Zapping the Top Five Excuses to Wait to Buy a Hybrid
Ostrich with head in sand

Hear ye, late adopters, heel-draggers and others in the head-in-the-sand crowd. Maybe you’ve been feeling the pain at the pump, or reading the inconvenient news about global warming, and have been picturing a hybrid car for your future. But that might mean “distant future” to a procrastinator like you. So, assuming that you want a hybrid and not another fuel-efficient option (and there are many), here are five reasons—nay, excuses—for holding off on buying a hybrid now.  And five counterpoints to suggest why a fuel-sipping, eco-friendly hybrid should move up on your to-do list in 2008.

Excuse #5: “Hybrid mileage is pretty good now, but I’m waiting for quantum leaps in hybrid fuel economy coming in the next year or two.”

You may be waiting a long time—even for a heel-dragger like you. Hybrid technology maximizes efficiency by smoothing energy use over the various loads of a driving cycle, avoiding fuel burn when you don’t need to, and recovering energy otherwise lost to braking. But modern cars have lots of creature comforts and safety features. That adds up to weight. When you factor in the rapid acceleration that we love and the laws of physics we can’t avoid, you soon bump into serious practical limits for fuel efficiency. Hybrids’ fuel efficiency will slowly increase over time, but unless we dramatically change the weight, size, shape, and acceleration of our vehicles, we should expect only modest improvements in the mpg for today’s most fuel-efficient cars—which happen to be hybrids.

Excuse #4: “What about the all the news about cars that run on electricity, hydrogen, and even compressed air? When those technologies arrive, the hybrids will become the 8-track of automobiles.”

There are definitely promising developments in the world of green transportation. The best of them—plug-in hybrids and highway-ready electric vehicles—will begin showing up on roads, in limited numbers, in 2011; hydrogen-powered people-movers some time in the 2020s; and cars that run on compressed air—puleeze. While we’re waiting for those breakthroughs, today’s gas-electric hybrids are each saving hundreds of gallons of fuel each year.

Excuse #3: “Hybrids are cool, but they are too expensive. I’m waiting for the prices to come down.”

The most expensive part of a hybrid car is the battery system. As hybrid production achieves some economies of scale, the price of hybrid batteries will definitely come down. In fact, Toyota is feverishly working toward a sales goal of one million hybrids per year, to cut in half the so-called “hybrid premium”. This is excellent news for the cost-conscious car buyer, but the laws of supply and demand still apply. The best hybrids on the road are priced in the mid-$20,000s, and they are flying off the showroom floors. In 2007, hybrid sales grew by 38 percent, while the overall car market declined by 2 percent. What’s going to happen to that trend if gas increases to $4 per gallon, as many analysts predict? It’s better to be ready for a future spike in gas prices, then waiting for hybrid-makers to reduce the price of a product already selling like hotcakes.

Excuse #2: “Hybrid technology and batteries are unproven. I’m waiting for the technology to become more stable. Otherwise, I may get stuck with a gas-electric lemon.”

The first hybrids were introduced in Japan in 1997, and in the United States in 2000. That’s a lot of real-world durability testing. So far, the batteries are outlasting the rest of the vehicle. Reported cases of electric or battery problems have been rare. In addition, hybrid systems come with an eight- or 10-year warranty,. Nearly every major car company, from Porsche to Volvo, is investing in hybrids. Adding an electric motor to the gasoline engine is not rocket science—and is about the only practical way to get the big boost in efficiency and reduction in emissions soon to be required for 21st century motoring.

Excuse #1: “I’m waiting for a hybrid with features that I need and the style that I want.”

Okay, you’ve got me on this one—for the moment. Today, there are 13 hybrids for sale in the United States, made by five different carmakers. All 13 are four-door sedans or SUVs. In other words, no coupes, minivans, pickup trucks or convertibles. If you find a conventional gasoline vehicle that meets your needs and has decent mileage, then it might make sense to—brace yourself —wait. Just don’t plan to wait too long, however. J.D. Power predicts that the number of hybrid models will grow to as many as 50 by 2012. That figure seems overly optimistic, but even if 30 or 40 hybrids become available in the next few years, the field is likely to include every segment, from diminutive entry-level coupes to workhorse pickup trucks. By that point, hybrids will be commonplace—and you’ll be wondering why you waited so long.


  • mdensch

    The hypothetical person offering the excuses in the article failed to ask the one legitimate question one might ask: Why not just buy a regular car that gets excellent mileage such as a Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit and save thousands of dollars on the purchase price?

    I mean, really, the choice isn’t always between a gas guzzling SUV or a Prius. There are already cars out there that get a good 40+ mpg on the highway without a lot of advanced technology.

  • Think

    No car compares to the city fuel efficiency of a hybrid. For families that need something bigger than a rollerskate yaris, a hybrid might just be the way to go. For folks that rarely see the major interstates or that can drive at a sensible speed, the hybrid beats the fuel economy in both city and hwy mileage.

  • PaulRivers

    I certainly agree with #2 – not only are the batteries lasting 10 years, but the Toyota and Honda hybrids have proven themselves to be extremely reliable vehicles (just see Consumer Reports).

    But it’s #3 that holds me back (and #1). Hybrids just cost a crapload more than their non-hybrid counterparts.

    There are 2 ways the price goes up – the straight up additional cost of the hybrid vs the non-hyrid model, and the requirement that you buy the most expensive version of the car to get a hybrid.

    Take the Honda Civic Hybrid, for example. Here’s the cost of the different grades of the Civic (with an automatic transmission, in St Paul MN), according to CarsDirect.com:
    Civic Hybrid $23,235
    Civic Ex $19,439 $3,796 20%
    Civic Lx $17,834 $5,401 30%
    Civic Dx $16,045 $7,190 45%

    The hybrid costs $3,796 more than the non-hybrid Ex. But it also costs $5,401 more than the Lx. And $7,190 more than the Dx. So assuming you would otherwise buy the Civic Lx you pay 30% more for the hybrid version.

    I know a number of friends who would love to buy a hybrid to save money on gas, help the environment, and own a cool car (in that order). But there’s no way they can justify spending $5,401 dollars more for that. For that kind of money they’re 25% closer to buying a second car.

    Here’s the breakdown for the Camry (w Automatic Transmission and ESC):
    Camry Hybrid $24,860
    Camry SE $22,006 $2,854 13%
    Camry LE $20,550 $4,310 21%
    Camry CE $19,612 $5,248 27%

    Prius/Corolla (Including Automatic Transmission, Side Air Bags, Anti-Lock brakes, and Vehicle Stability Control)
    Prius $21,460
    Corolla LE $16,567 $4,893 30%
    Corolla S $16,414 $5,046 31%
    Corolla CE $15,193 $6,267 41%

    If you’re not already looking to buy the top end model of the car you want, the hybrid is (unfortunately) significantly more expensive.

  • Richard

    they don’t come close on the math yet. Reduce the premium to close to an automatic transmition and you’ll see what flying off the shelf really means. ie. the number one reason given by far on buying hybrids is “making a statement”. Just like the truck triver is often accused of compensating, I don’t need a car to make my statements. P.S. I invest in the Battery maker so I love the limosine liberal statement maker

  • CK

    Virtually all of the Presidential candidates, Dems and Republicans alike, are talking about incetives for Hybrid cars. It’s usually either in their “energy independence” or their “solve climate change” plans.

    And if gas becomes more expensive, which is probably likely over time, people will push their congressmen and State representatives for more hybrid tax credits.

    Although the federal credit for Toyota’s hybrids are currently expired, my own purchase is a great example of how much credits can help. For my ’06 Prius, I got a $3,150 federal credit and a $3,285 State Tax Credit (Colorado). That’s $6,435 off MSRP. Including $2,200 in options, I only paid about $18,000 for a good quality mid sized car (that happens to get 45-50 MPG) with decent features and options. That’s more than most of the discrepancies noted above by Paul.

    Currenly of course, you can get federal credits for the Ford and GM hybrids, and other car manufacturers as they begin to produce hybrids. More and more States will probably join Colorado and Oregon in establishing hybrid tax credits as well.

    If you take those tax credits and add in the cost efficiencies of mass production (not to mention technical advances) and the cost of purchase should drop to being on par with non-hybrid cars within a few years (heck, my Prius was $18,000 brand new, show me where I could have bought a comparable mid size car for much less). My only worry is that demand will rocket so fast that the car companies will jack up the prices to cash in on the high demand, just as they really begin to make an impact on climate change pollution and energy independence.

  • Lans

    My #1 excuse is running my car into the ground.

    #2 would be clean diesel / lack of hybrid choices.

    If I had to get a new car today, I would probably get a Honda Civic Hybrid but I can probably get 2 (or 3) years out of my current car. By then there’ll be clean diesels in the US (2009) or the plugin Li-ion Prius (2010 or 2011) to choose from.

    Diesels in Europe can easily get the real world mileage of the Prius and they are lot more fun to drive (tiny small engine diesels can beat the Prius). Just in case, diesels have improved ALOT since they were introduced in the US for old timers.

  • Giant

    @PaulRivers
    I agree with your analysis, but it’s not apples-to-apples with these models. I bought the Camry hybrid, and it has upgrades in it that, if they were put into an LE, would reduce the cost delta by roughly $2500. Add into that the tax credit (reduced by the AMT), and you’re getting closer in price. Granted, the tax credit no longer exists.

    Finally, the Camry Hybrid is rated at 186 HP, ~30 more than the 4-cyl LE, giving me 6-cylinder like acceleration. Many people are willing to pay a premium for a 6-cylinder. In this case, I got a 6-cyl equivalent, with some extra goodies, AND 40 MPG. I’m happy.

  • mdensch

    I am going to repeat my point that there are viable non-hybrid choices out there if you’re concerned about fuel economy and initial cost.

    Furthermore, some of them like the Yaris, Fit or the Smart Fourtwo make more sense in dense urban environments since their smaller size makes them easier to manuever through traffic and park.

    Look, I own a hybrid, too, but there are viable alternatives for those who are environmentally aware AND on a tight budget.

  • Nozferatu

    There are ALOT more people who can afford BELOW $20K cars than ABOVE $20K cars. I’m sorry but I simply will not pay $26-27K for a Civic Hybrid out the door…or for any car for that matter.

    In general cars have gotten far too expensive anyway…$28K for a loaded Golf GTI??? I mean come on..who are the fools buying these things?

    My wife and I make decent money but I just don’t understand how people can logically come up with reasons for pissing away $500-600 month for a car every month…month over month. It’s just plain stupid. I believe me…I do like cars…but it’s just gotten really retarded.

  • Practical

    My top reason for trying to hold out for hybrid technoly to develop is that I’m waiting for a “City Car” that will allow me to get to work and back without using much, if any, gas at all. At this point that looks like the PHEVs. Here’s my statement…”Hey mullahs…Drown in your oil, you pieces of @#$@!”.

    Ok. #2 Price and Choice. Prius is practical, but butt-ugly.

    kthxbye

  • Don

    I recently made the choice between the Honda Fit (17K) and a Prius (24K). Other than size and about 14 MPG the Fit was the superior car and 7K cheaper. I’m not a liberal and can’t afford a limo so I bought the Fit. maybe next time…

  • jjjones82

    What about the rumor that if you get into an accident with one that they have to call a special unit to get you out?

    I’ve heard a couple people say that they are afraid of getting electrocuted by the extra large batteries and use special “squads” to come to hybrid accident scenes.

  • Old Man Crowder

    jjjones82: That myth was debunked long ago. The wires are well protected and very clearly marked.

  • langjie

    When I was comparing the regular Altima vs the HEV, I did a comparison of costs, taking into account the price I can purchase each car, fuel price, interests, etc…

    The hybrid with a reasonable discount was $32,743 and $28,685 for the 2.5SL.

    After the $2,350 tax credit, averaging 14,000 miles a year X $2.81 /gallon, After 4 years, the hybrid will have cost me $540 more, 5 years, $183 more, 6 years, I would be saving $172.27

    There are other things you need to consider too when comparing the Altima. The 2.5SL does not have Traction control or stability control options, but the Hybrid has them standard. I think I will have received my value within 4-5 years in this case

  • PaulRivers

    To those who responded to my analysis of the cost of a hybrid vs. a mid trim-level vehicle – I wrote a lengthy reply, then this stupid forum lost it when I posted telling me “wrong security code”.

    To sum up, my analysis was a response to the articles focus of “Stop waiting and buy a hybrid today”. So tax credits you can’t get any more or future mass production cost reduction just isn’t something to consider for today (and I wouldn’t suggest, for reliability reasons, that anyone I know buy the non Toyota and Honda hybrids that are available today).

    It’s certainly true that a hybrid comes with options that the mid trim level version doesn’t. But my point is that for people who’s primary goal is saving money (which is most of the people I know when it comes to spending tens of thousands of dollars) a hybrid car is today still significantly more expensive than the non hybrid version. One way that they could change this is by offering hybrid components on the mid trim level version of their cars.

  • Chiludo67

    The fuel mpg is not worth the cost when there are non-hybrids getting close to same mpg. Gasoline consumption is the most detrimental factor when it comes to our environment and when a consumer can get higher mpg on a non-hybrid then it makes more sense. Until hybrids can obtain 60mpg or more they remain overpriced SCAMS!

  • Mike McGlade

    For me, the hybrids are great if you want to make a statement AND you drive enough to get a return on the price through fuel savings. However, if you really want to save the planet, there are other options:
    1) drive less and invest the premium you would pay for a hybrid into green tags. They provide carbon offsets at an efficient price
    2) drive less, invest in green tags, and wait until plug-ins are available (and then buy). Most electric utilities let you select renewable energy as the source. Then you run your car mostly on solar energy. This not only saves the planet but also, if done by enough people, puts the US on a path away from becoming entangled in the geopolitics and militarization of oil supply.

    I am selecting option #2.

    Of course there are other options as well.

  • Van

    I for one am waiting for a PHEV with an AER of greater than 25 miles at 60 plus mph. I am prepared to pay $30,000 out the door for it. Looks like I will have to wait for 2011 when the Plug-in Prius hits the retail market.

  • Jason James

    Really loved the site. I love hybridcars, but I wish they were cheaper!!!

  • James Camp

    According to Edmunds.com’s “True Cost to Own” calculator, in the Austin area (driving for 5 years at 15k miles per year and then selling):

    Honda Civic Hybrid = $34,775

    Honda Civic EX (Auto) = $33,729

    Honda Civic LX (Auto) = $32,105

    With those numbers, the HCH comes across as simply the next step up in the Civic line, not as an exorbitant price increase.

    That’s also for a fairly light driving load in a region with a relatively low gas price (not up to $3/gal yet!). Drive more, for more years, or on the east or west coasts, and the Civic Hybrid pays for itself.

    I think the numbers would work out even better for the Prius, if there were a non-hybrid model for comparison. Our Prius (bought new about a year ago) is actually saving us money on car payment + insurance + gas + maintenance costs relative to the used 2003 Subaru we owned before it!

    Why?

    1. Fuel Costs (duh!)

    2. Maintenance Costs – hybrids put less wear on the engine, almost no wear on the brake pads, and at least for the Prius, have no transmission to maintain.

    3. Insurance Costs – studies have shown that hybrid drivers, in our efforts to save gas, drive less adventurously than our conventional-driving contemporaries. We get in fewer collisions and so the insurance companies let us get away with lower premiums.

    4. Higher resale – now that questions of battery longevity seem to be somewhat answered, and with many hybrids “flying off the shelves”, people are willing to pay more for a used hybrid than a used conventional.

    It adds up.

  • car novice

    I’m gathering from this discussion that the hybrid saves gas in city driving, not highway. My only use of my car is on the highway (I walk to work) so what should I buy?

  • Hal Howell

    I looked at all of the mid-size cars out there and while they may have been cheaper than the Prius (initially) by the time you added any options on them the price was very near the $24,000 I paid and not one of them would get the MPG the Prius got. I routinely get 44-46 mpg and drive 3 weeks before needing to fill up my 11.9 gal. tank.
    The Prius may not be everyone’s idea of beautiful but I like it. It looks futuristic and I like not having to put a key to start it up. Its really a computer on 4 wheels. I feel like I’m driving a car of the 21st century.
    My wife drives an ’07 Yaris Liftback and gets about 34-35 mpg on a regular basis. She also fills up about every 3 weeks. All in all we are very happy with our cars. We also got something that you can’t get with any other car I know of, for less than $900 we can take each car to our dealer and get the oil changed for the life of the car up to 4 times a year. Thus, our maintenance costs are fixed for as long as we own them. Gotta love it.

  • Lans

    Well, current MPG info listed on toyota.com is 48 city/45 highway/46 combined for the Prius so you can probably guess hybrids have the largest advantage in the city. Hybrids generally are redesigned to have a much lower drag coefficient and among other tweaks to increase MPG.

    If you seach for “diesel vs hybrid”, you probably come up with articles claiming diesel can match or beat hybrids on the highway. :)

    Seems like I may have to wait until 2011 (Dec. of 2010) for clean diesel to be availible at every pump… (http://www.clean-diesel.org/faqs.html/). Damn EPA! :p

    I could try to get a used Jetta TDI in the meantime possibly or wait for improved Jetta TDI (is being delayed). :D

  • Charles

    The following are using EPA combined MPG and the manufactures MSRP. I tried to pick the best MPG comparison and matched options as best I could. The Prius and Escape are no brainers, just buy the hybrid. The Altima and Camry (Camry not shown, but it is almost the same as the Altima) may take a little thought. The Civic Hybrid does not make sense to me, because the cost is close to the larger and better MPG Prius.

    Escape Hybrid 4wd: $28,920 (28 MPG)
    RAV 4 auto 2.4 4wd: $28,087 (22 MPG)
    Break even in 21,380.333 miles at $4.00 per gallon

    Prius: 28,516 (46 MPG)
    Altima 2.5 S with SL Package: $26,230 (26 MPG)
    Break even in 47,320.2 miles at $4.00 per gallon

    Escape Hybrid 2wd: $27,170 (32 MPG)
    RAV 4 auto 2.4 2wd: $24,661 (24 MPG)
    Break even in 60,216 miles at $4.00 per gallon

    Altima Hybrid: $30,205 (34 MPG)
    Altima 2.5 S with SL Package: $26,230 (26 MPG)
    Break even in 109,809.375 miles at $4.00 per gallon

    Prius: $25,551 (46 MPG)
    Civic 1.8 auto: $17,432 (36 MPG)
    Break even in 336,126.6 miles at $4.00 per gallon

    Civic Hybrid: $23,352 (42 MPG)
    Civic 1.8 auto: $17,432 (36 MPG)
    Break even in 372,960 miles at $4.00 per gallon

  • American Consumer

    The only thing Green about toyota is the money going to Japan.

    The environmental impact of this car is terrible. It causes more global warming…

    Read this article.

  • Paul Rivers

    “I’m gathering from this discussion that the hybrid saves gas in city driving, not highway. My only use of my car is on the highway (I walk to work) so what should I buy?”

    Though hybrids don’t get as dramatic of an increase in mileage on the highway, they do get better mileage. Partially it’s because they’re designed to be more aerodynamic, but as I understand it it’s mostly that they use a smaller, more efficient kind of engine that trades power for gas efficiency.

    Apparently something called the “Atkinson cycle” engine has better fuel economy but less power. It doesn’t have a problem maintaining speed on the highway, but it’s slow at accelerating – which is where the electric motor kicks in and gives your car the acceleration it needs (aka the acceleration you want). So a hybrid is able to use a more fuel efficient engine by compensating for the 10% of the time you’re accelerating by using the electric motor. (If you were in the city you’d accelerate more, but since you’re also breaking more the battery would recharge more).

    So…that’s how a hybrid gets somewhat better mileage on the highway than a non-hybrid. Whether it’s worth the cost is up to you. What I *would* say is that if you spend all your time on the highway, you’re going to get much better mileage from a sedan than an suv because wind resistance is much more important. Just take a look at the mileage figures. :-)

  • DaveM

    Try pricing out those non hybrids with the same options and accessories, and not the cheapest possible model.

    The environmental impact of the prius is full of bad assumptions given that toyota actually recycles the batteries.

    Neither source is even remotely credible if you follow up on the alleged sources.

  • PaulRivers

    “Try pricing out those non hybrids with the same options and accessories, and not the cheapest possible model.”

    If you’re referring to my post, you can see that on the lower models I included the price of an automatic transmission and all available safety features. That’s the price from the “cheapest possible model”, but it’s certainly not decked out with accessories either.

  • Darren C

    Charles, you aren’t using the 2008 EPA fuel economy numbers for the non-hybrid Civic but you are for the Prius and the hybrid Civic. That skews the numbers

  • CK

    I have to laugh, people still point to that completely discredited “research report” when they want to feel good about driving their Hummers. Look, the report assumes that for every one Hummer you have to build, ship, drive and dipose of three Prius’s becuase, according to the report, a Prius only lasts 109,000 miles (and the Hummer lasts 300,000 miles). This is completely false, and just a made up way to come up with a method of discrediting the Prius. Many Prius’s have lasted far more than 300,000 miles, and I have never heard of one only lasting about 100K miles (and the battery’s that everyone thought would only last 100,000 miles, they’re lasting longer than most traditional cars last). Also, it’s interesting that the first Prius was built in 1997, and yet somehow they claim production of it’s battery caused so much pollution that back in the late 1960s and early 1970s they tested the moon rover near the plant that made the batteries. Funny, I had not yet been informed that time travel is possible. Guess I missed the memo. Also, that battery is 90% recyclable. I could go on and on about why that report is bogus, but believe me now when I say, you cannot believe all the bullsh*t written on the internet.

  • pBen

    In November, secured a new 07 civic hybrid for 1200 under invoice…and the 08 was not that much more. Car has been great! Camry would have been nice but 40+ mpg consistently is saving us money and so is the $2100 tax credit coming up. And the credit, though half now is still there for Honda. And I’m driving slower and acting more civilized!

  • Amy Baldwin

    I would love to buy a hybrid, or a diesel that I could use Biodiesel with (if gas stations around here sold Biodiesel), but we have six people in our family. I carpool other children. The largest hybrid vehicle I can find is a Toyota Highlander…it’s smaller than our Sienna. I looked at Mercedes SUV diesel’s that would be big enough to fit our family. They “start” at 54,000. That is not including all of the options that come standard on most other vehicles. The auto manufacturers need to give us consumers more choices when it comes to hybrids and diesels. I “want” to be more green, I “want” to use less fuel, I “want” to emit less emissions. But I can’t because the options are not out there for me. Are you listening auto manufacturers? If you build it, we will buy it!

  • RE: Prius is Bad for everthing

    Oh my god, someone has to bring up that joke again! This has been disproven over and over, but hybrid haters just love to jiz over this poor-journalism article!

  • BB

    For more on the study about hybrids, hummers and the environment.

  • Charles

    I looked at the hiway MPG, not combined.

    Sorry

  • Charles

    “Try pricing out those non hybrids with the same options and accessories, and not the cheapest possible model.”

    If you’re referring to my post, I did look to have the same options. I did take 4 cylinder cars, not 6 and this may be in favor of the non-hybrid. I used two different prices for the Prius in order to match the options of each car.

    I did not compare the Prius to the Matrix or Corolla because the Prius is a much roomer car.

  • Lucien

    I love hybrids but I do wonder, how much extra energy does it cost to manufacture a Hybrid compared to a non-Hybrid version? That has to be added to the CO2 equation…

    The other thing is why do the manufacturers in the US offer only (too) big engines? Seems we have an engine power race.

    A small 4cyl 1.8i engine would come close to the mileage of a Camry Hybrid. In Europe they always offer smaller more fuel efficient engines and still fast enough for here (example Audi A6 2.0 at 29mpg or a Toyota Avensis 1.8i at 31mpg combined).

  • Ned D

    keep in mind the resale values on hybrids. I was recently looking for a car and I searched for Prius on cars.com; cars with 70 and 80K were only 2 and 3 grand cheaper than new (and selling at that). However, a point previously mentioned about options; Toyota has 6 different option packages for the Prius. Thats a pretty good spread.

  • Bill

    “As hybrid production achieves some economies of scale, the price of hybrid batteries will definitely come down. “

    Actually, as hybrid sales ramp up the biggest limiting factor has been availability of batteries. Let’s hope the battery manufacturers (Sony, Sanyo) get some new plants open in 2008!

  • whaler3

    I worked in automotive and marine all my life. I remember early learning that batterys are 100% recycleable. The case, the lead, and the acid.

  • Anonymous

    We do not deserve to inhabit this planet. Our governments long term plans to fix the environment will be too late. The delays to take action hinge on the need for tax money that is generated from oil/fuel. If we got rid of fossile fuel powered vehicles, the loss in revenue would be staggering! So, they set crazy goals to eliminate emissions by 2050, etc.

    NOTE: Nothing will be alive by then if we follow their plan. If we, the people of this planet were serious, we would say, “NO MORE GAS POWERED VEHICLES BY 2010, PERIOD. FULLY ELECTRIC ONLY. All present gas powered vehicles can continue to operate on our highways until they die, but will be subject to strict annual testing for emissions.” If anyone has seen, “Who killed the electic car”, they know that we HAD the technology long ago. Again, it comes back to revenue from oil/fuel. The loss of jobs in the oil and auto industry (parts and repairs) would be crippling to the economy. There is no tax on free electricity (wind/solar). Virtually no parts to fix on electric vehicles (there are NO plugs, mufflers, oil changes, oil filters, fuel filters, pistons, gaskets, altenators, and on and on). Fully electric is the way to go. Not these flaky hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, used cooking oil, ethenol, etc, etc. GET OVER IT. JUST PLUG IT IN. HAVE IT CHARGE NATURALLY (SOLAR/WIND TURBINES). INSTALL BATTERY EXCANGE STATIONS.

    What the heck do you do with a flashlight, camera, laptop, etc when the batteries go dead? Pop them out and put fresh ones in. There is no need to have permanent batteries installed in a vehicle (except for future servicing revenue for the manufacturer). ARE WE DUMB? PLEASE NO MORE HYBRIDS. Have you seen what an oil tanker spill does to the environment. It makes me sick to see these sensless events.

  • Anonymous

    How ungrateful to nations who kept you and me and everyone driving our loved ones for more than a 100 years. It is the racist and xenophobic dynasore minds like yours that need drawning in sulphuric acid. The mullahs that you are talking about never occupied a foreign teritory by force and tried to drawn the nations into a so called democracy that comes with greed, desregard to human life, and sheer hypocrisie for the sake of petrol. A mullahs proverbe says “camels can’t see their own hump” .
    Fed up with media manupilated small minds making downright foolish remarks.
    If you want to live in your own deceptive and untruthful life of media crap then be a coach potato. Now if you want to know the real world as it is, then travel around and listen to people’s opinions from real life. Tavel by road in a Toyota Prius for you fuel economy and use less mullah’s petrol.
    So you want the milk and curse the cow. My assault (by words) is finished but, at least it didn’t come with blood.
    Back to you now.

  • Chuck

    I’ve been looking at – and wanting to get – a hybrid for several years. But I fit into “Excuse #5″ – I’ve been waiting for something large enough to be produced….

    I was intrigued by the ’08 Highlander Hybrid, but .. yes .. WAITED for the Sequoia to come out (I have a 15-yr old GMC Suburban).

    Now here it is: all very cool-looking, with all those great Toyota safety and engineering features, but .. WHERE’S THE HYBRID VERSION??!!??

    I wrote them a letter, and sent an email, asking that very question .. telling them I’d be in one of the dealers, ready to plop down a huge chunk of change on my very first Japanese car.

    I don’t understand the engineering hassles in being able to design a “platform”, underlying a vehicle body, that can accomodate both gas-only and hybrid powered in a ‘side-by-side’ configuration.

    At least the auto makers have woken up to the fact that a hybrid should not look like, and be sized like, the “Insight”.

    So let’s go guys – roll ‘em out!

    ;-)

  • go green, start walking

    In 1995 I bought a brand new Civic dx, I still own it and still get 40 mpg. In 2004 we bought a Civic hybrid, 50 mpg all day long and in 2006 we traded for an 07 Civic hybrid it has 15K on it now and is getting 33mpg we are trading it for a Fit tomarrow, It will get 30mpg at half the price, the dogs can ride in the back and room for the car seat.

  • Big Guy paying the Price

    I guess I have to keep driving the vehicle I have, a big SUV getting 13/16 City/Hway MPG. Why? Being 6’6″ and 300 lbs, fitting into a Prius is not really a reality I can picture myself in.

    Lets assume price is not an option. What Hybrid would give me leg room, head room, and at least 28 MPG in City and higher on highway?

    Give me some help here. I love my vehicle but paying $3.00 plus and prices going higher, and putting 45,000 miles on in one year, I need a change. I am going broke on Gas. It was 2.19 Per Gallon when I bought. Bad decision I guess. Not to mention that my vehicle resale value is near bottom with that kind of mileage on a 1 year old vehicle. I need a second vehicle to drive to soccer that won’t break the bank. What fits?

  • Stephanie

    I don’t know if you’ve checked out the 2008 Prius but I think you’d be surprised at the room. My family are all between 5’10 and 6’4 and not tiny by any means. With my 6’2 dad in front, with seat fully back, I can fit behind him (I’m 5’11) AND have plenty of room for my knees. Once you get in the head room is pretty decent. My parents were choosing between the 2008 Prius and the 2008 C-RV (Talk about apples and oranges, right?) and my dad thought he’d like the C-RV for room. Turned out he found the leg room for the driver in the Prius to be much more comfortable (I never would have guessed!). The Prius looks pretty small but I was shocked at how roomy it was and how much get up and go it truly had. My parents are buying a Prius (they hadn’t even considered one before I made them sit in one at the Auto Show). I just about fell off my chair! No other car we sat in at the Auto Show, except maybe the C-RV, had as much knee/leg room in the backseat. The ride was smoother and front and back passengers could communicate easily with almost no road noise.

  • Judy and Ed

    I have just bought a 2008 Prius and I love it ! I think about 75% ofTaxi drivers in our home town are driving Prius and are happy to be doing so. One of the taxis mileage was up to 500,000 km. Toyota was so intersted they have taken it back to Japan to study. Happy driving.

  • Lindsay

    I agree with Lans. My 2003 Civic is months from being paid off and gets almost 40 mpg as it is. I see no reason to run out and buy a hybrid right now. It seems wasteful somehow when my car, which is already very fuel-efficient, is perfectly functional and meets my needs. I mean, shouldn’t we be factoring in the environmental impacts of manufacturing a new car into the overall equation?

  • The front Bumper

    With all of the alternative Diesel fuels on the horizon, why not a hybrid diesel? If we can get diesel from other sources, isn’t this the way to go? Where else can we get gasoline? I am for a Diesel plug-in.

  • Jack Tanner
  • CarrboroTDI

    6’6″ ? No problem. (The 300 lb issue I can’t comment on and may still be a problem).

    Look at the VW Golf TDI (I presume the Jetta would work for you as well).
    I was stunned when I bought my ’03 Golf TDI from a guy who’s 6’8″. He said he fit in it quite well.
    Me? I’m 6’2″ and the Golf fits me better than the Nissan Pathfinder I replaced with it. I’ve been quite surprised at how well the car fits taller people (beats hell out of the Subaru my wife drives).

    All that headroom/comfort/flexibility in positioning AND 43-50 mpg (those are my true numbers running on biodiesel) and with the longevity of the diesel engine.

    My take on the environmental impact is it’s better to drive a hybrid if you’re in an urban area but just as good if not better to drive a biodiesel car if outside a city setting.

  • Clay Dreslough

    OK. I’m a freaky hippie liberal. My current car runs on used vegetable oil. But we need a 2nd car and I’m thinking about a hybrid. But here are the reasons that I’m not going to buy a hybrid. Reasons I don’t see mentioned above:

    6) POOR HIGHWAY MILEAGE. I live in the woods. I don’t drive city miles. I’m never stuck in traffic. I hate traffic. From what I can tell, the $7K extra spent on a hybrid will save me 1 or 2 MPG at best.

    7) SEAT SIZE. I’m tall with a bad back. I can’t drive a compact car for more than an hour without severe lower back pain.

    8) AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS. As mentioned, I’m a freaky liberal hippie. I’ve driven manuals all my life because they get better gas mileage. All the hybirds I’ve seen are automatics. So I’m losing the benefits of a manual transmission, and paying extra for it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    I guess if you spend all day driving an automatic in the city, then a hybrid is a good choice. But if I lived in the city I wouldn’t even own a car.

    :)

  • Clay Dreslough

    I’m also 6’2″ and the Golf is indeed MUCH more comfortable than the Pathfinder.

    Strangely, the Golf is also MUCH better than the Jetta or the Subaru.

    I don’t know what the Golf can fit tall people but the Jetta can’t as they should be similar cars.

    Does anyone know if the new Golf (aka Rabbit) is good for us tall folks?

  • T Hendren

    A Prius comparison:
    With my new job, I currently drive my 2001 Prius 6 miles to work (and home), and get 37mpg winter and 34 summer as the car barely warms up with the short drive and summer air conditioning. I live in California. This means I can often drive three days on a gallon of gas, $3.00. 7 gallons of gas lasts two weeks with few extra trips. I used to drive 20 miles each way. If I needed to buy a car today, I could get something else. It is still cost effective and I own it. I DO get 44-46 on trips, California to Mt Rushmore, for instance. 5,000 miles on $250 or less (then). I do drive 50 miles going to my dentist occasionally (25 each way) and get 55 MPG, this is nice. I don’t care where I drive as it is so inexpensive to operate. We take this car everywhere because it is cheap. It was very nice to have it then. It is very nice to have now. I have driven it 128,000 miles and the brakes are about half worn.

    Besides, the 2001 Prius is bigger inside than the Corolla, Yaris, or any other comparable small car available (not the Scion van). I am 5 ft 10. I couldn’t trade down in size. There is no way. The new Prius models are even bigger but only get three more miles per gallon (EPA & people reports).

    My wife drives her 2000 Altima 6 miles to work and gets 12 mpg. At 40,000 miles we have changed the brakes twice. The Altima is too small for me. I have to duck to get in the doors. I however fill her car with gas every three to four weeks. This is twenty times a year @200 miles ($35 each fill up). Her car gets 26+ on the highway. It is seldom driven that way. She drives 4000 or less yearly. She puts less fuel in than the Prius uses (mileage difference). I drive the Prius 12,000 miles or more yearly.

    This means my Prius uses one-third the gas than the Altima or it goes three times farther. It is bigger inside too. Ecology and size are both wonderful things for me.

    T Hendren

  • Anonymous

    Good Point. My 2001 Honda Civic HX got an honest 38 mpg around town and country and 44 mpg on the highway on regular unleaded. It cost around 18,000 when I bought it in 2001. No reason Honda can’t do even better today.

  • vinayababu

    Nice idea, with good prospects to be a sucessful one, infact I was wondering for some time why nothing is heard about some serious work done in this area by any reputed companies.

  • Maria M

    T Hendren thank you so much, I’m trying to convince my husband into buying a Toyota Prius to replace our Chevy Cav and you just helped my cause by saying that you have gotten 55MPG on a 50 mile trip.
    I’ve been researching and pricing alternative fuel cars for several months now and so far the hybrids are the least expensive and make more sense for people like my husband and myself who do most of their driving in the city/suburbs (35MPH and under).

    As for everyone that’s waiting for better/more fuel efficient cars, like fully electric, good luck….About the only long range EV (120+ miles per charge as opposed to the usual 25-30 miles per charge) anywhere near to being on the North American market is from Miles and they’re saying that it’s going to cost between $35,000-39,000 plus over-land shipping/freight of over $7000. The short range EVs (25-30 miles per charge) are less expensive, about the same as a Hybrid, but the charge is only good for about 240 minutes (4 hours) in most of them. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but having to recharge a car that often and not being able to drive on the highway doesn’t make much sense to most people and it isn’t that efficient (my husband worked this out, he found out that it would cost $0.17 less to operate our Chevy Cav then it would a short range EV)…So good luck to you waiters, I hope they come out with a less expensive EV or Hydrogen car soon.

  • D . MILLER

    For years all ideas on fuel motors was fossil fuel run.before then the horse. In the horse day when petrol motors first came in they said’ nothing would replace the horse’if electric motors in time and lots of thought imput. i believe that a car can charge itself by the wheels turning? humans love a challenge and maybe one day this will be real.

  • Jakob

    I agree with waiting. Hybrids a still a sad excuse for not putting an electric car on the road or at minimum a “Hybrid-diesel-plug-in”

    Of course they want to keep their parts sales going and of course the big 3 are lobbying… But hey its all a sad excuse.

    So the fix is with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Keep and maintain the car you own. A well build car goes easily 15 years. My Camry still does 33MPG combined 80% highway rest inner city. Not bad for a 14 year old.

    Give them what they deserve: NO SALE TODAY

    Let them feel the pain of cheating on us.

  • Tom

    Sounds great but where’s the pizzaz. I mean really, do we drive cars just for mediocre transportation? If so, then we’d all be taking the bus. But where’s the performance? That’s a question the auto industry can’t seem to size up to in terms of modern technology. It’s not the high price of a hybrid that’s a bit off putting when you can buy an economical used vehicle and save ThOUSANDS! It’s the fun factor of a V8 mated to a 6 speed a hybrid has no ability to match…as of yet. And when you ask why where holding on to those gas thirsty cars the age old addage “you gotta pay to play” best sums it up..or “there’s no replacement for displacement.” Driving a prius is like driving a scooter and if that’s the case why spend 22k for mediocre “entertainment.” People blame gas guzzling performance cars and suv’s when the blame is the source of our problems….gas…not the car. Get at the heart of how people feel about there cars and you’ll see it’s more than just numbers and a infrequent fill-up….it’s a commute with excitement.

  • Bill

    For those that need a bigger vehicle than is available in hybrid due to your family size, please recognize that no many how many hybrid or electric vehicles you buy, it will never make up for the effect each additional child has on the planet.

    Using very stubby pencil math, it looks to me like I would have to drive 20 traditional SUVs (simultaneously) my whole life to equal the carbon footprint each of your kids will have over their lifetimes. China’s one-child policy, as twisted as it seems, has reduced overall carbon footprint more than anything that will be discussed on this site.

    Five-person families driving a hybrid is a rediculous attempt to show the world you care.

  • sporty cars

    Hybrids are good, but in the meantime a lot of cleaner wehicles rolled out of the car factories.
    For example VW “Bluemotion” Polo, Golf and Passat are better, spend less fuel and are cleaner than most of the hybrids today on the market. Price is also cheaper and maintenance is simple. Cost of ownership is cheaper than in the hybrids.
    I would like to recommend two excellent articles:

    “Who killed the hybrid cars”:
    http://www.cars-10.com/2010/04/who-killed-the-hybrid-car-volkswagen-polo-did/

    And “2010 World Green Car of the Year Award goes to VW Blue Motion models”:
    http://www.cars-10.com/2010/04/2010-world-green-car-of-the-year-award-goes-to-vw-blue-motion-models/

  • sporty cars

    Hybrids are good, but in the meantime a lot of cleaner wehicles rolled out of the car factories.
    For example VW “Bluemotion” Polo, Golf and Passat are better, spend less fuel and are cleaner than most of the hybrids today on the market. Price is also cheaper and maintenance is simple. Cost of ownership is cheaper than in the hybrids.
    I would like to recommend two excellent articles:

  • Jeff Cobb

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  • JD

    Bought the 2012 Camry LE HV. What a car! …what gas mileage! …What interior ANd exterior, and ride and power when needed! Glad I stopped procrastinating! Getting 52mpg avg! What a car!

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