While 48 mpg may be nice, hybrids don't add up right now

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Family' started by Right Lane Cruiser, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Real life comparison numbers are still large.

    My wife refuses to drive the Prius "like a hybrid." She starts it and lets it warm if it's cold and starts it and lets it cool in the summer. That's the same way she drove the Toyota Solara and Nissan Maxima before the Prius. In the Prius, she averages 40 mpg in the winter and 46 mpg in the summer. In the Solara and Maxima before, the numbers were 16.5 mpg in the winter and 22 mpg in the summer. We are effectively saving about 50% of her driving dollars. As part of her job, she gets paid mileage for work related driving. last week she drove 60 miles related to work at which she is reimbursed 55 cents per mile now since gas prices have went down.

    Exhaust emmissions: compare those with a hybrid.
  2. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    I, like many of us, keep my cars until they die. That means resale value is meaningless to me. Flatty's figures make the Prius-Yaris payback nearly 60 years at current gas prices, and nearly 28 years at $4/gallon gas. That's well beyond the average lifetime of either car. Bottom line: hybrids still don't make purely economic sense.
  3. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    ok 2 things 1 is it truly about just saving money, what about conserving gas, i think its at least a little selfish to use more gas than you have to just because you can and what about the environment people who are driving suvs are the ones who should be in hybrids

    also people compare these to the wrong cars, toyota didnt make the prius as an alternative to the yaris, its more an alternative to say a camry or another similarly priced car

    it just happens that the american market is fubar and there arent any more fuel efficient/economical options
    like a diesel yaris (sold in europe), that is realistically an alternative to a yaris, a little more expensive but a lot more fuel efficient, if you keep it long enough it will pay back your money, and if you keep it forever it also might last longer, also resale is higher

    people also forget that current gas prices are prices we may never see again, i am willing to bet that in just 1 year prices will go up again significantly and that they and they will fluctuate, coming up little by little each time
    do these payoff calculations at the gas prices europeans pay and tell me a hybrid isnt worth it

    i understand the point of saving money by not getting a hybrid, however i think there should other options than simply buying more gas
  4. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Like others have said/implied-the Yaris just isn't a Prius. The Prius is a decent USA roadtrip vehicle(meaning 500-600 mile per day interstate vehicle).It has a softer ride and is worlds quieter at 68mph. The Yaris and too a lesser extent the Fit, are pretty noisy at 68 mph-their overgearing maybe 3000 RPMs at 68 mph, doesn't help. The Prius turns under 2000 RPMs at 68 mph. The Prius also has less road noise(tire road) and less "air" noise than those two.

    Yes, they will win an absolutely cheapest contest, but as Wayne implied we in the USA aren't fond of cars that are that small. The Yaris especially just isn't a great car-cheap, reliable but not comfortable on longish trips and buzzing along at 3000 RPMs doesn't help. They need a regearing and probably more flywheel effect to drop to maybe 2200 RPMs at 68 mph.

  5. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Okay, I modified Flatty's payback figures to compare a new Prius with a new Hyundai Elantra M5. I made some different assumptions from Flatty, so I'll explain them. I simply used MSRP for both cars, assuming that what you'll gain by haggling gets taken away by transportation and taxes. I used 136% of EPA combined mileage, as I recall that's where expert hypermilers stand with 2008-9 EPA estimates.

    $1.85 Gas (Today)
    ------------ Price ----- MPG - CPM ---- Fuel/Yr -- Save/Yr----- Premium -- Payback
    Prius II....$21,620..... 63.2... $0.03.....$439..........................................................
    Elantra....$17,009..... 38.8 .. $0.05.....$715....... ($276)........$(4,611)........ 16.7

    $4.00 Gas
    ------------ Price ----- MPG - CPM ---- Fuel/Yr -- Save/Yr----- Premium -- Payback
    Prius II....$21,620..... 63.2 .. $0.06.......$949.....................................................
    Elantra....$17,009..... 38.8 .. $0.10.....$1,546..... ($597)........$(4,611)......... 7.7

    The payback is still near the average lifetime of a car, which is 160,000 miles in the USA - about 10 years.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  6. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    again im not sure an elantra is the same as a prius, i think its more in the mid sized sedan range, but thats my thinking
    you also have to consider that its way easy to get great milage with prius, any non hybrid you have to work a lot harder
  7. fuzzy

    fuzzy Mild hypermiler

    Throw in my household's average car life, and the state's sales tax exemption on hi-MPG cars (9.3%), and the Prius-II wins for any gas price above $1.52. Considering that our gas prices bottomed at $1.75 for a single day, and are already north of $2, this sounds like "case closed," at least for my area.

    I'll be very surprised if fuel prices average under $3 over the expected life of my next car.
  8. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    i agree completely, a hybrid isnt that much more expensive and gas will only go up and they are a lot more efficient
  9. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Guys many are looking short term here. Look at any historical gasoline price chart between 2000 and 2009. Between 2003 and last summer there was a constant rise in prices until the big spike. I paid $2.65 a gallon for 89 gas a week before Katrina hit the gulf coast. That was back in 2005.

    Most of the oil producing countries are pumping oil either at cost or losing money right now. It isn't going to be long before many will keep it in the ground to get the prices up.

    Mexico is in big trouble because their major fields are being depleted and production is dropping at 5% year over year. In less than ten years Mexico will go from a oil exporter to a oil importer. North sea oil fields and the Russian oil fields are all experiencing the same problem. Even with a global recession the rise in oil prices enviable.

    BHO said he wanted prices to rise, he just didn't want them to rise this fast.

    Well kiddies get ready, because he and his party are putting our coast line off limits to drilling. You think in eighteen to twenty four months we will not see three dollar gas again?
    There are going to be major fuel tax increases to pay for infrastructure construction.
    Both Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress and Senate have said they want higher gas taxes. I'm figuring in four years the federal gas tax will be raised by eighty two to a dollar seven cents per gallon over the eighteen cents federal gas tax we pay now.

    Even a year ago I thought I would never own a Hybrid. Well after spending enough time on financial boards I'm looking at cutting as much cost out of my life. A paid for forty five mile per gallon Hybrid makes the most sense. You need to look around and look for every nickel an dime in savings in your life. The next few years are going to really going to suck.
  10. flatty

    flatty Member

    That's the reality. With $4 gasoline:

    MPG - Gas/Yr ------ +10MPG Saving
    10..... $6,000
    15..... $4,000.....33% ..... $2,000
    25..... $2,400 ....40% ..... $1,600
    35..... $1,714 ....29% ..... $686
    45..... $1,333 ....22% ..... $381
    55..... $1,091 ....18% ..... $242
    65..... $923 .......15% ..... $168
    75..... $800 .......13% ..... $123
    85..... $706 ...... 12% ..... $94
    95..... $632 ...... 11% ..... $74

    There is a crossing point on the MPG curve, beyond which you have diminishing returns. I made a similar comment last summer and it was then around 35 mpg with $4 gas.

    The point I was making then was that there is an inverse relationshipt to R&D and production costs that had to be considered against the now small increments in performance (diminishing returns). Basically, economy and efficiency are more than measuring the teaspoons of gasoline you burn. You make great strides to 35mpg with emissions and total annual fuel consumption; but the advantage of adding 5 or 10 mpg past that deminishes.

    Toyota did not make unit profit on the Prius until gen II came out and it may only now be breaking even on the whole program over 10 years later (don't know for sure, but guessing it's about now). That's a lot of resources and costs to absorb that's packed into the new technology - manifested by the hybrid premium.

    Not saying that we shouldn't pursue hybrid technology, but there are cost to it that are often ignored in a curious collective amnesia or defensiveness.

    Woody's Yaris MPG was compared with PDK's Prius figures because I wanted to know if he is a smart guy for buying what he could afford versus what he wanted (a Prius). Woody figured out the numbers and he's a smart guy. Of course, the Yaris is not in the same class, as I stated (but admit it, it looks more fun to drive.) Even with Yaris retaining 35% value (conservative) in 5 yrs and the Prius ~56% (actual), it still comes out ahead $2300 (@$1.85/gas) and $1400 (@$4/gas). All speculation, but reasonable, with a lot of fudge left.

    The numbers come out showing Woody is pretty smart. Because of that, he'll soon make a big salary and be able to afford the Prius he really wants and then begin saving money. :eyebrow:
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  11. chuynh

    chuynh CleanCarTalk

    Very interesting discussion and analyses. Regardless of market economic condition or gas price, I think if one is not in market for a car, then mpg, gas price, hybrid/no hybrid is a moot point. And during hard economic times, those who would normally be in a market for a car will probably do one of 2 things: hold out longer with current vehicle, or buy based on affordability factors. This assumes the non-affluent, mass behavior, and excludes the rich who can afford anything, any time.

    I guess what I'm getting at is our analyses should consider the fact that bad economic condition (jobs/income, consumer confidence, etc.), uncontrolled gas prices (either up or down), and a consumer's shortsightedness, car manufacturers will have a heck of a time promoting clean cars.
  12. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I am very supprised that even here on Cleanmpg, there is no standard and expected maintenance in these cost analysis. When is the last time a Yaris did 125K miles without a brake repairs? In metro area driving, its pretty standard to expect 40 K miles per set of front disk brakes, and 100 K miles for a set of rear drum brakes. And you also have to figure in the standard car starter battery - 60 K miles max. Let alone starters and alternators.

    When I did my original cost analysis I estimated maintenance item lifetimes, and then made a per 1 K mile cost of each service item. Including the Prius hybrid battery. For example - the Prius battery costs per 1 K miles are figured: $3000 (dealer repair) / 125K miles is $24/ 1 K miles. A transmission rebuild on a standard car is going to be about $3500 (Aamco - dealer probably more) / 100 K is $35/ 1K miles. Total brakes on a Prius in 125 K miles $0. On a Yaris - Fronts (twice turn rotors $800) , Fronts (replace rotors $500), F, rears ($300) total $1600/125K - $12.8 per 1K miles. Etc.

    The Prius will probably cost more, hell, its a bigger car and quicker but these bogus 60 year cost recoveries estimates are simply clueless. High shool accounting just does not add-up in the real world.
  13. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    that´s a little harsh, but again you cant compare the two, they are different
    and costs can also be offset somewhat by doing a lot of the work yourself, which i imagine many hypermilers do
  14. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    What many are not figuring is expected life of the vehicle. Sure a Yaris is cheap but is it still going to be on the road at 200K miles? I have found most economy cars are pretty abused by lack of proper maintenance. That also goes for leased vehicles.

    I own Volvo's because I know I will easily get 250K miles out of the cars. Many on this board own Honda's for the exact same reason.

    When you buy a cheap car that is what you are buying a cheap car. If all you can afford is a $12K car then pick a good used car that is two or three years old. It will last a lot longer with proper maintenance than a cheap $10K-$12K new car.
  15. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    One man's predictions and expectations are another man's hypotheticals. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to find Toyota reliability beats Volvo reliability, contrary to ALS' perception. Consumer Reports just moved Volvo up to average reliability, and moved Toyota's Camry down to average.

    Since I DWB, I don't expect I'm typical, but I've got 77,000 miles on the original disk brake pads on my car, and I don't expect to change them until well after 90,000 miles. I'm still using my car's original battery, too. So theoretical maintenance costs are just that - theoretical.

    Dealing with real costs, hybrids are an iffy gamble. The straw that breaks the Camel's back for me is the fact that you can't get a hybrid with MT. I still like having more control over my driving.
  16. flatty

    flatty Member

    Sorry, I didn't realize that the Prius needs no repairs other than battery replacement. Didn't know that it doesn't have all of the same wear components that the Yaris does.

    $5-$6000 is a big number, donee, based on the difference in technologies. We're not trying not count pennies between hypothetical repairs between models.
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Most ignore maintenance for two reasons. It is tough to predict especially on the Prius(which has a longer warranty in most states than the Yaris). We are guessing that the maintenance costs will be close.

    Another point-folks who do heavy P&G can go a very, very long time on brakes. I rarely use much brake on the Suburban or the Prius.Like you point out brake jobs are not cheap,and most folks with ATs need one every 50,000-60,000 miles. It will be less frequent for a Hypermiler.

    Like MateriaPanama says many of us do almost all our own work.I recently changed the shocks, radiator, belt tensioner, brake booster, and water pump on my 208,000 mile Chevy. It was $600 for the parts plus my labor.It might have been $2000 at a GM dealer.

  18. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Let me be more specific on my comment. One I would not expect a $10K Yaris to last and be as problem free as a $20K Camry or $25K Prius. As far as Volvo's go, their quality went down hill after Ford bought them out. The ones I own are my last Volvo's the newer ones have quality issues.
  19. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Sentra, my battery in the Elantra lasted over 90K miles. I still have original brakes all the way around (no brake jobs yet), and the original starter. The car is 400mi from the 100K mark. ;)

    As for manual transmissions, I definitely know what you mean but Honda is the only one who makes a hybrid drivetrain that can even possibly use a manual transmission. They used one in the Civic up through the '05 MY, and the original Insight up until production was stopped in '06. The problem they kept seeing was massively greater incidences of battery failure (as compared to the CVT equipped versions) -- people were lugging the engine because of tall gearing and relying upon the assist mechanism to keep the car moving and the engine running. This resulted in frequent and very deep battery discharges. The CVT would simply change ratios to provide the needed torque without impacting the battery as badly.

    I have a switch in my car (self installed) that prevents use of the battery at all so that I can avoid discharging it unnecessarily. The less I use it, the longer it will last. ;) Unfortunately, there is no known analog for the manual transmission HCH, but both are excellent performers when driven with a light touch.

    While I will regret losing the control afforded by the manual transmission, there is very much to be said for a well executed CVT (or eCVT as used in the Toyota and Ford hybrids) and after having driven them, there isn't as much loss of control as you might imagine... especially with the additional hybrid flexibility allowing you to "FAS" without ever touching the ignition. I could live with a Prius or FFH. :)
  20. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    did you just say that a ford (volvo) is more reliable than a toyota?

    toyota is the undisputed king of reliability, this extends to their smaller cars, ask anyone
    toyota is known more than any other company for its reliablity, they are truly bulletproof

    and i think you are very mistaken, the yaris is cheap because it is small and clever, what advantage does a bigger car have over it?

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