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Hybrid Cars

Posted by Zofie (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 3, 05 at 11:29

What is your opinion on hybrid cars? Do you own one? How do they rate as far as maintenance & upkeep?

My old car is 9 years old and I am ready to purchase a new one. My first thought was to purchase a hybrid SUV (I like the Ford Escape). But the information I have read on hybrids indicates that we should wait a couple years before buying. They say that hybrids are still considered "new technology", and that we should wait for the "bugs" to be worked out??? Do you agree/disagree with this information?

Or am I better off buying a regular car? Cause I really like the new Nissan Muranos ...and their gas mileage rating is not too bad. ;-)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hybrid Cars

If you can wait for the Toyota SUV hybrid Hilander then do so. It will be great with at least a 26 mpg combined. It should be available mid-year.

The bugs have been prety much gotten rid of and the battery pack is guaranteed for a long time - in fact their upgrade to the Prius has improved significantly over the old one.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hybrids get better fuel economy in city driving than most other cars, but on the highway their margin of superiority over other small cars shrinks or even disappears altogether. That's because the electric power system provides more assistance at lower speeds than higher. So, if you drive primarily in low speed city traffic, a hybrid makes a lot more sense than if you drive primarily on the highway. A small diesel is a lot better choice for highway driving.

I like the Ford Escape hybrid, too. I looked it over really carefully when I was at the auto show last week. The mileage ratings are about 36 city/31 highway, I believe.

However, when you actually put the numbers down on paper and work it out, it's very hard to justify the higher price of the hybrid over the regular 4-cylinder Escape. The regular 4-cylinder non-hybrid gets as much as 25 city/29 highway if you get the 5-speed, and 22/25 with the automatic. So, if you're willing to drive the 5-speed, in 15,000 miles of driving per year, if you average 33 mpg with the hybrid and 26 with the non-hybrid, the hybrid will use about 455 gallons of gas versus 577 for the non-hybrid. So the hybrid saves you 121 gallons a year. Even at $2.50 a gallon that's a relatively paltry $300 yearly savings, considering the several thousand dollars extra you have to pay to get the hybrid, plus the possibility of greater repair expense down the line.

As far as what I can see, hybrids are a "fun" technology that would be rather cool to be the first on the block to own, but the technology to deliver far greater efficiency for far less money is already here with diesels. If you really want inexpensive transportation, check out the VW Golf diesel. Proven and low maintenance diesel engine, under $20,000, plus 36 city/47 highway mpg. To me that makes a lot more sense for someone who really wants a car they can drive for not much money.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I have the Jetta Diesel, 5spd. I get 52mpg...I thinnk the sticker promised 48 HWY (or something like that). Awesome car; I'd rate it up there as the best "car" I've ever owned.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Whether one should consider a hybrid or not depends on what you want it for. If to save money, forget it. There are plenty of articles on the subject that indicate it would take 100k miles at least to offset the additional cost. At that time it is projected that the batteries will be shot, and out of warranty. Estimated replacement cost is $2500-$5000. Even though they do warranty the hybrids for quite a while, places capable of figuring out a problem should you have one will be few and far between. If you get a warm fuzzy feeling thinking you're saving the planet by driving a hybrid, go for it. That's about the only reason to consider one at this time. jmo


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I wonder how many people buy the Toyota Prius just because it looks cool...


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Thanks for the feedback.

I use my vehicle daily, approx 60-mile roundtrip to work. And I also use the vehicle at work to drive to/from various work sites. So I'm looking for something reliable and to save gas. As far as city vs highway driving, I'd say it's about even for each. Right now I drive a small SUV.

This may be too much info to share, but I absolutely DREAD driving little cars on our highways & streets. Traffic here is so bad that the little guys are always in danger. So I would prefer to stay away from small cars. I could never imagine driving a Mini Cooper. LOL! ...(cute cars though)


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Zofie, I think I can suggest the perfect vehicle for you, and you just have to wait a few months for it to come out: The Jeep Liberty CRD (common rail diesel). The specs on this are not out yet, but it should get mileage at least as good if not better than the Ford Escape Hybrid, and it has an engine that's proven and low maintenance. It'll come standard with a 5-speed automatic. To me, this promises to be the absolute best SUV you can get for overall low operating costs.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hey Cowboy,

That is an excellent recommendation! I REALLY REALLY like the vehicle! It definitely meets all my requirements. I checked out a few Jeep forums and found that some have placed orders for the CRD. Wonder how long the wait will be.

I have never owned a diesel vehicle, but this one sure looks like a keeper. Thanks for your input. :)


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hybrid don't rate as good mileage as posted because our driving habits aren't as much city. The Seattle bus company is disappointed with their performances vs. cost analysis as it proved false.

Get a Diesel if you want good mileage or a fuel Toyota or VW or Impala. I owned a 5 passengers Passat 1.8T 5-speed and it posted 31 mpg but I averaged 35 on highway at 75 mph. Not bad to travel 500 miles without refueling in a mid-size sedan.

I wouldn't bother with a hybrid until our government gives real tax breaks to encourage ownership.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

[rant]
A hybrid SUV is an oxymoron like a pig on a diet or "military intellegence". The idea of a hybrid is economy. The idea of an SUV is excess.
[/rant]

If you have any concerns with hybrids and reliability, I'd suggest you wait. The support infrastructure is not there yet.

The other posters suggested excellent choices.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I hate to be the bearer of bad news on the poor gas milage that the Prius gets, but my experience of driving one for the last year says the estimates posted previously are just plain wrong. I typically average about 50mph on a mix of about half intown and half highway driving. When I drive in the typical traffic around here - lots of lights, 35 mph speed limit and short trips of 3 or less miles, my MPG is between 42 and 45. A poster on Priuschat.com commented that he would have to drag an anchor around to get the 33 mpg quoted earlier. I can make Prius get that low MPG, but I have to really try to do it. My experience with this car is not unique.

As to the battery question, there is a Prius taxi in Canada that has over 200,000 miles on it with the original batteries. From my investigation, no one really knows exactly how long the batteries will last, but expect that that 100,000 mile figure is low.

Yes, I am a Prius owner and supporter, so I am biased. I am not a tree hugger nor am I anti-SUV (our other car is a truck). I do know that my driving habits have changed since I got this car and realized how much MPG was effected by jackrabbit starts and waiting til the last minute to slam on brakes at red lights.

I think Zofie needs to talk to some Prius or hybrid owners before he makes a decision.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I would suggest waiting for the TOYOTA Highlander hybrid coming out this summer. It will get 26 mpg combined and is the exact same size as todays Toyota Highlander.

We have a friend who commutes about 80 miles each way up and down some hills and hiways in a Honda hybrid. The average mileage at the higher speeds is less than she gets on the equivalent size gas-only vehicle. It is pretty good though in heavy stop&go or rush hour traffic.

Another friend has the NEW version of the Toyota Prious and it seesm to get pretty good gas mileage no matter what speed they drive it at. Average of about 45 mpg. Not bad for a more powerful engine.

I drove the Prious and it has good acceleration - the only thing eirie about it is that the engine stops while you come to an intersection or a stop sign or if you slow down below about 5 mph. I always get the feeling that it will fail to restart (but it does not = I guess one just has to get used to it). The nice thing about it that you can use the electronic braking system that re-generates electricity while you are stopping. BTW: their new warranty on the batteries and the charging system is very good like a 100K mi. I believe.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Jlhug, you might want to re-read those posts above yours. No one quoted any mileage figure for the Toyota Prius. The 33 MPG figure I quoted was for the Ford Escape Hybrid, not the Prius.

I think if a person wants a very small car, the Prius is fine, but Zofie's posts and follow-ups make it pretty clear that that's not the case here. And if a person is in the market for an efficient SUV, I think the Liberty CRD promises to be more economical than any other SUV, hybrid or not. Naturally it won't equal the mileage of a very small car half its weight, but it'll also do things the Prius won't do, such as carry more people and things and offer four-wheel drive.

And in choosing between a diesel and a hybrid, consider that hybrids use gasoline engines that are inherently less efficient than diesels, and also that diesel technology has been around for decades while hybrids are quite new. If you can get the same or better mileage with an engine that's already well-proven and that doesn't have thousands of dollars worth of batteries and onboard, to me it's a better choice.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

And when the Diesel hybrids enter upon the scene, Oh la la , the fuel economy - unbelievable !

And the initial cost - totally un-affordable !!!

Makes a lot more sense for a man to live in the "country" and drive a straight Diesel, either a VW Golf (NOT a small car by any means) or a Jeep Diesel Liberty..
I predict the Jeep will sell like hotcakes and have little depreciation, if Chrysler does not mess them up !
Maybe VW and Daimler/Chrysler should merge !! lol lol


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Maybe VW and Daimler/Chrysler should merge !! lol lol
*************

I sure hope not! Mercy B would mess up that beautiful Bently Continental GT. Now THAT'S a hot rod!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I agree with cowvoyind. Take a look at the jeep. Do a search on google. You should find lots of info.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hi all. New here (a regular at gardenweb), start off resurrecting a 2-month-old thread. I own a 2003 Prius. Nobody has mentioned one of the best things about it, which is that ALL maintenance is FREE from the dealer. That's including oil changes! Has it not been mentioned because Toyota's no longer offering that on this year's model?


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Thats a double edged sword reginak. Long warranties and "free" maintanence are costs figured into the sale price, so your not getting anything for free, trust me you are paying for it. But the bigger picture is no one but the dealerships are getting familliar with these cars. I have yet to have one in my shop. This is doing two things, it is making it quite unlikely many shops will purchase the software for their tools to work on these vehicles, simply because it really looks like we would never get a chance to use it. At the same time, if we ever do get one in we wont have the experience with the systems to make the repairs go smoothly. That can result in all kinds of problems.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Good points, John. I don't know about the price part of it, though. When I bought mine Toyota was still taking a loss on them, I don't know how they're doing now. It cost me $20k. Got a tax write-off, too, I think $3,000. But that's a good point about mechanics not having a chance to learn about them - I guess the employees of Toyota dealerships' service depts might start commanding pretty good salaries!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

One more thing: it came with free emergency roadside assistance. I went out and found a completely flat tire this morning (had a nail in it, got it patched a couple weeks ago - it obviously didn't hold). Now, I know I can change a tire, and it's not like I'm in a dangerous spot on the side of the highway or anything - it's in my driveway - but hey, it's raining. And it's free, so why not take advantage of it?

I am very happy with my Prius, and happy with Toyota for how they're taking care of me.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

And you're not alone, either. Prius owners are a very satisfied group, according to owner surveys.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I guess it depends what you are looking for.
If you are out to cut your petroleum usage...a diesel is by far the bet option.
You can run almost any diesel (which are about 35% more efficient as their gasoline equivalents as is) on vegetable oils or vegetable oil based biodiesel.

I have been running my 94 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins and my 84 Mercedes 190D on (waste) vegetable oil fuel for the past 2.5 years, and have cut my petro consumption by 90%

If looking for a mid size car..and VW TDI (Passat, Jetta, Golf, or Beetle) can run on biodiesel directly, or with a slight modification (2003 models and earlier are easier to convert), can run on waste vegetable oils for pennies a gallon.
Combine high efficiency diesel with non petro fuel...and there really is no choice for me.
Check it out..do a search for biodiesel, or SVO (straight vegetable oil) or WVO (waste vegetable oil) fueled cars.
Also..look up the history of the diesel engine..you'll find it was designed with vegetable oils in mind..demonstrated at the Paris World Exhibition at the turn of the century running on peanut oil!
Clean burning, renewable, non toxic, biodegradable, locally produced..it goes on and on.
Burning petroleum for fuel seems to me quite frivolous, and irresponsible now.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

We had a Prius 2002. My husband got 46 miles per gallon driving 40 miles into work one way in the DC area. When he did not use air, he got about 10 miles more per gallon!

The car was fine and no problems. When we left DC, we sold it. I can't wait for a hybrid minivan to come out.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

We, too, have a Prius -- I think it's 2002 or 2003. We have been thrilled with it, and we have found our mileage to be at least as good as advertised. In our experience, the difference isn't so much town or highway driving as the length of the trip: the longer the trips, the better the average fuel economy. In other words, if most of your trips are short 5-minute hops around, turning the car off each time, you won't get as good fuel economy as when you are driving for long stretches, either in town or on the highway. When we are on a longer trip, we frequently average over 50 mpg -- and that's with the old Prius; I believe the new ones get better mileage yet. But even on ordinary days, when most of our trips are very short hops around town, we get well over 40 mpg.

My husband usually drives it; I have a Volvo. All I can say is that unless something even better comes along, when I can finally justify replacing the Volvo, I will get a Prius, too. It drives well, we have had no problems with it, and it's fun. Plus I like the new model with the hatchback.

I don't think it's just a "warm fuzzy feeling," either. The Prius's fuel economy readout helps keep us more conscious of the fuel we're using. It's not just a feel-good or even environmental thing, either; we are concerned about the political implications of ever-increasing oil dependence. I get upset when I see all these huge SUVs and Hummers driving around the streets of our dead-flat, non-snow belt city -- I doubt 99% of their owners will ever go off road or anything else requiring all that power and bulk. There is a commercial for some car, I forget what, where the voice-over of a young man says something like, "What good is fuel efficiency without power?" I don't even understand that! Unless the idea is to appeal to young guys who are trying to project sexual potency through their cars .... Yeesh.

Anyway, I know there are lots of fuel-efficient cars out there, and hybrids aren't the only good option. I'm just reporting our satisfaction for the consideration of anyone considering a Prius. Good luck!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

"The Prius's fuel economy readout helps keep us more conscious of the fuel we're using."

Those who desire such a feature in their 1996-or-newer vehicle can get a ScanGauge. It can also retrieve trouble codes and has readouts of various engine parameters such as coolant temperature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scanguage


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I think that you should consider your terrain and climate before purchasing a Hybrid. In my opinion, long uphill climbs are impractical for hybrids. For example, suppose your comute was from Denver to Vail, Colorado and back. On the long uphill climb from Denver to Vail, your batteries would be discharged before the climb was complete leaving your just the output of a small engine at altitude. Futhermore, without a supercharger at altitude, you could expect the engine power to be cut to 70% to 50% of that at the Denver Altitude. The the car would be relegated to lower gears and slow speed for the reminder of the trip up. On the way back, it'd be great. Its downhill much of the way so with engine/recharge braking, you have a fully charged battery by the time you got back to Denver. But the trip up would have been the pits.

The hybrid will work much better on a flatter terrian where the engine has a chance to recharge the batteries between accelerations and smaller hills.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

That's good advice, and I'd just encourage anyone considering a hybrid -- or any car that's mainly being bought for its fuel economy -- to sit down and go over the numbers out before making the purchase. In almost every case, the premium price paid for a hybrid means the owner will never see the first dollar of actual savings in what is being spent for transportation.

If that doesn't matter and the person wants the hybrid anyhow for some other reason besides cost savings, then that's great. Buy and enjoy. But if the goal is most transportation for fewest dollars, the best car is probably the one you have now, or if a new car is needed, the cheapest overall would be a low cost regular non-hybrid economy car.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I purchased a 2005 Prius in mid-August this year, just before gas prices started to increase dramatically. And it's been worth every penny I spent for it. The base price was $22,500 with the basic options. I did not need the GPS navigation kit, which I consider an unnecessary luxury for an extra $5,000.

The driving terrain here in Phoenix is flat, no hills. So far, the vehicle is doing great in these hot temperatures (110+). I don't know how it will perform during the winter months, gotta wait 3 more months to find out.

Goooooo Prius!!!!! :)


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RE: Hybrid Cars

There's no better testimony than that from actual owners who are happy with a vehicle.

But at $22,500, I think you'd agree that there are less expensive options if your goal was to reduce your driving expense to the lowest cost per mile. I'm not in any way saying that there might not be other features about the Prius, tangible or intangible, that might make it worth $22,500 to a specific owner. But if someone were looking for the least expensive vehicle overall, an economy car that might get 10 or so less miles per gallon but which cost $7,500 less to buy would be less costly overall than the Prius.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

..."But if someone were looking for the least expensive vehicle overall, an economy car that might get 10 or so less miles per gallon but which cost $7,500 less to buy would be less costly overall than the Prius." ...

... okay Cowboy, do me the honors. List some comparable 2005 vehicles that I could have purchased for $15,000 (according to your math). Don't forget to compare against quality vehicles, as it's tough to beat the Toyota brand. Maintenance on hybrid vehicles is low. And one more benefit, I'm getting a tax write-off for buying a hybrid.

I spent 8 months doing my homework before deciding on a Prius.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Zofie, I think cowboyind is just giving an off the cuff example. The jist of what he says is pretty well documented. Here's a link to one of many articals done on the subject. Even for a hybrid to come as close as it does to paying off, everyone else who drives or pays taxes is picking up a substantial amount of the tab for you, including maintainence costs. I have yet to see an artical that says a hybrid pays for itself in fuel savings, unless one drives a lot of miles and the price of gas goes to $6. I don't know why you'd think maintainence on a hybrid is low. Still has the same old gas engine with all the same issues they ever had, plus the battery/electric motor set up and the technology to make it work together. It sounds like yours is pretty well equiped. All that adds up to potentially more things to go wrong, not less. If we're talking strickly economy cars, I think you'd have to admit $22,500 is getting up there. A Crysler PT cruiser for example, can be had for $14k, and with a standard transmission can get 30ish mpg. How much gas can you buy for $8k? Rough math tells me that if a hybrid gets 20 mpg more than the PT which I doubt it would on average, it would take 60k miles to get to even if fuel costs $2.60 per gallon. If the price goes up, it will take less miles to catch up. If the price comes down, it will take longer. I for one believe the gas or diesel/electric hybrid car will be short lived. Something else cheeper and less complicated will come to existance before long. For those who have a hybrid today and like them, great. I'm glad they like them. Everyone should enjoy what they drive. jmo

Here is a link that might be useful: hybrid comparison


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Zofie, give up trying to convince the nonbelievers. Come on over to Priuschat.com. Its a great group of people with all kinds of great information.

For those of you who don't like the Prius, I like 50 mpg, the SKS system (Look Mom, no key!), stealthing through parking lots on the electric motor, and many other things about the car. The Prius is considered a mid-size car, not a compact by the way.

Joan, proud owner of a Prius since 01/04


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RE: Hybrid Cars tax incentives

Zofie, you mentioned the federal adjustment to income for buying a hybrid car, don't forget that your state may have one also. Between the Federal adjustment to income and the credit on my state income tax return, my refund increased by $750.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hi jlhug! :)

You're right, I shouldn't bother trying to convince them. But, it's their fault cause they're baiting meeeeee!!! ... and I fall for it!!! LOL!!!

I have visited Priuschat and it's a great forum. I haven't registered yet but I have done a lot of reading. Someone emailed me the official "Toyota Prius UserGuide - Third edition" (written by Prius owners). Lots of interesting stuff in there, like how to disable alarms.

Not sure what all I qualify for as far as federal/state taxes. I have my taxes done by this great lady, so I'm sure she will find everything. I'll see you at Priuschat.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

how many of you naysayers of the hybrid vehicles know how long the technology has been in use? over 30 years? freight trains get in the 30MPG range towing SEVERAL Thousand TONS! ofcourse they are DEISEL and electric. HMM, I wonder why nobody makes a deisel hybrid for cars or SUV? cost I bet. who would pay 50,000 for a deisel car hybrid. I have a few deisel vehicles and I am working on a heating/filter system that will make waste cooking oil easier, for me.
I gotta vote for the deisel as an economy car, the loud idle is easy to get used to. and the ability to use veg oil is a plus! ALSO if you do use waste veg oil, I belive the Gov gives you a .50/GAL tax credit.
lots of pluses for me...
John


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Ladies and gentlemen, Who's being a naysayer? People who have read articles on the subject and did the math? To deny this is new automotive technology is to deny reality. Jeesh! If you want to discuss the pro's and con's, this is place to do so. If you're looking for a hybrid cheerleader board only, this isn't it. I myself am all for alternatives. If a hybrid penciled out to my advantage, believe me I'd have one. I have money, and yet I'm cheep. IMO the hybrids days are probably numbered because of the cost and complexity of them, and they still run on gasoline. At the risk of being called a naysayer, I'd call those negatives. We'll see in ten years or so for sure. A better option would be something simpler that doesn't need gasoline at all.

I posted a link to support my opinion. Your turn. Please post a link to hybrid freight train construction and fuel economy specs. Not really relevent to automobiles, but would be interesting.

Again, if you paid extra for cutting edge technology that gets you 50 mpg in town and are otherwise satisfied with the vehicle, that's good!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Who knows the cars better - the guy who writes the article, the guy who reads the article or the person who owns the car?

I didn't buy my car because of the gas saving features alone. I wanted the airbags and other SAFETY features. I wanted a MIDSIZE car that allowed me to take my 95 lb dog to the vet. My better half wanted the GPS system which, much to my surprise, I've actually found fairly useful in my line of work. I wanted a car that had enough get up and go to get me safely on the interstate and out of trouble when driving at 70mph. We've had great experience with the Japanese cars we've owned which is more than I can say for some of the other cars we've owned. For us the Prius met our needs. Most of the other cars that have been mentioned here wouldn't have provided us with the things we needed. I don't feel that comparing the Prius to a 4 cylinder economy car is a valid comparison.

I don't think you will find many who own a Prius just for the gas saving features.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

"I don't think you will find many who own a Prius just for the gas saving features."

That's the point cowboyind, myself, and the author of the article was making. So what are you arguing about? Nobody is criticizing the choice made. You made the choice to buy and are happy with it. Great!

The comparison is being made between the hybrid and the same vehicle with a gas engine. The hybrid costs more up front due to the technology that's gone into it. It takes X miles for fuel savings to make up for that cost if it ever does. That's what studies have shown. If a person can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, he or she can figure that out for themselves just by using the mpg ratings. If the same vehicle could be purchased with a diesel engine, the difference in fuel economy would be even less. Before people cough up the extra money they should be aware of that. Not to mention not just anyone will be able to fix a hybrid should a problem develope 200 miles away from the dealership that sells it.

To me, anything that seats more than 2 and gets 30 mpg or better is an economy car. I never made a comment about size. Developement of hybrid cars is done in search of fuel 'economy' is it not? For all I care you can call a Prius a sport ute if you want. That's what manufacturers want to call everything else they make these days:)


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RE: Hybrid Cars

We took a road trip yesterday in the Prius. Our average MPG was over 52 (mostly flat terrain).

I just want to add also that even if you are only looking at fuel dollars, not other features of a car, at least to me it is important to consider where those dollars are going. Even if the total figures come out dead even for buying and operating Car A and Car B, are those dollars going to the same places? I want to minimize the amount of money I send to the oil producers, for political as well as environmental reasons. (My daughter wanted to print up cards to put on Hummers and big honking SUVs in parking lots in our dead-flat city that would say, "Thanks so much for supporting my important work with your purchase and operation of this gas-guzzling vehicle! Your pal, Osama.")


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Well, people have lots of different opinions about different vehicles, and that's why it's nice that there are so many to choose from. However, I wouldn't characterize an SUV driver as supporting a terrorist any more than I'd tell someone not to buy a Prius or other hybrid just because it's not the cheapest vehicle to drive on a per-mile basis. People have all sorts of different reasons for wanting a certain vehicle, and cost of operation is only one consideration.

According to Consumer Reports, which has tested it more than once, the Prius averages 35 miles per gallon in the city, 50 miles per gallon on the highway, and 44 miles per gallon overall. Excellent gas mileage, no doubt about it.

The Toyota Corolla averages 29 miles per gallon overall in Consumer Reports tests.

Using the $22,500 figure for the Prius and the $15,000 that I currently see new Corollas advertised for in my local paper, the Corolla is $7,500 cheaper than the Prius. Both would be expected to have comparable resale value and reliability, given that they're both made by the same company.

If gas costs $3 a gallon, the Prius buyer will have to drive it approximately 220,000 miles before he or she saves the first dollar over what would have been saved by buying the Corolla instead of the Prius. Considering that most vehicles do not make it to 220,000 miles, most owners will not save money with the Prius. That's my one and only point. There may be numerous reasons for buying one, and owners as a group are very satisfied with them. But they're not the least costly vehicles to drive on a per-mile basis.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I feel when you get high 20's and low 30's who needs a Hybrid?I own 3 vehicals.
05 Buick Century 30 mpg Highway.
02 Chevy Cavalier 34 mpg Highway
94 Buick Regal 28.5 Highway

I do very little City driving and the lowest I ever get on stop and go driving is 24 on the Buicks and 27 on the Cavalier.If I lived in a City I would take public transportation.

I use to think the MPG on the Cavalier was terrific.But now that I have the bigger Buicks and getting decent milage for the more roomy bigger cars.Im not so sure.I use the Cavalier for short trips and City driving.I prefer it for that.More nimble and easy to park.But on the Highway I use the Buicks more comfort and only a small differance is gas milage.I feel the Hybrid mpg are not worth the cost and possible problems down the road.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

We are new owners of a hybrid Prius. We decided to get one after my dh got a new job that required a 104 mile a day commute, sometimes even further. We traded in his Explorer for it, which got only 10 miles per gallon. Gas for him alone would have been about $700 a month. Now it's less than $100.

I think it depends on the driving you do. If you don't drive far than the extra cost for purchasing a hybrid probably won't pan out. But if you do like dh does, then it is worth it. PLUS - he gets to take the carpool lane, which is a huge bonus on his commute up the 405 freeway.

And well, it's good for the environment too, emissions-wise.

I'm seeing more and more anti-hybrid articles come out ever since the carpool lane law was passed last month. I attribute it to jealousy - otherwise, I don't understand why they care so much. One (in OC Metro) even suggested that a Prius driver wasn't "manly" enough to drive anything else. Suggested he was jealous of the Xiper zipping past him. ???? Whatever...we're just trying to save a buck here, and he certainly doesn't need to drive a Viper or anything else to compensate for areas lacking. I'm finding all of this anti-Prius press to be pretty amusing.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

If your explorer was only getting 10 mpg, it had issues that needed addressed. Driving down the hiway it should have gotten double that.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

... "I attribute it to jealousy" ...

Snookums, I totally agree with your observation! LOL!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Could a person buy a Ford Escape Hybrid and use the carpool lanes, too? Is it any hybrid that can use them, or just certain ones?


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Whats a Car pool lane?


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RE: Hybrid Cars

cowboyind - I don't know about other states, but here in CA, it has to be a partial emissions or zero emissions vehicle that gets 45 mpg (EPA ratings) or above. Right now, the only hybrids that fall into that category are the Prius and the Civic Hybrid. I'm sure though that as time passes, there will be more that fall into that category. For us, the access to the carpool lane is half of the appeal. You can't get that with a Corolla.

Gary - I have an Explorer as well (until we bought the Prius, we had 2 - a 2004 and a 2005 (mine is the 2005, we traded in the 2004). EPA ratings were only 13 I think, real life is only about 10 on average. This was the same on both of our Explorers - nothing wrong with either of them. They are gas guzzlers - there is absolutely no denying that.

Luckily, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and only drive around town very minimally. My next car will still be an SUV as I need the room with the 3rd row seat, but it will most definitely be a hybrid, such as the Highlander. After just a week of owning the Prius, it makes absolutely no sense why I wouldn't buy a hybrid for every car in the future. Regular vehicles just seem so...so...primitive to me now! Why would you use all that gas when you don't have to? But for now, since I don't drive very much, my Explorer is fine. For dh, we've only had the Prius for 10 days, and it already has 1100 miles on it. He's filled it up once, putting in 9 gallons. It'll need gas tomorrow. WELL worth it.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

That's strange. The Explorers now say 15-20 mpg. 15 should be in town. We looked at them in '98 before getting a Durango and that sounds like what they said they'd get then. Our Durango is bigger, has a V-8 and still gets 17, not that that's anything to brag about either. If you were only getting 10 in something that small, I'd think something's wrong with it or you're using it in some atypical fashion. My 1-ton work truck with a big block gas v-8 gets 10 or better.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Snookums said..."I have an Explorer as well (until we bought the Prius, we had 2 - a 2004 and a 2005 (mine is the 2005, we traded in the 2004). EPA ratings were only 13 I think, real life is only about 10 on average"

I have a 2002 Explorer that I use to tow the trailer for our band. My normal use mileage is 20mpg, (combined mileage in town and on rural roads) plus when towing our 5000lb, 7x6x10 band trailer on highways we still get 13mpg. For tax purposes, we log every mile, and every expense so we know to the penny exactly what we spend and can check mileage easily. Being self employed, and having three jobs, we have to carefully notate each use of the vehicle between which job it's being used for, or if it happens to be the occasional personal use.

As far as getting to use the "car pool" lane. I have no need to use one on a regular basis. In fact I think I had my Explorer on it one time, when they lift the restriction for it coming from a ball game in the city.

Cowboyind is correct in his raisining the question of whether the purchase of a hybrid for the exclusive benefit of money saved is a sound idea or not. Granted there are some benefits, but isn't it strange how they have to be artificially contrived? Things such as the initial tax break, and the use of the high occupancy vehicle lanes in order to subsidize the decision to purchase one of these. The biggest issue with one of these IMO is the one that has yet to be addressed on a regular basis. What about when time catches up withg these things and they start breaking? Will the cost of battery replacement, and other drivetrain repairs ultimately have an impact on the resale value since the resale will most commonly occur after the warranty and life expectancy of the electrical system? Will the benefit of using the HOV lanes really be one if the population of these cars actually does increase to be a significant portion of the market? Or will these simply be an expensive fad sort of like the Mazda rotory engine?

BTW Jealous? You've got to be kidding. No-one makes, or will make a hybrid that will fit my needs. Purchasing a car such as a 2004, and then a 2005 on top of it, and trading the 2004 for a Prius is not an indication of someone making sound financial decisions based on "saving money". Besides, why can't you carpool with a Corolla? Isn't that why those HOV lanes were built, so that more people rode in fewer cars resulting in significant savings in both fuel, time, and vehicle expenses?

I really have to sit back and laugh at the lack of logic being used to praise the hybrids here. If it was really all about saving money, or gas, your DH should be buying a 250cc 4-stroke bike and getting 80+mpg having spent a whopping 2K on the bike.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Here's my logic in buying a Prius. My old car had 185000 miles on it and was starting to develop rust problems around the windshield and wheelwells. It was also starting to use oil. Now, I could have had the rust repaired and the engine worked on, but the car was 15 years old, so I really felt I was only prolonging the inevitable and buy a new car. I needed/wanted a car that would hold a 95 pound dog, and seat 4 adults comfortably (5 for a short distance, had side airbags, anti-skid (or whatever the manufacturer was calling it), good gas milage since I drive about 30 highway miles each way to work, had enough acceleration to get me safely on the highway and out of trouble, good milagea navigation syster (husband's requirement) and was comfortable for me at 5'2" tall and husband at 6' to drive. We are huge fans of Japanese cars because we have had outstanding experiences with all of them we owned. We looked at a very large range of cars from Camry's to Acura RL (I would love to have one of those, but just can't justify $50,000 for a car - that's more than the first house we bought). We did not look at Corollas and other 4 cylinder cars because they were too small to meet our needs.

The Prius came the closest to meeting all of our needs. We did hours and hours of research because we were not sure about the technology in the car and discovered that the 2003 and earlier Prii were not significantly more maintenance prone than our other choices. There is a taxi driver in Vancouver, BC that uses one as a taxi and had something like 300,000 miles on it with no more than the normal maintenance.

I think that if someone did their comparison of a Prius and a mid-size (as per the manufacturers) car with similar options (all the airbags, keyless start and entry, cd player, etc), the results may be different. Also, in my area at least, the 2004 Prii have not depreciated as fast as the Corollas and other cars have.

Last, I don't care what anyone says, when gas was $3.00 a gallon, I got a warm fuzzy feeling when I filled up my Prius for $24 knowing that I was going to be able to drive over 400 miles on that $24.

Does anyone buy a car strictly for its gas mileage??????? I


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RE: Hybrid Cars

**Does anyone buy a car strictly for its gas mileage?**

If I were to purchase a gas/electric hybrid, gas mileage WOULD be the only reason, and it would have to save me a substantial amount of money from the start for the reasons JohnG mentioned. Lots of new technology = lots of potential problems down the road that few are going to able to repair. That is, unless the technology becomes a screaming success and they make all cars that way. I don't think it will.

IMO, cars in the near future will run on hydrogen. No special technology required as far as the vehicle itself goes. No need for gasoline, no emissions, and the old 'push rod type engine' as some call it, will run just fine on it. We'll see.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I think fear of the unknown is a huge contributor with the anti-hybrid audience. When I bought my Prius, people at work were asking me all sorts of questions about the car. One person thought we had to plug these cars in every night to get their batteries rechared. Many still think that hybrids need more maintenance than a regular car. They also thought I'd have to take in the car for regular battery changes (the main battery). It's actually the opposite of a regular car, the Prius needs very little maintenance.

And some of the people told me they would buy a Prius today, if Toyota offered different body styles of the Prius.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

FYI, I am not anti-hybrid. Aside from the limited body styles, they just don't pencil out at this time to me.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

According to this article, Toyota Priuses are now lasting only HOURS on lots, not days. Obviously for those of you who already have them, this is irrelevant, but for those who are getting ready to panic buy one of these cars, this is something to consider.

The author of this article says gas would have to go to $9.20 a gallon for a hybrid to be a good buy.

I really don't think anyone who's writing these articles is "anti-hybrid." Why should they be? I know I'm not against hybrids. I just think that consumers are setting themselves up for a great opportunity to get taken to the cleaners if they drive onto a car lot in an SUV right now and beg for a hybrid. They'll pay top dollar for it, get practically nothing for their trade, and wind up with a vehicle that isn't even a good deal for most people -- in strictly financial terms.

Here is a link that might be useful: CNN/Money Hybrid Article


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hours on the lot? Where??? The Toyota dealerships around here do not have any Priuses on their lots. There are waiting lists that people have to sign, AND, they have to put down a deposit $$$. The wait can be months.

btw, I got a good trade-in for my SUV. I walked in with a printout from Kelley Blue Book. It's the uninformed that get taken to the cleaners.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

**It's the uninformed that get taken to the cleaners.**

More like it's the uninformed that think they got a good trade in for any vehicle under any circumstances at any car lot. I've known a few car dealers over the years. They pretty much have told me every 3rd car they get in trade is "free". The only way to know what you get for a car is to sell it outright. I got $3600 for a '77 LTD worth probably $600, that I traded in for the new '93 Ford Tempo. Such a deal! I gave it to them and I knew at the time I did. I just didn't want to fool with it. Play the blue book/trade-in/msrp/invoice game with a car dealer and you won't know if you're on foot or horse back.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

If people are putting their names on waiting lists for a car that isn't for very many people a wise financial decision to purchase, that in itself is evidence that they're uninformed. The fact that the same uninformed people would take a lousy deal on a trade-in is not surprising.

That's why I'm glad that articles such as the CNN/Money one I provided the link for are helping to dispel the myth that hybrids are a good deal for most people.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

"BTW Jealous? You've got to be kidding. No-one makes, or will make a hybrid that will fit my needs."

Just curious...why post on this thread then?

??????????????

For the drive that my dh has now, the hybrid is a sound financial decision for us. If he didn't have this drive, it wouldn't be.

For us, the carpool lane is a factor. He cannot carpool in a Corolla without another person to drive with that also takes the same route he does. He doesn't have that luxury. Fwiw, the original purpose of carpool lanes was not just to lessen traffic by encouraging 2 or more people in a car, but also to lessen emissions by lessening the cars on the road. HENCE why hybrids and other zero or partial emissions vehicles are allowed access to them. This is probably the only thing that the governator has enacted that I 100% support (even before we ever considered getting a hybrid).

I'm sure since you're such an Explorer expert that you know that in 2003 they totally changed the body style to a larger model. Our previous Explorer was a 2000 and was much smaller than today's version. I'm sure that can affect the gas mileage. My driving is pretty much around town with the AC on. My controls give me an average of 10. My dh's was about the same - slightly higher (about 12) because he does mostly freeway driving.

Also, I'm sure that if you've kept up on all of this hybrid press lately, you'd know that EPA ratings - meaning, the MPG the car advertises - is nowhere near the real MPG that you're going to get, which is much less. Read this month's consumer reports - it has a great article on this phenomena. It is true not just in hybrids but in all cars.

Cheers!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Vehicle fuel economy is very driver-dependent. Some drivers do not operate or maintain their vehicle in a way that leads to good fuel economy, and would rather blame the problem on EPA estimates they believe to be too high than to do something about the real problem.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Yes, I would disagree with the statement that the EPA ratings are "nowhere near" what the car will really get. Most of the time I've found them to be fairly accurate, although I realize that some people do drive in conditions that are not well represented in the EPA tests, and those people would get mileage different from what the tests come up with.

However, Consumer Reports did state that hybrids were the worst of the lot in not achieving their stated EPA ratings. In their words:

"Hybrids, whose selling point is fuel thriftiness, had some of the biggest disparities, with fuel economy averaging 19 mpg below the EPA city rating."

-Consumer Reports, October 2005

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports Gas Mileage Article


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Snook,,, The Explorer body style changed in 2002, my 2002 is the same body as 2003, and up. (independent rear suspension, SOHC 4.0l etc....)

As far as posting on this thread, I'll go out on a limb and say I am the ONLY person involved in this thread that has the tools, equipment, and training to service one of them PROFESSIONALLY.

HOV lanes were designated for use by people carpooling, more than a decade before the hybrids were even a glimmer in someones eye. It took a change in the law to allow a zero emissions or partial zero emission vehicle to have access to the HOV lane. HOV stands for high occupancy vehicle, which means at least in this area two or more people. By design, the intent is to reduce the number of vehicles, and the overall miles driven, which reduce pollution. FWIW an electric car, a pure electic car, Zero Emissions does not in itself reduce emissions especially if the power plant that charges the car burns coal or gas to produce the electricity! The best it can do is have the pollution that should be credited to it simply created elsewhere...


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Ok Jo....see you at the gas station! Or maybe not! Maybe I'll see you in the carpool lane. Or, maybe not.

I'm sure you're aware that hybrids charge themselves. I don't think that 100% electric vehicles are even in production anymore. I could be wrong, but all of the access pass cars I'm seeing in the carpool lane are hybrids. They don't need a pollution-producing plant to charge themselves. And, it gets my dh to work a heck of a lot faster.

Have a nice day.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

First of all, I like the idea of a hybrid, because it addresses almost everything I like and am interested in. Engines, motors, energy, electricity. It's all there. I'd own one tomorrow if it would save me any money. I especially like the Ford Escape Hybrid because it looks like something I'd actually buy. I'm tempted to buy one even though it wouldn't save me money just because the idea of it is cool, but I'm not quite to that point yet.

Snookums, hybrids do have a pollution producing plant. It's the gas engine that powers it. Hybrids are cleaner than straight gas engine cars only to the extent that they burn less fuel. All of this "zero emission" stuff is nonsense that's put out to sell these vehicles. Zero emissions is achieved by walking, bicycling, or riding a horse. You don't have zero emissions when you are using fossil fuels to propel a 3,000 pound vehicle down a road at 60 mph. You have high emissions -- albeit maybe slightly less than those of some other fossil fuel powered vehicle, especially one that's bigger and heavier.

The fuel savings and emissions reductions of a hybrid arise from the fact that standard gasoline engine cars spend a lot of time idling and running at low engine speeds where they do not operate very efficiently. In fact, the gasoline engine in general is woefully inefficient, only changing about 20 to 30 percent of the heat value of the fuel it burns into useful energy. Then tack on fuel wastage from idling in traffic, stoplights, etc., and you can see that the typical car wastes probably 80 to 85 percent of the fuel it burns. Hybrids still have the same old inefficient gasoline engine, but they do help deal with this "extra" inefficiency that's caused by the idling and low speed operation.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Wow...I wasn't sure how our hybrid worked. Thanks for the info on this new-fangled thing.

(Where is the roll eyes icon?)

Fact:

Hybrids are not zero-emissions vehicles. I never said they were. They are partial emissions or near-zero emissions vehicles. That is what the state of California and Toyota labels them as as well. The Prius is an ATPZEV - I forgot what exactly that stands for but it's for partial emissions.

Fact:

Even though the Hybrid still uses some resources and produces some emissions, it is is still the best on the road in that category. Aside from 100% electric (which I fully understand the hybrid is not, thank you), there is NO CAR on the road that gets better gas mileage and produces less emissions than the Prius. Even the Civic is second to it.

Therefore, it meets the original purpose of the carpool lanes - to reduce pollutants in the air. A bonus to us is that dh gets to work a lot faster.

It's just so odd to me that anyone would be "anti" Prius. For God's sakes, if you don't want one, don't buy one, and move on with your life!


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Snookums said...."It's just so odd to me that anyone would be "anti" Prius. For God's sakes, if you don't want one, don't buy one, and move on with your life! "

It's not about being for or against a Prius or any other hybrid. I applaud all of the increases in technology that come along. This is about being truthfull, and accurate and not falling into the hype trap. Lets face it, the more complicated the technology gets, the more secure my own future will be as a technician! But when claims are made that the cars simply as a group are not able to live up to, there has to be a voice that pulls the subject back to the center where it belongs.

Hybrids as it stands right now are still a novelty, but granted they are improving. I say lets give it at least ten years and then look at where they are at as a group. That means not only what the new ones in ten years will be like, but what are the ones out there today going to be like when they are ten years old. Remember I make my living fixing cars everyday, and the real question about the quality of a car does not get answered until we see how it stands up over a normal vehicle lifespan. (10 to 20 years) Until that aspect of the question is answered the jury is out.
Will the upkeep of a ten to fifteen year old hybrid be economically feasable to the owner of it at that time?


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RE: Hybrid Cars

2 questions, one for John and one for everyone else

John, are you saying that you are trained to service a Prius? If so, you should know that the Prius recharges its batteries from the energy normally wasted in braking. The emissions from generating electricity do not come into play in the Prius equation. If the Prius was a totally electric car, then you have a valid point.

For everyone else, I'm curious about one thing. If you who don't trust the technology in the Prius, how long did it take you to buy a car with automatic transmission or do you still drive a manual? How about power steering and power brakes? It may be that you aren't old enough to remember these advances in technology.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

A small portion of the power required to charge the batteries comes from regenerative braking. That helps conserve power, but if you need to slow down quicker normal brakes take over and that energy is dissipated as heat from the brakes just like any other car. The primary way that the battery is charged in a Prius or any other hybrid is by burning gasoline. So how can you say that the emissions from generating that electricity dont come into play? Thats just short sighted, and is the major flaw in the logic that tries to support electric cars in general, be they hybrids or fully electric.

As far as trusting the technology goes, do you remember the early automatic transmissions? Do you remember power steering systems that used a control valve on the drag link? It may be that you take for granted that it took decades to make the systems we see today be as trouble free as they are. (Thats not suggesting these systems don't have problems, but compared to when they were new they really don't anymore)


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RE: Hybrid Cars

John, you are right on the engine charging the battery. I know that and have no idea where my previous post came from.

From reading your posts, you have done your homework on the Prius. You didn't answer my question whether or not you had any training on the Prius system.

We will have to see if your predictions of the problems wiht the hybrid system are accurate.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

There really is not that much totally new or untested technology in a hybrid. The capabilities and limitations of the technology put into those cars are pretty well known. The problem will most likely be the batteries. All rechargeable batteries sooner or later lose capacity and then die altogether. Replacing a whole pack of NiMH batteries will be costly. I know that some of the manufacturers are offering long warranties on these battery packs, but to me 100,000 miles on a car isn't all that much. I think of a car as a long-term purchase. While I know that these battery packs have lives that are claimed to be long, the lifespan of NiMH batteries depends a lot on how they are used, and they often do not give their rated number of charge-discharge cycles. Performance starts to erode long before the battery is entirely spent, so owners will probably face limited electric power and longer running times of the gas engine at some point. It isn't realistic to assume that the manufacturers will continue to cover those problems under warranties forever. Sooner or later it's going to be the owner's responsibility to come up with $1,000 - $2,000 or more to replace a set of batteries.

The problem you see looking toward the future of hybrids is that this issue -- storage of electric power -- has always been the Achilles' heel of electric cars, and it seems that it will continue to be so. No one has ever unlocked the secret to storing large amounts of energy in a battery. Plus, batteries are heavy, eroding the vehicle's efficiency, and full of toxic chemicals. Once the performance of these hybrid battery packs worsens significantly, the first owner will probably pay the money for a new set and keep it running as a hybrid. But then it goes to a second or third owner who will probably not have that kind of money and will just forget the battery pack and run the hybrid as a small car with a little 4-cylinder engine that gets pretty decent gas mileage.

My thought is that hybrids will probably eventually change into vehicles where the engine is smaller than in current hybrids and never powers the vehicle directly, but instead serves only as a generator. Then it could always run at its most efficient speed. You'd still have a few batteries for storing up the power needed to accelerate, when high power levels are needed, but overall the engine/generator would meet the vehicle's power needs at the time the power is actually being used. This would be an inherently simpler arrangement than having a gas engine start up and shut down routinely in the course of driving, and probably would also help the engine to last longer. A small diesel engine, maybe 20 horsepower, could easily meet a small car's average power demand, and could probably get 70 to 90 mpg. Plus the engine would always be on to provide heat for the heater/defroster and turn the a/c compressor if needed.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Are you all forgetting that the Prius came onto the market almost 10 years ago as it is? It was a prototype in 1995, had large-scale sales in Japan in 1997, and was on the global market (including the US) in 2000.

The hybrid concept is not "new."


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I think it's wonderful that so many people are buying hybrid cars with high MPG's. Whether or not they are recouping their expenses by using less gas, they are helping to counteract the effects of the last 10 years when everyone and their brother decided they needed an SUV. Sure some people haul trailers, yada yada, but these Pruis owners are helping to ensure that the gluttons of tomorrow will not go hungry.

BTW, I have some statistics too. According to www.fueleconomy.gov 16.6 million vehicles were sold in the US in 2003. If my math is right, if each one of those got just one more mile per gallon our country would have saved 522.9 million gallons of gas in the first 12,000 miles. I think that as a culture we have to really think more about the social consequences of our purchases. Should you buy at walmart to save a buck, when the result is less citizens with healthcare? Should you not buy a hybrid, because it takes x miles to recover the added expense? Time will tell.

Here is a link that might be useful: cars sold in 2003


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Snookums, the answer to your question is no. The first two lines of my last post were: "There really is not that much totally new or untested technology in a hybrid. The capabilities and limitations of the technology put into those cars are pretty well known."


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RE: Hybrid Cars

After all that research he's done, I bet Cowboy will now trade in his SUV for a Prius. ... right Cowboy? LOL


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RE: Hybrid Cars

You never know; as I said above, I like the Ford Escape Hybrid quite a bit. But I drive mostly on the highway, and the regular Escape with the 4-cylinder engine gats almost the same gas mileage on the highway as the hybrid model, so I can't see that it or any hybrid would offer me worthwhile savings at this point. But I definitely would not be opposed to buying a hybrid if one was offered that I liked and would save gas in the type of driving I do.

Who wouldn't like getting 10 or 15 mpg better? I can definitely understand the good feeling of filling up a 40 mpg vehicle and knowing you won't be visiting those gas pumps for a long time.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I know a way that saves fuel and costs nothing at all:

Change your driving habits.

Every day I see people speeding from one red light to the next, weaving in and out of traffic, etc.

Wouldn't it be better for society as whole if the focus of fuel economy wasn't what some gee-whiz technology could do but on what we can do now with what we've already got?


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RE: Hybrid Cars

The hybrid concept is not "new."

Lets see, change a few words, "The mission to Mars concept is not new"... It just hasn't been proven to be practical over the long run.

From "Toyland forums"

http://www.toyoland.com/prius/archive-toyota.html

Yes, my biggest problem is the lack of support from Toyota. I've had all 4 fuel injectors replaced, the HVECU has been replaced and the EMPSECU needs to be replaced. There seems to be an unwillingness on the part of Toyota to do anything to the vehicle. Almost seems like they are trying to ignore problems to show a higher reliability factor. Jerry

..................

All of a sudden, my Prius is getting 38.5 mpg. I bought this car in March, 2001. And in March I was getting a little over 45 mpg. Then in the summer, it went up to 49. A couple months ago, it started to drop, so I hit the reset button. And it never gets over 40. I checked the tires and such.. Doesn't seem to be the problem. The service people are not being pleasant when I talked about this. What should I do?

.................

Get ready to see lot's of stories like this one,,

I have recently bought a second hand Prius. Milage was 58000 KM's. I have now done 63000 Km's & I suspect that the battery pack is on the way out. Symptoms are:- 1 first start of the day & battery level indicator shows low. 2 Usually turtle comes up within 500 meters. 3 Often the battery level shows FULL GREEN shortly afterwards. 4 Battery level is quick to drop to nearly zero after stop/start in city driving. 5 these symptoms have slowly got worse last 1500km's Does anyone know how to chech the battery pack status? I suspect that the battery pack is shot. I live in NZ & Toyota NZ do not support the Prius!!

.................

By Phyton
I have been a "gung ho" Prius owner, but have recently been awakened to the truth. We own both a 2001 and a 2002 Prius. Enjoy driving them greatly and have averaged better than 43mpg over about 50,000 miles. However, DON"T own one of these little babes out of warranty! Replaced the rack and pinion on the 2001. Cost if you had to pay for it: $3,500. Had to replace the computer in the navigation system on the 2002: Cost if we weren't in warranty: $4,100!! I considered trading the 2001 Prius in for a Tundra or Tacoma pickup truck. Offer for the 2001 Prius with 31k miles: Between $10,500 and $11,500!! Half of what we paid for it! BE CAREFUL!! Savings on fuel costs can be minor compared to other costs.

...............

Again, I'm not pro, nor con on these cars, but I do encourage restraint until they have proven themselves over the long haul.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Here's link to an interesting article where the authors did their own test on how driving habits affected their mileage. By far the greatest difference was determined by how fast one accelerates. Other factors measured were tire pressure, windows up vs. down, etc.

On the same website, I also read some other articles, about hybrids and diesels. Those articles repeated what is said here over and over. Deisels are ideal for straight highway driving and hybrids for the city. Cowboy's point that Hybrids may not actually save you money on gas unless it goes to extraordinary prices is also supported by the articles.

However, I think that hammering away at a single issue at the exclusion of others is an oversimplified approach. My argument is that the "cost" of fuel is actually much greater than the price on the pump. Our fuel usage has many consequences that are hard to measure in dollars. I think most would agree it's the responsible thing to do whatever is reasonable to reduce fuel usage.

Virtually every decision has pros and cons, but harping to Pruis owners that they're not going to recoup their expenses becomes an excercise in futility. Marketing proves that people buy things more because of they way they feel about a product than based on logic. Nobody buys a car based only on gas mileage and nothing else.

I get the sense that people are trying to burst they hybrid crowd's bubble. I realize this is a forum to exchange information, but there's a fine line between the sharing unbiased information and selecting what information you choose to focus on in order to further your opinion.

I wonder how meaningful are the customer complaints posted about the hybrids. There are a lot of people on here who like deisels, and I aspire to get one someday. But as great as deisels may be to some, there are tons of complaints on car forums about volkswagon problems too. I don't think there is any consensus on a perfect car that noone complains about.

Here is a link that might be useful: gas saving test article


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RE: Hybrid Cars

**I get the sense that people are trying to burst they hybrid crowd's bubble.**

That's not true. First question in the thread was "What is your opinion on hybrid cars?" That's what you got.

Pointing out the economics and maintainence issues is not attempting to burst a bubble. I dare say most people hear the words hybrid, 50 mpg and $20 to fill my tank and jump to the conclusion that it's going to translate into money in their pocket. All I see anyone here saying is to do the math before buying, and also consider the potential maintainence issues. That's just the minimum amount of research one should do. Yet some currant owners seem to get bent out of shape if someone brings it up. It only seems like hammering because some seem to want to deny those issues even exist.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I agree that there are problems with any vehicle, and statements from web pages about this or that problem with a car do not sway me much. I don't think I've ever bought a vehicle which wasn't listed on Consumer Reports' "don't buy this vehicle" list, yet I've never had a vehicle which has given me that much trouble.

But I think whenever people are putting their names on waiting lists and scrambling to get ANY product, be it a hybrid car, diesel car, the newest Playstation, or whatever the latest fad is, that means that there is a very ripe opportunity for people to be taken advantage of. With the hysteria over $3 a gallon gas, a lot of people are rushing to car dealers to buy these vehicles at practically any cost, and that means paying top dollar for the hybrid and taking a low offer for their trade.

All I was trying to say is, think twice before you do that, because if you're buying the car mainly for its economy, it may not wind up being all that economical.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Wouldn't it be better for society as whole if the focus of fuel economy wasn't what some gee-whiz technology could do but on what we can do now with what we've already got?

Agreed. But that does not seem to be The American Way (TM). One only has to view the popularity (and -- um, longevity) of the low-carb-diet fad ("Eat bacon and steaks and cheese and lose lots of weight!") to see that most people want a magic bullet. The idea that they can discipline themselves to a better state doesn't play very well.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

It's really cool to see the long time responders on this site dig through and find their way to the truth, and keep level headed in their approach to the debate.

NICE JOB.

BTW try this little tidbit. If the public at large would simply slow down and drive the speed limit, the fuel savings from that alone would exceed that which could be realized by 1,000,000 hybrid car sales, without the public spending one dollar on new cars.......

I have NO facts to support that statement, as far as I know, none are available, so don't even ask for any. (VBG)It's just common sense, that the faster anyone drives, the more fuel per mile they actually use once they have exceeded a cars peak fuel economy speed. If the speed limit is 65, then drive 65 etc. You'll realize a personal fuel savings no matter what anyone else does, and it won't cost you a dime.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Oh, BTW the question was asked about having training for one of these cars. Lets just say that the first thing I expect to do on one will deal with the pump that circulates coolant to keep the occupants warm in the winter when the engine stops at red lights.........


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Ah; Ol' Jetta TDI is at 90K miles, still kicking out 52 MPG consistently. I did have to get new tires back at 70K....but that's about it, other then required maintenance.

Gotta love Diesel. Hyrbrids? Sure, if you want. I'll take proven technology, which has proven itself to me.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

**Ah; Ol' Jetta TDI is at 90K miles, still kicking out 52 MPG consistently.**

If I had one and said that, my wife would reply 'yeah, but you still have to be seen in it'. No joke, she's said that to me in the past.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

iam going to wait for the chrysler 300 diesel to be sold here.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

If, at only 9 years old, your car is ready to be replaced, then you should think long and hard about whether you even want one of today's very complex hybrids. If you can't manage to keep a 1996 vehicle in good shape for nine years, you aren't likely to get five out of a hybrid. Too much to maintain.

Consumer Reports says that any vehicle made in the past 20 years, given reasonable maintenance, should still be reliable at 20 years and/or 200,000 miles - whichever comes first.

If your nine year old vehicle has 200,000 miles on it, then you probably drive a lot on the highway, and a hybrid is not much improvement on the highway. And, if your nine year old vehicle has 200,000 miles on it, then you can disregard my criticism of your maintenance of it.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

It's been a long time since anyone posted on this string. I'm wondering if any of the posters who said they wanted to "wait and see" about hybrids have anything to say now, years later.

By the way -- our first Prius is going strong, and our new one (with which I finally replaced the Volvo a year ago) is really wonderful -- I have absolutely no complaints, except that I did lose one "smart key" and it was expensive to get a new one. As cool as it is, I think I'd rather have an ordinary key that I can copy.

The 2010 Prius looks even better. It will have the 2 features I missed from my Volvo - seat warmers and sun roof -- and a lot of other new stuff. I believe it is getting good reviews.

But I won't be getting one; I intend to drive the new one for many years, and we hope that electric cars will be available when my husband replaces the old one in a year or two. And we will go ahead and take our chances on buying one before there have been a few years to "get the bugs out" -- I think using virtually NO gasoline in that car (we rarely drive more than 40 miles in a day) will be worth dealing with a few bugs. Even if the cost of the vehicle isn't offset by the fuel savings, I'm in -- this is about a lot more, environmentally and politically, than just the short-term savings to my personal pocket.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

corporate card, leased car, lead foot. mpg? dont care.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

Hi Again.

Here in the aftermarket many of the Hybrid vehicles are just now starting to show up for regular servicing now that many have had their warranties expire.

First I have sold NO HV Battery assemblies. If the battery, the inverter, and especially the Prius transaxle has failed people simply trade the car in. I'm still the only shop in the county that has had formal training on these cars, and has invested in the factory scan tools to service them, as well as the rest of each manufactures fleet. Your lost key fob? I could have handled that, but otherwise you would have a 20+ mile one way trip to the nearest dealer.

http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2006/10/prius_mileage_1.html

Just google "real prius" and you will quickly see a google drop down list that suggests gas mileage. That link above was the first one that came up. Compare that number he quotes to the fact that my 2007 Mustang GT Convertible California Special consistently gets 29mpg with the top down on the highway.

Next week I'll be out of town instructing a basic Hybrid class for a well know franchise based chain store. Most of those shops don't allow their techs to get involved with anything more than tires, alignments (one of the special things I have to teach with these cars) and basic fluid services. Anything else and the cars typically require the O.E. scan tool and only the dealers *(mandatory for them), and top shops like mine have stepped up and made the investment in those.

Come back in about two years and we will see just how big of an impact these cars are having when the inevitable repairs start multiplying.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

gelchom, I am thinking of a prius and I drive 40 miles a day in city traffic very stop an d go. And very cold winters ,hot summers , serious pot holage. On the plus side dealers very close by. What do you think ?
John g what part of the country are you in? Do the priuses hold up as well as other toyotas/cars? My 2000 volvo get about 25 mpg and since I don't usually do the highway and most of the time a convertable would either freeze your ass off or sweat something else off up here, I'm not that impressed by a 29 mpg/highway convertible. I need to get real.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

29 MPG,, 315HP Convertible. :)

Pa. I drive as far as Buffalo/Rochester NY to teach on a fairly regular basis. (12 or more times a year)

40 mile commute, with city driving? A Prius, or a Civic would work well. In fact, so would an Escape, or a Focus (not sure when but its coming out but soon), Insight, and a number of others.

BTW the Mustang sits in the garage all winter, but if I did drive it, it is quite warm enough in the cold, and if its too hot, we could always put the top up and crank up the AC.


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RE: Hybrid Cars

I know but using those things really impacts the milage was my point.
I am not a granny driver either, I prefer a stick, and basically ,uh yeah ,I am the one taking off like a cannon from stop lights and weaving around the fat ass minivans and SUVs going 25 MPH in a 30 zone(so they can save on gas????).
I had a VW rabbit in the past that I really liked, this is my 3rd volvo, and last time I tried to buy an Escape hybrid, they took months to show up at the dealers , so I couldn't wait and didn't trust them at that point. I really don't want something too small but SUV not necessary.


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