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How much would the Batmobile cost?

Bruce Wayne's taste in cars has varied quite a bit over the years, from a simple Studebaker to an extravagant supercar.

This real-world Batmobile could run you more than many of the versions driven by Bruce Wayne himself. Casey Putsch

A Prius is great on gas mileage, but sometimes saving your city from a megalomaniacal super villain takes priority over saving the planet--at least I presume that's the ethical calculus Bruce Wayne must have done when he opted to lay down some serious green for the Batmobile.

But just how big of a bank account or estate do you need to drive home in the pinnacle of fantasy supercar/weapons on wheels?

That kind of question sounds like a party to the number-crunching superfan Lehigh University economics students who blog at Centives--you know, the same aspiring pop-culture economists who gave us an estimate for building a real Death Star.

They got together and pored over the list of vehicles that have served as the base model for the Batmobile in various comics, movies, games, and other media forms over the last century. It's a very lengthy list that includes everything from the original Batmobile based on a 1936 Cord 812, to a 1955 Lincoln Futura or the more modern Lamborghini Murcielago.

The students then ran the numbers on all the commercially available vehicles ever driven by Mr. Wayne and found they carried an average price of $214,700 when adjusted for inflation.

Over the years, there's been a huge range of costs associated with the basic Batmobile--the cheapest version was a 1950s Studebaker that would have only cost $13,604 in today's dollars, and the most expensive is a $1.8 million modified Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to calculate how much Wayne Enterprises would have to drop on all that research and development and modification that goes into making the final crime-fighting version of the Batmobile that actually makes it into the storylines.

But we do have one real-world example of a Batmobile with an actual price tag. Last year, Putsch Racing put its turbine-powered Batmobile replica up for sale on eBay with a price of $620,000.

Sounds great for aspiring superheroes with Wayne-esque financial backing, but the rest of us wannabes will continue looking for old black Studebakers.