Pet Peeve: Hybrid Cars

Todays complaint is about hybrid cars. I'm not sure if they're called that in other countries so what I'm referring to are cars that use a battery to store energy accumulated during activities like braking to help propel the vehicle.

Don't get me wrong here. I think hybrid technology is wonderful. It should be in every vehicle--and should have been in them for a long time now. My gripe is that these cars are being marketed as being 'green' and environmentally sound. Personally I find that since they're totally dependent on gasoline for energy generation (the electric aspect is just recovered energy from the gasoline engine that would have otherwise been wasted) that calling hybrid cars environmentally friendly is a false claim. Solar cars, hydrogen cell cars, methane even--these don't cause the pollution that gasoline based internal combustion engines do. They are 'green' not hybrid cars.

I certainly am glad that some car models are finally increasing their efficiency and hope that this trend continues--and with less of a price gouge. It's funny to see people justify spending an extra $8,000 on a car due to gasoline increasing 50 cents a gallon. People typically use 500 gallons of gas a year per car. Dropping gas usage by 20% would save 100 gallons or about $250 per year. Any savings generated this way are probably going to be wiped out when you have to replace the battery in the car. Oh, well.


NecroDancer said…
Interestingly, your statements about the hybrid cars have possibly affected me in opposite from your intent. When we purchased our second mini-van, rather than trading in the first, we traded in our Jeep. Now, we have two mini-vans and I commute everyday, by myself. Carpools aren't an option as there aren't any who travel in my direction and there is no mass transit options. After a little research, I've found that if I were to purchase a used Toyota Prius I would save $1200 in fuel per year.

Of course, mine is an extreme example but I believe it would be a wonderful benefit personally to make such a change.
utenzi said…
Two further factors to consider, Dancer, is that the milage numbers given for the cars are WAY off. Check around to get realistic estimates. A positive factor is that there's a $2,000 federal tax write-off and many states also kick in a write off of their own as well. Of course a $2k rebate on the avg person's taxes is only $400 - $600 in the pocket but it helps.
NecroDancer said…
I understand that I need to be certain to use the mileage that pertains to my life. Currently, I comute 70 miles a day. The savings in cost of fuel as I stated is based on the miles I would drive and an average price per gallon at $2.00.

I don't know that the federal tax write-off applies to the purchase of a used vehicle. I won't be buying a new vehicle because the cost of a new hybrid reduces the benefit significantly. You can buy a lot of gasoline for $12K.
utenzi said…
Wow. That's a LONG commute, Dancer. The worst I've ever done on a regular basis was in Atlanta and that was only 27 miles ea way. Fortunately I only have to do 14 miles ea way now.

You're right about the tax rebate. It's only for new cars. Since the Prius has been out since around '97 there should be a good number of used vehicles in the market. So there should be write-offs for used vehicles too but I guess the political strategy isn't purely to help keep the air clean.

Given how popular the Prius is I'm surprised that there's such an attractive drop off in price on used vehicles. I might consider one also. While they don't have a huge advantage in highway mileage in city driving they're great. I just can't afford the $36k price on the new ones.
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Nukapai said…
I think hybrid cars (as they currently stand) are total nonsense. I drive an MCC Smart, which is one of the (if not THE) most fuel efficient/low emission vehicle available to the general public! I have some photos of it in my blog. :)

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