June 10, 2005

Hybrid Cars

An interesting article on hybrid cars:
Hybrid vehicles that run partly on electric power save on gasoline. But Edmunds.com, a partner of local6.com, looked at the ownership costs of hybrid models versus comparable conventional vehicles and found that hybrids may not save you money. Hybrids typically come with sale prices that are 20 percent higher than conventional models, and you may even have to pay more than the sticker price. Edmunds also considered financing, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel, maintenance, repairs and depreciation.

Phil Reed is the author of Edmunds.com's Strategies for Smart Car Buyers. He said that the study found, for example, that gas would have to exceed $5.60 or you'd have to drive 37,000 miles a year before a Ford Escape hybrid would be more cost-effective than a regular Escape. Reed is quick to point out that Edmunds doesn't want to discourage people from buying hybrids. But, he said, on a strictly dollars-and-cents basis, there may be some disappointment for anyone who expects to see immediate savings.
I would bet that the reason they are not yet cost effective are that the automobile companies know hybrids are in demand so they can jack up the prices (i.e., 20% higher MSRP on a hybrid car). O.K. that was pretty cynical. Maybe it is because this is new technology and fewer cars of this type are being made (thus, more costly to make).

Look, even if a hybrid will not necessarily save you much in the overall scheme of things, anything we can do to stop the insane oil dependency would be in our nation's best interests. In the end, I think Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars are going to be the answer... Are you listening Detroit????
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