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Hybrid FUD

The meme "hybrids don't save any money" has been flying fast and furious as of late; originating with people trying desperately to defend GM for having missed this boat entirely. When people of a certain (conservative, usually) bent saw the Prius, they complained that more of the electric power ought to go into performance (even though for a good-mileage car, it accelerates perfectly well, i.e. I've not been frustrated with it when getting on the highway). Toyota complied, and now they get dinged for a less impressive mileage boost in the Highlander Hybrid.

This unidentified individual while generally liking his hybrid SUV, repeated one of the most often heard bits of hybrid FUD. To be more accurate, you can replace his comment:

As I've said before, if you just want to save money, a hybrid isn't the way to go, yet.

with:

As I've said before, if you just want to save money on an SUV, a Highlander hybrid isn't the way to go, yet.

Because when you compare the Prius to the Camry (same size class), it's very easy to save money over the life of the car. Same to a lesser extent with the Civic Hybrid. The worst comparisons out there (Edmund's) find a small savings with (Prius over Camry) and a loss everywhere else due to the questionable claim that the hybrid will have less residual value and require more maintenance, both of which are proving to be false. The Prius won best one-year residual value AND most reliable honors this year. The previous-generation Prius (nowhere near as good of a car), the oldest of which are pushing 6 now, are also very highly priced on the used market.

Hybrid Car Blog and the Prius Owners Group both
cover this FUD frequently.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Politics (Outside Austin)

Comments

The other fascinating thing is that it is perfectly obvious that few cars are purchased based on a strictly rational evaluation of financial costs, or a rational evaluation of any kind. Buying a high manufacturer profit margin SUV just because you for some reason want one is fine, but a hybrid is for some reason expected to save money even under pessimistic assumptions.

We test drove a Prius and a Civic Hybrid in August when we were shopping. I'm pretty sure we would have bought the Prius if it had just another inch or two legroom for the driver. I just wasn't comfortable driving it, my 6'5" frame felt cramped. Otherwise, we loved the car. The Civic Hybrid had a strange "feature" - when you stopped at a stoplight, the air conditioner compressor stopped working, so the heat built up rapidly in the car. It's hard for me to believe this wasn't just something wrong with the particular we drove.

Actually if I remember correctly, that is how the Civic Hybrid is supposed to work. I think the previous generation Prius also couldn't run the A/C off battery power; but the current one can (and my wife uses it pretty much all the time; I, having gotten used to being hot in the convertible, almost never do).

Most of the Prius' room is in the back - at least, compared to other fuel efficient cars. Even at my short height, the back seat of a Corolla isn't comfortable; while I could ride for hours in the back of the Prius.