..you have lost nothing.

Hybrids might be a partial answer..but for me, I will wait and see…and continue to drive my cheap, good gas mileage old Accord.  Still getting 26 to 27 MPG after 350,000 miles.

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