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Hybrids are they really good for the enviroment?

by mfodish / May 3, 2007 3:17 PM PDT

I agree we need to get more fuel efficient cars, but are hybrids the way to go? I mean they use some type of nickel batteries, which are terrible for the environment when made and eventually disregarded. The product lifestyle for a hybrid is less than a regular care because the batteries go bad around 100000 miles. Furthermore their gas mileage is not phenomenally better than regular cars, realistically they get about 40-45mpg, while regular cars can now get 30 maybe 35.

With the electric car it again uses batteries, and electricity. Many assume that because they use electricity they are automatically green. However what?s the number 1 way of producing electricity in the USA, coal, gas, nuclear, does that not defeat the purpose of an electric car? I must admit an electric motor is highly more efficient than a combustion.

People are talking about ethenol, but how much work does it take to grow, harvest, and produce it.

Everyone needs to look at all the benefits and shortcomings to every technology, from production to destruction.

Basically their is no silver bullet for our energy needs. What we need is another Manhattan project for energy.

- ASU Bioengineering Student

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Hybrids, and alternative energy
by sonelvis / May 3, 2007 10:53 PM PDT

I like your thinking, and believe Engineering students should be focusing on "what's real"

Hybrids are expensive (from an energy standpoint) to produce, and have many elements which are not recyclable, so the life cycle costs are hard to justify in a one off situation. Somehow, I still want one, and believe that this technology will be helpful.

I am personally biased toward plug in hybrids, using electricity from the grid to substitute for gasoline... I don't have facts, but I believe that it has to be more efficient to produce electricity in a factory than in a car, but I want to take advantage of regenerative braking as well. I think Nuclear is the way to go, even with the disposal problems.

Ethanol and Hydrogen cars are generally bad ideas the way the fuel is produced in the US. Ethanol from corn takes away from the food supply, is subsidized by the government, and puts the burden of the cost onto poor people (through tortilla prices, etc.), while still using 95% of the oil that just burning the gasoline would have taken. Hydrogen is planned to be obtained from cracking oil, so the carbon loading is similar to burning gasoline, and keeps depending on a non-renewable resource.

The only real solution is driving less, public transportation, people power (bicycles, walking). Reducing consumption should be the first priority in any of these discussions.

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Remember the source of most electricity
by cschachter / May 4, 2007 1:38 PM PDT

I would agree with the plug in idea if the electricity we were using didn't come from coal and oil burning plants. A lot of pollution is made when we create electricity. There need to be more wind farms & solar power plants before power plant electricity is the answer.

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RE: Hybrids, and alternative energy
by someguy7234 / May 5, 2007 2:21 AM PDT

So not having all the facts, I say this with a grain of salt. I'm not convinced that the "greenhouse gas" argument in general has any merit. As an engineer, I have seen no compelling evidence to suggest that globally (energy) pollution has an impact. That being said, that argument is for scientists, politicians and (apparently) actors to decide. For that reason I'm skeptical of how "inappropriate" producing energy from hydrocarbons really is.
What seems obvious is that pollution has a real lifestyle impact in cities(smog). For this reason, power plants (and plug in cars)become a rather attractive option for mobile power needs. Reducing energy byproducts in heavily populated areas is a realistic short term goal and an attractive one at that.
As to ethanol as an energy source, it may not be feasible to provide 100% of our energy this way, but as it is, America subsidizes farmers to NOT utilize farm land to control the price of produce in America (so farmers don't go poor). This leads me to believe that much of gasoline could be mixed with ethanol to produce a "more environmentally friendly" fuel source.
As to nuclear, It's a no-brainer; nuclear power plants in America release less radiation per kW-hr in an uncontrolled manner than almost coal power plants (yes coal power plants release trace radiation into the atmosphere).
I do agree most however, that not using energy is the best solution. You will likely never get rid of industrial energy use and the home will always require a certain amount of energy to run, but for our personal pocketbooks if for nothing else, it makes a lot of sense to use "people power" and also to build a "greener house". It is true that PVcells on your roof do not make economic sense, but things like investing in double paned glass and flourescent light bulbs do.
Don't forget that energy crises are largely driven by things that have nothing to do with energy. In California, it was discovered that their energy crisis was manufactured by enron. Today it could be argued that the crisis is driven by Western nations pressuring NIC's like china and India to quell their explosive economic growth.
The facts certainly aren't in, and I agree that there are no "silver bullets" but from an economic and from a social standpoint- everyone could use a little more walking and biking, and everyone could be a little wiser about improvements to their homes to make them more "green". ultimately a little investment in things like light bulbs and insulation goes a long way in saving you money in the long term.

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plug-in hybrids
by SPDCentanglement / May 9, 2007 5:21 PM PDT

right now i firmly believe that plug-in hybrids (along with public transport, people power and conservation) make the most sense as an option for reducing the carbon footprint of our transport. here are some responses to other arguments:

1) it has been noted that most of our power off the grid is made from coal, gas, or other methods which are not free of carbon emissions. While this is true, a) not ALL of grid power is made that way (especially in parts of the world especially suitable for hydropower like the Northwest) and b) the carbon footprint of energy from electricity off the grid is still much lower than that of burning petroleum in a normal car's combustion engine. This is true EVEN if the electrical power comes from a coal plant: the carbon emissions per mile driven will be lower when running your plug-in hybrid on energy from the grid than on gasoline. Furthermore, there are geopolitical arguments in favor of reducing our petroleum consumption in favor of other energy sources (coal wind nuclear hydro solar) which are sound--if perhaps not fully germane to this discussion. Finally, as our power on the grid continues to be produced in increasingly green ways in coming years (as it should be we hope!) through increasing solar, wind, etc. then plug-in hybrids will become correspondingly even greener. So while plug-in hybrids that use energy off the grid are not a perfect solution, they are significantly greener than petroleum-burning cars, and will only continue to become even greener as solar and wind energy become more efficient, cheap, and prevalent.

2) Hybrid technology is becoming better all the time so the lifetime of the cars is getting better.

I'm not saying plug-in hybrids are the perfect solution, but along with conservation, efficient driving, better public transport and more people power they are a the best option for greening transportation, much better (and practical on a wide scale) in my opinoin than biofuels, at least in the US (maybe not in brazil where ethanol is relatively much cheaper and greener to produce). But perhaps a plug-in flexfuel hybrid would be even better?....

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Hybrids have their uses
by debisbooked / May 24, 2007 12:59 AM PDT

Hybrids still have a long way to go IMHO. We own a Prius which gets about 47 MPG in real life situations- far better mileage than any other car we have owned in the past. I cannot speak to the other issues like battery death after 100000 or disposal of same. What I believe the hybrids are best at, though, is getting more people to think about how their actions impact Earth. We've been speaking about the consequences of human actions on the environment for over 40 years and, besides a somewhat successful push for curb recycling, less littering, and a few cleaner rivers, do not have much to show for it. Driving a hybrid is a useful step in the road to living a more green lifestyle. Impacting the American choice of auto is a huge step in the right direction.

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Simple Efficiency > Techfest
by Impreza WRX / July 11, 2007 10:16 AM PDT

My old 1993 Honda Civic would break 42 MPG on the highway, and it had very little technology in it! I felt that car was perfect for someone that doesn't need to move lots of stuff around, and it's easy on the environment. Some Civics can push even 46 MPG highway, all this with a 1.5L four cylinder engine and very little after that.

The truth is, efficiency is not in using "hybrid" technology, which while looking nice on paper actually has some very big drawbacks, but being simple and efficient with nothing more than what's absolutely needed is the way to go.

The 92-95 Honda Civic weighs in from 2200-2500 lbs., depending on the trim line. Most other cars its size weigh 2600-2900 lbs. Also, having good aerodynamics and a perfectly matched engine and gearbox will help. The Civic had gear ratios that worked with the tiny engine's miniscule top-end powerband. Some people think that the engine runs too high RPM at cruise, but fact of the matter it doesn't, because it's in the beginning of the powerband pushing just the right amount of power to keep going without using any extra gas. I've been in cars like the early model Kia/Hyundai cars which have 2 or 3 gears for quick acceleration and two huge overdrive gears for good fuel economy. What happens is they aren't matched and you have a car that doesn't accelerate good and gets bad fuel economy. Speaking of acceleration, 9 seconds 0-60 isn't all that bad. The latest Ford F-150 does that in 10.7, so can it about V8 > 4 cylinder.

The biggest problem facing people is patriotism. Americans have to buy American cars! Got to support the US of A. The problem with that is American cars aren't built well, at least not most of them. Only a select few vehicles would I choose from a lineup in Ford, GM or Dodge. They normally build cars at warp speed to poop them out of the factory and sell a huge amount of them, and screw the build quality.

The Japanese manufacturers had to start off learning how to make cars simple and efficient. They didn't have many resources post-WWII, so with scarcity came necessity. While American companies were pooping bigger and bigger engines into their land yachts (which I do like the styling on late 50's cars BTW) the Japanese were starting small and staying small. Now look what we have. The American car companies still tout fast 0-60 times and big engines (among the class) and AMerican Pride but sacrifice everything else to sell them fast whereas the Japanese have continually built small, efficient cars that are high quality, get good fuel economy, and last a long time, and still manage to poop them out real fast and sell lots of them.

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Re: Hybrids are they really good for the enviroment?
by grant_stevens / May 5, 2007 1:12 AM PDT

I think you're definitely on the right track, but one minor correction: While Nickel *Cadmium* batteries are pretty environmentally awful, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries (used in all of the mass-produced hybrid vehicles on the market right now) are pretty environmentally benign. Also, because nickel is a fairly valuable metal (and there is a lot of it in a hybrid car's battery pack) the batteries are very likely to be extracted and recycled at the end of their useful life.

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Source please?
by Andy77e / May 13, 2007 12:40 PM PDT

I was recently informed that hybrids use NiMH instead of NiCad. Thus I'm not as informed about them. What source to you have for NiMH being environmentally benign?

Please don't give me the Toyota site. I want an outside opinion. Toyota has a huge invested interest in convincing people their cars are "eco-friendly", or they wouldn't pay more for a hybrid.

We know Nickel is valuable, that's why after the warranty is up, and a battery dies, you pay $400 for it.

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bunch of misinformation and FUD
by cwerdna / May 5, 2007 8:35 AM PDT

The NiMH batteries that are in the Prius and other hybrids are recyclable. Toyota has a program in place to do so. See "Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery"

Where do you get the idea that the batteries are "terrible for the environment"? Is it from article that quote the idiot/shill CNW/Art Spinella and the total misinformation about a plant at Sudbury?

I don't know where you get the notion that the batteries "go bad around 100000 miles." The HV battery is warranted for 10 years/150K miles in CA and a few other northeastern CARB states. is at 285K miles on his original battery on his previous gen Prius. went over 200K miles on his previous gen Prius w/no battery probs. Another benefit is that the brakes last a LOT longer than on regular cars, saving $ on brake jobs. There have been many documented cases of people being past 100K miles still on their original pads. The Ford Escape hybrid taxis in NYC have all exceeded 175K miles now . The Escape hybrid uses batteries from Sanyo vs. the Matsushita/Panasonic ones in Toyota hybrids.

As for "not phenomenally better" mileage, see Sure there are non-hybrids w/high mileage, but the Prius for instance has almost the room of a Camry I own a Prius and sure wouldn't want to drive a crappy Yaris. The Prius in CR's testing gets an overall mileage that ~33% better than that of an automatic Yaris. That's pretty significant. 10 gallons of gas would take you 440 miles vs. 330 miles. With proper hybrid driving techniques (pulse and glide, keeping speed below 70 mph), one can manage 50+ mpg in a Prius.

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Thx for the corrections
by mfodish / May 6, 2007 6:25 AM PDT

Wow thx for all that information about the lifespan and recycling procedures of the hybrid batteries. I should have researched it more.

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What's bad for the environment
by JZepp / May 9, 2007 2:17 AM PDT

are the people who fail to recognize that their driving habits affect their mileage. A co-worker who owns a Civic Hybrid can instantly tell when her teenage daughter has driven it by the sudden drop in her gas mileage reading. You can't expect fuel-efficiency if you slam the pedal down and jam on the brakes at every opportunity.

Furthermore, to discuss these technologies without considering the real world conditions in which they are used is to miss the point. With the stop and start driving that characterizes most urban areas, hybrids reduce or eliminate much of the gas wasted and pollution caused by idling combustion engines. Assessing technologies solely by their EPA mileage ratings is like believing the cologne ads that claim slapping some on will make you instantly attractive.

The challenge is not finding the perfect technology since this is probably unlikely but rather to achieve a reasonable balance across various needs and alternative solutions while minimizing the negative consequnces of each as much as possible. Just as farming has discovered that the monoculture approach leads to whole system vulnerability, we have to apply this lesson to energy by adopting a range of technology, regulatory, and economic solutions.

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Overall, yes. They're good for the environment
by Himself / May 10, 2007 8:07 AM PDT

Having a Prius, I know your points are pretty weak.

* The Nickel batteries are not worse than the Lead in regular car batteries.
* Both types of batteries are recycled, anyway, so it's not like they're going into a landfill or water table any time soon.
* The batteries don't go bad at 100,000 miles. That's just when the warranty ends. You'd be hard pressed to find people who had to replace their battery pack.
* Over the life of a hybrid, you'll save $thousands in gas, and it's not getting any cheaper at the pump.
* From my own experience, In my Prius, I'm getting about 80-100% better mileage than my Ford Focus. About 46 mpg over a tank-full--and I do a lot of driving in the hills.
* My friend's minivan usually gets about 17 mpg and most SUVs get only about 12 mpg.
* Can you say that hybrids don't last as long? My last regular car only went 12 years before it was junked. Hybrids have only been around for less than 8 years & they're not filling up the junk yards.
* If you can spend more for a car, in exchange for buying less gas and maybe get a little joy from not polluting as much, then get a hybrid.

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I not so sure.
by Andy77e / May 13, 2007 1:10 PM PDT

Based on what, do you claim NiHM are not worse than Lead Acid?

I know people who have not only had to replace some batteries, but it cost them a ton too.

Your friends minivan and SUV can haul a lot more, tow alot more, and more people and stuff can fit in it, and it's more comfortable on long road trips, and for most people it's more enjoyable to drive.

I know I'm not polluting much without a hybrid, so there would be no joy in knowing I spent more to save little and do nothing either way on the evironment. I don't like driving an absolute slug either.

Prius MSRP $22,175 Focus MSRP $15,885 Hybrid = $6290 more.
Prius MPG 50 Focus MPG 35
Prius $720: fuel cost per year. Focus: $1028 fuel cost per year.
Prius save you a whooping $308 a year. (assuming 12K miles at $3 per gallon)
So you are going to spend an extra $6290 to save $308. (and I have yet to meet a hybrid owner who actually got the rated mileage) Only in America does this make sense. A penny wise, dollar stupid.

If you keep your hybrid for 20 years, you *MIGHT* save some money. Of course after the first 5 years, you'd be paying full price for repairs. High tech car, high tech prices. Doesn't seem like your saving "thousands" to me.

and BTW, maybe you were around in the 90s, when they said the price of gas would keep going up and ... doh, it dropped to $0.78 per gallon. You do not know what will happen. I do not either.

When the VW TDI comes out, or Audi's Turbo Diesel comes out, and gets 50 miles to the gallon, and yet costs thousands less than your hybrid, how much will you be saving then?

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more misinformation, you've probably never been in a Prius
by cwerdna / May 13, 2007 1:46 PM PDT
In reply to: I not so sure.

In Consumer Reports testing (, you won't be able to access it w/o a subscription), they got 20/35, 28 mpg overall w/the Ford Focus, vs. 35/50, 44 overall for the Prius.

I live in San Jose, CA and the avg. for regular unleaded is already $3.496/gal per

The Ford Focus' reliability is just average according to Consumer Reports vs. FAR ABOVE average for the Prius.

Go run the cost of ownership numbers at for an 07 Prius vs. an 07 Ford focus (I picked a ZX5 S 4 door hatchback). They arrived at a 5 year ownership cost of $22,239 for the Prius vs. $27,433 for the Focus. Looks like Intellichoice is still counting a $1575 tax credit (they deducted only $1572), so you should add on $784.50 to the Prius TCO, making it $23,023.50.

I'm not sure where you're getting the 5 year bit from. The HV battery is warranted for 10 years/150K miles in CA and a couple other states and 8 years/100K miles for everyone else. Again, the Prius has an excellent reliability ratings vs. avg for a Focus.

See my earlier post regarding the 285K mile Prius, 175K mile Ford Escape hybrids and people on their original brake pads even after 100K miles. I needed new front pads on my other car, an 04 350Z after 24K miles. Replacing the pads, turning the rotors and flushing the brake fluid cost me $375 w/tax.

Regarding the Focus, it doesn't even compare to the Prius. Does the Focus have standard (or an option) these: multifunction touchscreen LCD, smartkey system, rear backup camera, Bluetooth phone support, voice recognition and navigation system? Have you ever even ridden in or driven a current gen Prius? You'll find the Focus in comparison is totally basic transportation.

How do you know "I know I'm not polluting much without a hybrid, so there would be no joy in knowing I spent more to save little and do nothing either way on the evironment."? What do you drive?

Since you brought up the Focus, go to and compare the air pollution scores and greenhouse gas scores of say the two. The Prius is estimated to emit 3.4 tons/year of GHG vs. 6.2 tons for a Focus. You can lookup the meaning of the air pollution scores at

Since you mention VW or Audi TDIs, great... VW reliability is AWFUL. Any savings will be more than negated in repair costs and high maintenance costs on VWs and esp. Audi.

Why does buying a hybrid have to be ONLY about saving money? Does a V8 engine save $? How about sunroofs? You'll never find anything about them saving money beacuse they don't. Think of having a hybrid as having another feature that recaptures energy that would otherwise become useless heat and brake dust and repurposing it later. The gas engine almost never runs when you're stopped at a stoplight/stuck in traffic. You put out less pollution and use less foreign oil which is not a renewable resource and much of it comes from unstable regions/countries that don't like us much.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 14, 2007 2:46 AM PDT

Great reply.

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Good Reply
by Andy77e / May 19, 2007 9:41 AM PDT

Granted, but I have met many Focus owners who get better mileage than that. Out of the 3 Prius owners I know, their experience hasn't been getting 44 mpg. I was giving both cars the benefit of the doubt.

It's under $3 here. Of course once again, the great state of CA proves it can jack up the prices.

OK, looking at the numbers again
Prius MSRP $22,175 Focus MSRP $15,885 Hybrid = $6290 more.
Prius MPG 44 Focus MPG 28 (yet to meet anyone who got 44 in a prius)
Prius $955: fuel cost per year. Focus: $1500 fuel cost per year.
Prius save you a whooping $545 a year. (assuming 12K miles at $3.5 per gallon)
So you are going to spend an extra $6290 to save $545. Only in America does this make sense. A penny wise, dollar stupid.
12 years to catch up.

I don't buy the tax credit because it's going away. Most buyers will not get it.

A 350Z is no where even close to being comparable. Stawman, moving on.

Ok, I'll bite on the battery. However, why have I met people who have shelled out $400 for a battery if it's warrented for 10 years? Please explain, cause I'd love to know. I might see it as being worth it.

I didn't buy a car for touchscreen LCD, nor a "smartkey" system. Rear backup camra? Yeah you need it on the Prius. That's not a bonus, that makes up for you lack of vision behind you. If anything, the smartkey is almost a negative for me. Last thing we need is car thives to just replicate your "smartkey", and drive off with your car without even having to break the steering colum. Not even look suspicious, just hope in, and drive off. New meaning to "gone is 60 seconds".

Yeah as a company, VW does not have the best record, but of their TDI models, many owners swear by them. Some claim 200K mile without any real problems. I wouldn't claim that for all their models, but the TDI is a pretty solid little engine. We'll see about Audi.

But you missed the point I was making. As for mileage vs. cost, a diesel is a much better choice. I have little doubt that other manufactures will move to Diesels, as GM, Ford, and Honda all have plans for Diesels. They will be far cheaper, and get great gas mileage, compared to hybrids.

It doesn't, you can blow all the money you want on an automobile. That's fine with me. If it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to drive around in some small, plastic, expensive slug of a techno-car, feel free. Having been in one, no way. Not for me. Especially if I'm not saving money. And if thinking you saved America by not using a few gallons of gas, thereby saving us from buying one barrol of oil from some other part of the world, great, go for it.

As for me, if you want to stop importing oil, let us drill for the oil we have in our own land. The largest untapped supply of oil in the world, is in our land. We should get it. And when all the oil dries up, your hybrid will be dead on the side of the road with everyone else. Well, not everyone, cause I'll have a diesel, and I'll just fill up with bio-diesel and wave at you when I drive past.

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more misinformation
by cwerdna / May 19, 2007 10:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Good Reply

You can see the gas price averages at It's at $3.157/gal for regular unleaded right now.

As for "most buyers will not get" the tax credit... err, depends on when you bought. I got it... everyone else got the full credit they were entitled (depending on where they were in the phaseout) if they bought between 1/1/06 and now unless they were subject to AMT or they owed too little total tax. Prices have come down now because of the smaller tax credits. (MSRP used to be an ok deal on a Prius whereas it's a bad deal now.)

I'm getting ~45.6 mpg lifetime average in my Prius. There are plenty of people getting in the high 40s and low 50s on Some there can't even fathom how someone could get below 45.

I only brought up the brake replacement cost of my Z since that's the last car I had which needed it. Brakes jobs don't come free. Not having to do them for 100K+ miles adds up to something.

HV battery replacement is more than $400. They must've had something else done. As I said, it's warranted for 10 years/150K miles in CA and the couple other CARB states and 8 years/100K miles for everyone else.

As for the other extras I brought up, it's to prove that you're not comparing apples to apples. Some people have been upset by comparing a Prius to say a Corolla when a Corolla lacks a ton of features. The same goes w/the Focus. It's an apples to oranges comparison.

As for VW, if you don't subscribe to Consumer Reports, look at where they stand at:

The engine isn't the only part of a car.

Also look at where the Prius stands in owner satisfaction.

From "The Toyota Prius ranks as the most satisfying vehicle overall for the fourth straight year, with 92 percent of owners saying they?d get another one. Second place again goes to the Chevrolet Corvette..."

I agree that one person alone driving a Prius is just a drop in the bucket. If a significant # of people drove them, it'd help. The bigger issue is that Americans need to be drive more sensible vehicles for their needs instead of 5000+ lb. monstrosities like Tahoes, Suburbans, and Expeditions. The craziness is reflected at

The claim that "the largest untapped supply of oil in the world, is in our land" is totally untrue. See

Biodiesel is a decent idea in practice, but I doubt there's even close to enough supply to meet demands if even 50% of vehicles could run on it. BTW, if you care about your warranty on a VW TDI, you risk voiding it by running more than B5 (5% biodiesel) from sources meeting petroleum industry standards. They used to state this at but I can't find the new location anymore.

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forgot two things
by cwerdna / May 19, 2007 3:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Good Reply

Since you keep harping on the cost of a Prius vs. a Ford Focus (which doesn't even compare), did you bother looking at Intellichoice's 5-year ownership cost comparison at

Even if the Prius had $0 tax credit (they subtracted out $1573 for the tax credit), their estimated 5-year ownership cost for the Prius $3621 LOWER than a Focus. The biggest reasons are that the Focus holds its value very poorly partly because it's a Ford and because it's popular as a rental car (see The other part is the fuel cost savings of the Prius.

Also, hybrids are NOT tied to a particular fuel source. If ethanol becomes the fuel of choice, there can be hybrids that run on ethanol. Same goes for diesel. There are diesel hybrid buses and Puegot will be releasing a diesel hybrid car

Message was edited by: admin to edit long URL to prevent it from breaking page

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No I did not forget them.
by Andy77e / May 20, 2007 2:53 AM PDT
In reply to: forgot two things

I did not harp on Prius vs. Focus. I was merely using the car the original poster refered to. A better comparison is a smaller weaker car. Like a Civic something similar.

No hybrids are not tied to a specific fuel. And I firmly support Diesels. Diesels in other countries already hit 50 MPG without the need for a hybrid systems. They are much cheaper too. Ethanol is garabage. I don't feel like getting back into that crap right now.

That's interesting because every other source I read, indicates a higher cost of ownership for hybrids. Further, I have read that a focus keeps it's value better because most people don't want to buy a hybrid out of warranty and have that $3000 dallor battery pack go bad. I'm starting to wonder if Intellichoice is baised.

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cite "every other source"
by cwerdna / May 20, 2007 6:05 PM PDT

At Consumer Reports, after they "corrected" their big boo boo about hybrid costs (, they said at (you'll need an online subscription) that w/full tax credit, in 5 years, you'd come out ahead in cost of ownership by $1145 vs. a Corolla. With 50% credit, you'd come out $430 behind and w/o any credit, it'd be $2005 behind.

However, as I'd pointed out before, comparing a Prius to a Corolla (just like to a Focus) is flawed due to the Prius having more interior room and many features Corollas and Focuses don't have.

In the above table, they also claim that maintenance & repair over 5 years is $300 higher for a Prius (seems wrong) and that the 5 year depreciation as a % of purchase price is 1.8% higher than a Corolla (56.9% vs. 55.1%), which also seems bogus since the Prius was rated as having the LEAST depreciation per

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True and I disagree with it
by Andy77e / July 11, 2007 11:27 AM PDT

The fact that with a tax credit you'll come out ahead is true. Problem is, I find this immoral, unfair, and against what America is supposed to stand for.

Why should you not have to pay tax, simply because you bought a more expensive car than I could possibly afford? What happened to equality? Now we have a two tier system where those who do what government dictates, get rewarded? This is not what the founding father intended.

It is simply amazing to see how many people talk about how the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer, yet you turn right around and support the system doing just that. You get the money to buy an expensive Prius, and the government rewards these rich people with a huge tax break, meanwhile I can't afford one, so I'm SOL, pay your taxes. Thanks alot!

In America, we are supposed to be equal. If I have to pay it, you should have to pay it. If you don't, I shouldn't either. Tax credits should not even be in this discussion. This is why in my calculations, I never used the tax credit. It's flat out immoral.

Again, I only compared the Prius to a Focus because that is what the other poster said. However, my post focused (not a pun) on the aspect of "saving money", which is what most people said. Just look at the complaints people have listed about the Prius. It isn't "oh man, my car is emitting more CO2 than they said!", no it's "Hey I'm not saving as much as they said on gas! Where's that 60 MPG!".

Point is, and has been said here on this forum, "I'm going to save money by getting a Prius!". That is what I'm responding to. When I'm talking about saving money, that is all I'm talking about, and I really don't care about what features the car has.

If the goal is saving money, then I'll compare it to a money saving car. If it has 50 less features, who cares, I'm saving money.

But if I want features, then I'll compare it to luxury class cars, and I wager many of those have many more and I wider variety of features. For example, compare it to a Tesla Roadster then. That car has a ton more features, and you don't need gas at all. Of course your not saving money, but the goal is features right?

Again, my point has nothing to do with features. It's a mistake to say "I'll save money" when it won't, and that my friend, is my point.

As for the 5 year cost of ownership, and maintenance, and depreciation... I personally am very weary of buying a used hybrid. If there's many like me, then the value of a used hybrid will fall faster than a non-hybrid. Most of the "cost of ownership" figures I've seen have all been higher for a hybrid. Can't say much about it, but I'll guess there's a reason for that.

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More info on prius vs focus
by macflash411 / May 20, 2007 4:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Good Reply

If you look at the numbers from you can compare the Ford and Prius. First off the Prius has more Luggage Room and Passenger Volume (by just a little bit). Secondly you would emit about double the emissions in the Ford.
Here are some of the millage figures

Fuel to Drive 25 Miles
0.86 gal - Ford
0.45 gal - Prius

Cost of a Fill-up
$39.06 - Ford
$33.20 - Prius

Miles on a Tank
365 miles - Ford
589 miles - Prius

Annual Fuel Cost (based on national average Fuel Cost of 3.10 a Gallon)
$1604 - Ford
$846 - Prius

It may not be as economical to buy a hybrid at this point in time but Toyota is working to cut their next Prius (2009) price a ton and I 100% agree "if you can spend more for a car, in exchange for buying less gas and maybe get a little joy from not polluting as much, then get a hybrid."!!!!

Also i know many prius owners and i have never ever heard anyone get below 30mpg on their prius. The average for all of them is around 40-50. Here is another independent study on fuel economy

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Prius Vs. Ford Focus
by macflash411 / May 20, 2007 3:50 AM PDT
In reply to: I not so sure.

If you look at the numbers from you can compare the Ford and Prius. First off the Prius has more Luggage Room and Passenger Volume (by just a little bit). Secondly you would emit about double the emissions in the Ford.
Here are some of the millage figures

Fuel to Drive 25 Miles
0.86 gal - Ford
0.45 gal - Prius

Cost of a Fill-up
$39.06 - Ford
$33.20 - Prius

Miles on a Tank
365 miles - Ford
589 miles - Prius

Annual Fuel Cost (based on national average Fuel Cost of 3.10 a Gallon)
$1604 - Ford
$846 - Prius

It may not be as economical to buy a hybrid at this point in time but Toyota is working to cut their next Prius (2009) price a ton and I 100% agree "if you can spend more for a car, in exchange for buying less gas and maybe get a little joy from not polluting as much, then get a hybrid."!!!!

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Prius Vs. Ford Focus
by macflash411 / May 20, 2007 3:50 AM PDT
In reply to: I not so sure.

If you look at the numbers from you can compare the Ford and Prius. First off the Prius has more Luggage Room and Passenger Volume (by just a little bit). Secondly you would emit about double the emissions in the Ford.
Here are some of the millage figures

Fuel to Drive 25 Miles
0.86 gal - Ford
0.45 gal - Prius

Cost of a Fill-up
$39.06 - Ford
$33.20 - Prius

Miles on a Tank
365 miles - Ford
589 miles - Prius

Annual Fuel Cost (based on national average Fuel Cost of 3.10 a Gallon)
$1604 - Ford
$846 - Prius

It may not be as economical to buy a hybrid at this point in time but Toyota is working to cut their next Prius (2009) price a ton and I 100% agree "if you can spend more for a car, in exchange for buying less gas and maybe get a little joy from not polluting as much, then get a hybrid."!!!!

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Please do not post the same thing 3 times
by Andy77e / May 20, 2007 11:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Prius Vs. Ford Focus

That said, anything to do with .gov is questionable to me. You really trust government that much? Lawyers and Politians (many of which are lawyers) are completely trustworthy, right?

Better sources please. Just looking at the numbers given, something doesn't add up.

At 44 MPG, at 12000 miles a year, a Prius would cost about $846. Ok I'll buy that.

But at 28 MPG at 12000 miles a year, a Focus would cost about $1328. So where did you get this $1604 garabage? Further, 28 MPG is the worst it's supposed to get. It's rated at 37 MPG on the highway. In other words, your blowing hot air whether you mean to or not.

But, hey, if you like to spend tons of money to save a little money, and feel like your "saving the planet" then go fot it. You will not see me in one, unless like you say Toyota drastically reduces it's prices. Of course I'm betting a new TDI diesel will still make a better choice.

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28 mpg is not the worst case for a Focus
by cwerdna / May 20, 2007 1:25 PM PDT

Have you ever bothered looking at HOW the EPA tests are conducted? Probably not. See , and The only two tests that are used in determining the # that goes on the window sticker for MY 2007 and earlier are the city and highway test (after a downward adjustment of 10% and 22% respectively).

Per , Consumer Reports got 20 city, 35 highway, 28 combined on a 06 ZX3 hatch 2.0L engine w/5-speed manual. Per , they got 17 city, 33 highway, 24 combined on an 02 ZX5 hatchback w/2.0L 4 and 4 speed auto. From , they got 17 city, 32 highway, 24 combined on an 05 ZX4 sedan w/2.0L 4 and 4 speed auto.

As I noted before, when they tested the Prius (see, they got 35 city, 50 highway, 44 combined.

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costs of vehicles
by batman823 / July 18, 2007 10:27 PM PDT
In reply to: I not so sure.

You make a good point about the difference in mileage and cost. Also, you make a good point about hybrids not getting the EPA mileage ratings. But the same is true for every car. Mine is rated 28/35. At worst, with all city driving in the winter with 10-20min warm-ups, I've never gotten below 23mpg on a fill-up. Yes, I do calculate my mileage every time I fill up. Most of the time, I average about 30-33mpg. The focus probably does around the same.

As far as NiHM batteries, I can just tell you what the manufacturers' say, and a little of my own experience with small cells. They are better for the environment, in production and disposal, and that they have a better charge efficiency for the same capacity of a lead-acid battery. Also, for the same size of battery, they have a bigger capacity, quicker recharge rates and get more charges before they go bad.
I cannot say anything about the difference in durability between the two or the cost in the bigger batteries.

The VW TDI isn't allowed in america because it doesn't test well enough on emissions. But as I've said before, we test emissions by volume, not by mile. The VW TDI is a diesel so the emissions standards should be different anyway, but maybe we'll see it in the market soon enough.

Gas prices will continue to rise, but there may be small and short-lived drops in price like you refer to. But just like the stocks, after the ups and downs, the price slowly but surely goes up over time.

A person with enough money to spare to buy a hybrid will probably not buy the Focus, Lancer, or Sentra. If they choose not to buy the Hybrid, it's because of the same reasons you present. They're not as powerful or as much fun to drive as the Couger, Charger or SUV. But if they want to 'save the world' then, maybe they'll go out and buy something efficient.

You're absolutely correct when you advise people not to buy a hybrid. The reason they don't get the EPA mileage rating is because of the way people drive. Basically, when you are running at a constant speed for somewhat extended times, the engine shuts off and the electric motor takes over. But when real people drive in the manner we do, in the city in particular, the gas engine is running all the time because of all the stop-and-go with the pedal to the floor. To get that hybrid to act as it's designed to, you have to be easy on the gas and accept the fact that you can't accelerate as fast as other cars, but people simply don't.
Also, the batteries are terribly expensive to replace because they are new technology and they won't last that 10 or 20 years that would be required for you to save a significant amount of money.

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by Andy77e / July 23, 2007 5:32 PM PDT
In reply to: costs of vehicles

Let me make something clear. I am not advising anyone to "not buy a hybrid". I am in favor of people buying whatever car they want. If you want a hybrid, be all means, purchase a hybrid.

However, as for me, I will not be doing so for a number of reason. One reason is because it is not cost effective. I have cut the numbers myself, a dozen different ways and I never come out ahead buying a hybrid. I have no reason to fudge the numbers. If the number actually came out ahead, I'd want a hybrid to save money. But.. you don't.

There's only one way you come out ahead money wise, when buying a hybrid. That's if you get a tax break for it. But again, I have a huge issue with that. Why should anyone be allowed to pay less taxes just because they have the money to buy an expensive car? That's morally wrong.

Anyway. Not everyone is keenly interested in saving money. Some people really just don't like buying gas, and are willing to lose money in the long run to not buy gas. That's their deal, and more power to them. So please don't suggest I'm against hybrids. I'm for people buying the car of their choice whatever it may be.

The main problem I have is when people start make insane claims about the car, that are simply not true.

Maybe gas prices will rise, and maybe not. They are still falling here, so who knows. I'd suggest the only reason why they'll continue to rise is because of certain Americans who vote in ways that increase taxes on poor people, but I'm not getting into that here.

As for the VW TDI, it was sold in the US for quite a few years. I've seen a dozen of them now. The new ones should be coming out this year, according to the last statement I read from VW. I think a national move to diesel would have more positive effects than negative. I can't see why this isn't done. Diesels last longer, have few parts, cheaper to build, get better mileage, I really can't see the down side.

I still think the GMs Volt shows the most promise. Hopefully it will be half as good as documentation suggests.

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changing stance? why does it have to be only about saving $
by cwerdna / July 23, 2007 5:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Whao...

Well, many of your earlier posts at least implicitly implied people shouldn't buy hybrids via incorrect assertions and FUD on topics such as lead acid batteries and ni-cads (hybrids don't use them for their traction battery), recycling, global warming being called BS from a questionable source (seemingly funded by big oil), incorrect statements regarding atmospheric CO2 levels and taking a "Tahoe and I know I'm not killing the planet."

You also choose to conveniently ignore other pollutants.

As for tax credits, well, it's going away on all Toyota/Lexus hybrids on 10/1/07 unless something changes (per,,id=157557,00.html). What's wrong w/encouraging people to use less foreign oil and a non-renewable resource, putting less CO2 and pollutants into the air and recapturing otherwise wasted energy? This has helped stimulate demand, drive costs down (via competition and economies of scale) and will only have further benefits down the road as the cost of these systems comes down. You've refused to believe other people's studies that hybrids can save money.

People are willing to pay for features like V8 engines, sunroofs and 18" wheels. How much $ did these save you? You'll never see anyone say that a V8 engine saved you $. Buying a vehicle w/a hybrid system is a feature in itself and as I said. See above for benefits.

We've sent people to war over oil. A lot of oil comes from unstable regions and countries that don't like us very much. OPEC is just playing the world like a fiddle.

I agree about insane claims. My biggest pet peeve is misinformation and the spread of it.

As for diesel, the big problem is that even they so called "clean diesels" w/much hyped systems like "Bluetec" are still dirty and much dirtier than many non-hybrids (esp. PZEV rated vehicles).

It also irks me that it has to be so much of a diesel vs. hybrid debate. As I stated before, hybrids are NOT tied to gasoline or one fuel source. Diesel hybrids exist, just not in the form is passenger cars available to consumers in the US, yet.

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Let me re-state, I was agreeing
by batman823 / July 24, 2007 12:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Whao...

I was actually agreeing with some of your reasons for not getting a Hybrid. As of now, the batteries are very delicate and expensive to repair. Even under perfect circumstances, they wouldn't last long enough to be a true benefit from a monetary perspective. As far as other reasons, there are many to buy one and many not to.

But I do agree with cwerdna that money isn't the only driving force when people buy cars. Status symbols are by far the number one in this area. But for me it was money and my back injury. I wanted to trade in the Jeep I drove for a car that got better gas mileage. But I needed to have a loose suspension because of the ruptured discs.

I've noticed that gas prices are dropping slowly in the Providence, RI area but they are pretty steady in my area. My neurosurgeon is in Providence but I live in Groton, CT. BTW I'm having a disc replacement and a fusion in mid-August.

The TDI that you would see in europe is not the same as you see here. It's a lupo-diesel that supposedly gets 60/80mpg with higher horse-power(Euro - 130-150hp American - 90hp), I'm told by my office VW enthusiast. But the american TDI is a 4-cyl diesel that gets something aroung 40-50mpg. I am not sure about the american versions mileage, so if you know otherwise please correct me.

I agree about the a move to diesel. They are typically more efficient on fuel and diesel requires less refinement. Plus diesel engines don't have to be run off of commercial fuel. But while more efficient, they have much more particulate and carbon emissions than their gasoline counterparts. There are ways to reduce these emissions and I think they should be integrated into our diesel systems.

But all-in-all, I still believe that we should have our choice in vehicles. But as with acohal and tobacco, (sin taxes) there should be taxes discouraging people from making choices that are bad for the environment and from buying vehicles that are less efficient. Just as there are tax benefits for buying hybrids.

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