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At least Hybrid Technology doesn't ruin our economy like Gov. Subsidized Ethanol!

I can understand the appeal of a Hybrid, but when it comes down to the bottom line ($$$) I couldn't justify the extra cost (though admittedly I haven't looked it up for the difference between the Civic and comparable Civic Hybrid). May I ask why you chose a Hybrid over standard Civic?
 

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pxpaulx said:
At least Hybrid Technology doesn't ruin our economy like Gov. Subsidized Ethanol!

I can understand the appeal of a Hybrid, but when it comes down to the bottom line ($$$) I couldn't justify the extra cost (though admittedly I haven't looked it up for the difference between the Civic and comparable Civic Hybrid). May I ask why you chose a Hybrid over standard Civic?
I'll answer that. I have the standard Civic (LX), after doing the research and making that exact decision. With it, I'm getting a consistent 38-40 mpg.

Talk about mixed emotions. Approaching the magic five-oh is definitely worth bragging about. I definitely have mpg envy. But you're right, the economics don't work. The Hybrid has roughly the same features as the LX, and is $4000 more. So you don't break even, at least not until gas is over $4/gal, and even then your payback doesn't come until 100K miles.

OTOH, you can't put a dollar figure on the feel-good factor of giving your money to Honda instead of Big Oil, and then there's the "green" issue of hybrids. Or that you can drive your friends and neighbors crazy bragging about 50 mpg when they whine about gas prices. That definitely has a certain appeal... :grin:
 

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Chief Has Been Element Owner
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one slight correction mike...your numbers only float if you know the exact mileage someone drives within a day/week/month/year.

For example you indicate 100K miles. Some people may get to that in 2-4 years, where others wont get to that for twice as long.
 

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Chief Has Been Element Owner
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I decided to finally break this down, since I waited until I had 50K on my Accord hybrid.

Yearly mileage average: 25,000

My Old Element:
approx. 15 gallon tank
approx. 20 mpg
= 300 miles/tank

25000/300 = 83.33 tanks/year

83.33 x 15 gallons = 1249.95 gallons/year

1249.95 x 2.75 (average gas as it seems to be between 2.5-3 around here) = $3437.36 in gas per year

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My Accord Hybrid:
approx. 17 gallon tank
approx. 35.5 mpg
= 603.5 miles/tank

25000/603.5 = 41.42 tanks/year

41.42 x 17 gallons = 704.14 gallons/year

704.14 x 2.75 (average gas as it seems to be between 2.5-3 around here) = $1936.39 in gas per year

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$3437-1936 = $1501 a year in gas savings.

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Now granted I need to compare these numbers to an Accord LX and EX to really see, but I dont have my own use cases to compare them to. I want to compare with my own life numbers, not those in a magazine or brochure.

So far I feel pretty good knowing I have saved approx. $3000 in gas in the 2 years I have owned it. Oh, and thats on top of the $2000 credit I got to take on my 05 taxes! Plus I got it at only $500 over invoice. So in the end its paid off for me. Plus, its now a "classic" :)
 

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MikeQBF said:
OTOH, you can't put a dollar figure on the feel-good factor of giving your money to Honda instead of Big Oil, and then there's the "green" issue of hybrids. Or that you can drive your friends and neighbors crazy bragging about 50 mpg when they whine about gas prices. That definitely has a certain appeal... :grin:
I get the bragging part, 50mpg would feel good! (when we averaged 43 on our trip to toronto in our yaris last year, it felt awesome!)

Just comparing the 48mpg photo posted up above, with my 37mpg avg., assuming 20K miles a year, and $3 a gallon, the hybrid would cost $1250 in gas, and my yaris $1620, difference of $370. $22K for the hybrid minus the $13,300 for my yaris is $8,700!!!!! assuming it could make it, it would be over 23 years to break even (of course, gas certainly won't be $3 in 23 years, maybe what, $1.50? :D ) Even comparing apples to apples, I would expect to get at least 35mpg in a standard civic model, making it at least a 10 year (well, not counting any tax breaks) timeframe to break even.

Imagine comparing the Element MPG to the civic hybrid though, it would have to be more than half the cost in fuel easily. I know we saved over $100 a month when we sold the Element for the Yaris. By the way, we just got a CRV a few months ago, I couldn't convince my better half to get another E, despite begging and pleading! Man, the CRV OC boards are pretty slow, I've been trying the past couple days to get some off topic disc. going, but it is slow!
 

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Hmm. 100K miles is 100K miles, whether it happens in a week or in a decade. The numbers still work the same.

The only valid comparison in this discussion, IMO, is Civic = Civic. Pointing to savings (or lack) versus other makes/models sorta isn't what I'm talking about here. The question essentially posed is "Is the hybrid version of the exact same car worth the extra cost?" In pure dollars and cents, no. In overall owner satisfaction... well, that's a strong possibility.
 

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pxpaulx said:
expect to get at least 35mpg in a standard civic model, making it at least a 10 year (well, not counting any tax breaks) timeframe to break even.

Imagine comparing the Element MPG to the civic hybrid though, it would have to be more than half the cost in fuel easily. I know we saved over $100 a month when we sold the Element for the Yaris.

There is a lot of debate going on at various websites about the cost savings of Hybrids vs. Gas vs. clean diesel. Most of the discussion has to be considered somewhat theoricial since the technology is still pretty new.

One argument that is being made ad nosium is the cost of Hybrid battery replacement. The last I heard is that the Accord batteries cost around $3,600 (labor included? Not sure). That could easily wipe out the $100 gas savings over 3 years. There is also the current environmental concern of disposal of landfill sized volumes of old Hybrid batteries. Both sides of the argument deal in a lot of "what ifs", but what seems to be the better solution is clean diesel over Hybrids. That is probably why Honda is looking at expanding into diesel models.

As with all new technology there needs to be several years of hard data to support the ongoing arguments. I am sure that in the early days of the internal combustion engine no one even thought about smog.

I am as environmentally conscious as possible. I have installed drip systems throughout my yards to conserve water, grow veggies in "EarthBoxes", reduced unnecessary driving, monitored and reduced my home utility bills, recycle what I can, etc. But, IMHO, Hybrids have not been proven to be either environmental nor economical improvements. Whenever I see someone with a Hybrid I think "Good for you, your heart and mind are in the right place." But I am not convinced... YET. :cool: :cool:
 

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Chief Has Been Element Owner
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First line, actually it does. If it takes you 100K miles to recoup the costs, if you travel that far in say 3 years, then you recoup the costs faster than if you travel that in say 10 years. Thats all.

For the second part, yea, thats what I was saying at the END of my long winded post ;-)

MikeQBF said:
Hmm. 100K miles is 100K miles, whether it happens in a week or in a decade. The numbers still work the same.

The only valid comparison in this discussion, IMO, is Civic = Civic. Pointing to savings (or lack) versus other makes/models sorta isn't what I'm talking about here. The question essentially posed is "Is the hybrid version of the exact same car worth the extra cost?" In pure dollars and cents, no. In overall owner satisfaction... well, that's a strong possibility.
 

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DorchesterBoy said:
That could easily wipe out the $100 gas savings over 3 years.
If you were referring to the $100 we saved in gas monthly over the element, we bought a yaris, no batteries needed :)

It certainly is mostly speculation, but the prius hybrid has been around now what, 7 years or more? (i thought 99 was the release year of the first model). But going on epa estimates, and comparing only via cost of gasoline vs. mpg directly, the hybrid does seem to fight a losing battle.

But, just like i'm sure there are plenty of gas guzzling dodge and chevy drivers that see E85 at 80% of the cost of regular gas and think what a steal! (never mind that is pretty much the difference in economy...and its funny how the E85 price fluctuates with regular gasoline prices and is pretty consistently 20% cheaper, even though it shouldn't be based on the same market valuations - that was a long tangent), I'm sure there is a good portion of people that blindly look at 50mpg as a magic number that no other car can come close to equalling.
 

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DorchesterBoy said:
...One argument that is being made ad nosium is the cost of Hybrid battery replacement. ...
That's been one of the arguments since the first Prius and the Insight hit the road, and this point remains under debate because we still don't know. Not enough data yet.

I think the rule-of-thumb is that most purchasers of new cars keep them for ~70,000 miles. So battery replacement is unlikely to be an issue for the vast majority of initial hybrid owners. Also, we are only just beginning to see the first Priuses (2001 being the first year) turn over 100K. The oldest "average" Prius right now has only 75K miles.

The reality of this issue probably lies in resale value. I tried to research 2001 Priuses and Corollas (for comparison), but was stymied on finding original MSRP. So using current MSRP vs. the older models "middle" value as used cars, the Corolla would have lost $11K, the Prius $14K, or 65% vs. 60%. Huh. That's not too bad, really.

Insight doesn't count in this discussion because it has like zilch resale value 'cause it's a quirky little roller skate. While I appreciate that the Insight was an incredible technology tour de force, frankly, you've got to be pretty out there to actually own one. :p
 

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DorchesterBoy said:
There is also the current environmental concern of disposal of landfill sized volumes of old Hybrid batteries.
The battery industry is very proud of their record on recycling batteries. Very few now end up in landfills....There's no reason to think that would change with the hybrid batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Response to all

Wow! Lots of good posts here. Glad to see that it's drawing so much interest.

I originally convinced myself NOT to buy the hybrid. I test drove a regular Civic. It was comfortable and peppy, although a little plain. I figured a hybrid couldn't be any better, and certainly not as powerful. But just to make sure I test drove the HCH.

Turns out it has plenty of power (the electric motor is all torque), it's super-quiet and the CVT is super-smooth. Plus the electric assist readout and the mpg meter make for an entertaining drive.

I went from a skeptic to a buyer in 15 minutes.

The hybrid and the EX are similarly-equipped -- upgraded stereo, steering wheel audio controls, aluminum wheels, etc. The hybrid costs $3,100 more than the EX. However, the hybrid offers a $2,100 income tax credit from the federal gov't. That bonus often gets left out of the discussion regarding payback.

As for the "time value" of that extra $3,100 (investing instead of spending it), that's moot unless you pay cash for the car. How many people do that? I put zero down, so the "extra" for me is $87/month, and the hybrid saves me $50/month in gas vs. the regular Civic. And I get the tax credit right away.

So that reduces the hybrid's premium substantially, along with the payback period.

As for the battery longevity, Toyota has been selling the Prius since 1997. Honda introduced the Insight in 2000. The technology has proven itself. Certainly, the batteries will wear out eventually, but they can be recycled. Gasoline (and the dollars I pay to OPEC) can't.

Finally, the mpg pictured is an honest, real-world number. I accelerate normally, set the cruise control at 65 mph on the highway, and use the A/C every day. This is Texas, after all.

I could get close to 60 mpg if I babied the car, but I don't have the patience. And I could get 30 mpg if I drove it like I stole it. But that 48 mpg is perfectly normal, and I expect it to improve as the engine and electric motor finish their break-in periods.

I'll continue posting my numbers every fill-up.
 

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1stpik said:
Turns out it has plenty of power (the electric motor is all torque), it's super-quiet and the CVT is super-smooth. Plus the electric assist readout and the mpg meter make for an entertaining drive.

I went from a skeptic to a buyer in 15 minutes.
Those are some definite pluses! I guess when you actually get down to an apples to apples comparison, they do come pretty close even where the almighty buck is concerned. $3,100.00 difference in price is pretty close, and the tax credit makes it that much better.
 
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