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Old 08-15-2008, 09:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
Daox
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Location: Germantown, WI
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CM400E - '81 Honda CM400E
90 day: 51.49 mpg (US)

Daox's Grey Prius - '04 Toyota Prius
Team Toyota
90 day: 49.53 mpg (US)

Daox's Insight - '00 Honda Insight
90 day: 64.33 mpg (US)

Swarthy - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage DE
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A descent spreadsheet with a few (IMO fairly large) flaws. The first being that gasoline is not going to be anywhere near $4 in 5 years. The next is that it doesn't take into account maintenance which you mention. Including maintenance costs actually favors hybrids because they don't need new brakes, the batteries don't die (less than .5% have been replaced), and general wear and tear is less because the engine just doesn't run as much. This can also be a huge issue if your talking about a lower quality vehicle vs a higher quality vehicle. A coworker of mine asked me why I paid $10k for my Matrix while he only paid $7k for his Sable (similar miles and year). He has had that thing in for repairs half a dozen times in the past year! I didn't answer his question so as not to offend him, but I knew the answer. The last would be insurance as you stated in your spreadsheet. This will also have a pretty large impact on monthly cost.

On the topic of hybrid vs non, you also compare fairly inferior cars to the Prius which IMO is a bit unfair. The Prius is a roomier vehicle than both the Vibe and Fit. Obviously the smaller cars are going to cost less, and thats not even considering the options that come standard on a Prius vs. having to pay extra for them on the others (this is my sore point on hybrids, gimme a freakin base model without all the fancy junk!). Generally, after about 5 years, the hybrid premium has paid for itself and you are not only operating a cheaper vehicle, but also one who is more environmentally friendly, and helps with national security (your spreadsheet doesn't put a value on either of those extra benefits).

I think Brick from cmpg said it best when he said that everyone seems to criticize hybrids purely based on cost. Why does no one do this when it comes to performance models of the same vehicle? What is the ROI on the GT model of a car, or the luxury version? It doesn't ever return! Yet, they still sell quite well. So, by saying you have to pay an extra X amount of cash each month (which will eventually be a negative number and cash back in your pocket) your basically saying that the environmental benefits, reduction of oil use, and national security benefits are not worth it. It really just doesn't make sense to me why money is the only thing considered. Those other three things are more important than a few bucks a month.

That being said, I do agree an older used car is definitly the way to go if you are trying to save money. That is what I did. I couldn't afford a brand new Matrix when I was looking. If I could afford it though, I'd definitly have a used Prius in the driveway.
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