Buying A Hybrid? Really- Read this first!

From Dustin Scott Shop Foreman at Parkway Automotive.
I just wanted to give an example in writing, on hybrid vehicles, for further discussion. For example, the 2012 Camry Hybrid gets 39 miles to the gallon at highway speeds, and the 2012 Chevy Cruze with ECO engine, that I used in my previous example, gets 42 miles per gallon at cruise/Cruze. This makes the Cruz appear to be superior to the Hybrid, but there is the city driving specs that would seem more in favor of the Hybrid: Camry Hybrid 44 mpg//Chevrolet Cruz 28 mpg. Now we’re talking about a much greater difference in numbers where the Hybrid appears to reign supreme!

I’d like to offer my fact based opinion on the aforementioned statistics. For those that live in the city and never do any highway driving this example will not apply. Not many people live in the city, when compared to the total number of people working in the city. For people not in the city, I would venture a guess that 70-80% of the time people spend driving to work each morning is spent uninterrupted by stop-lights or stop and go traffic. Even at a reduced speed of 35 Mph or so, the Cruze would not be considered getting city mileage. City mileage is obtained in frequent stop and go situations. So, driving the Cruz, if 10 miles were driven at 42 miles per gallon until the city made stop and go necessary for the next 2 miles at 28mpg through town to your destination and times that again to make the journey back. Let us compare this mileage example to a Cruz vs. Camry Hybrid.

Chevrolet Cruz: 20 miles @ 42mpg and 4 miles @ 28mpg x 20 days per month = 400 highway miles and 80 city miles. The Cruz consumed fuel equal to 9.5 gallons at cruise and 2.9 gallons during city conditions for a total of 12.4 gallons for the month to and from a destination in town.

Camry Hybrid 20 miles @ 39mpg and 4 miles @ 44mpg x20 days per month = 400 highway miles and 80 city miles. The Hybrid consumed fuel equal to 10.3 gallons at cruise and 1.8 gallons during city conditions for a total of 12.1 gallons for the month to and from a destination in town.

The Hybrid vehicle maintains all of the normal operating costs of the typical gasoline engine but also adds a new normal maintenance item. The battery is huge, expensive and damaging to the environment. Lithium Ion batteries of this magnitude have a great impact during not only disposal, but creation as well. The expected lifespan of the high voltage hybrid battery is about 5 years or so. When the battery fails, the cost can easily be $4,000 dollars. At a difference of 0.3 gallons of fuel, at $3.50 gallon, per month from the proposed example above, it would cost an additional $1.05 per month in fuel. It could also be hypothesized that it would take 3,810 months to save $4,000 dollars in fuel to pay for the battery required to save that much fuel. Furthermore that is 317 years!

So, if one were to be mindful only of cost of operation and environmental impact, then the Chevrolet Cruz comes out on top.

Also, please challenge the numbers, I would be happy if someone could correct my math and tell me I could save $4,000 dollars, in fuel savings, 100 years sooner.

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