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Don’t Believe the Hybrid Hype!

It’s rare to see an article putting down hybrid vehicles in this day of $3+ per gallon gasoline but I just read one today by a CNN/Money staff writer by the name of Peter Valdes-Dapena. The article, titled Hybrids: Don’t buy the hype [3], takes considers total cost of ownership [4], something that I and many other bloggers have mentioned, in addition to straight fuel consumption. While you will consume less gasoline with a hybrid, the total cost of ownership difference between a traditional and a hybrid vehicle is too large. Besides the attention grabbing hype-ish title, the article doesn’t really put forth a terribly strong defense for his argument.

He compares the traditional Honda Accord against its hybrid fraternal twin and discovers that given an annual mileage of 15k, the price of gas would have to be $9.20/gal for it to be worth it. He put forth probably the biggest difference first because he then goes on to say if you went with a Ford Escape, the average price would have to be $5.60/gal. Then he goes on to say the Prius could be an exception and, given tax deductions for hybrids [5], you might save some money if you buy it.

Personally, if I had the money when an unobservant driver totaled my car last year, I would’ve bought a hybrid sedan. The average lifespan of a Prius on the lot of a dealership is twenty hours. The hybrid technology is also much better in these generations than in the first few so you aren’t paying for Toyota’s learning curve. Finally, with most pundits stating the United States has a ridiculously strong addiction to petroleum it would be nice to show I’m willing to put down the bottle and do my part to lower our reliance on the black gold.