Switch from 30 MPG Car to 60 MPG car?

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Consumerism Commentary has an article about the $10,000 hybrids that Honda is planning to roll out in 2007 and wonders aloud if it’s worth it to switch from a 2004 clunker getting 30 miles per gallon to a sleek 2007 clunker getting 60 or 70 miles per gallon. It depends.

At $2.50 a gallon, a 30 mpg car pays 8.3 cents per mile driven. If you consider that the average car drives approximately 12,000 miles a year, that puts the total gasoline price at $1,000 a year. For a 60 mpg car, the total cost of gasoline is $500, a difference of $500 (not $1,000 as I erroneously wrote here before) So at $2.50/gal, the car would pay for itself (initial cost, not including taxes, titles, etc.) in twenty years. At $5/gal gasoline, that’s in ten years.

So is it worth the change? Probably, but it depends in part on how much you would “lose” if you sold the car in 2007 and bought the $10k hybrid. It also depends on whether the hybrid tax breaks are still around by the time these cars roll off the factory floor. You can also add in all sorts of other financial calculations like the interest earned on money not spent on gas, etc. but if a $10k hybrid car exist that performed well enough (I’ve never driven or rode in a hybrid car) then I’d switch in a heartbeat.

[Edited because my math skills are weak, must be all those MBA classes I’ve been sitting through.]

{ 8 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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8 Responses to “Switch from 30 MPG Car to 60 MPG car?”

  1. Eric says:

    The advertised mileage of new cars is sort of useful for comparison shopping but it’s notoriously inaccurate. Anyone considering a hybrid just for gas savings should check out what kind of mpg actual owners are getting. Here’s some information from Consumer Reports:

  2. jim says:

    The EPA also announced that they were going to overhaul how they calculated fuel economy ratings of cars and trucks which would reduce the numbers 5-30%.

    more info

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gas would be $500/year with the hybrid (at $2.50/gallon, 12000miles/year), so a savings of $500/year, not $1000/year.

  4. Flexo says:

    I don’t think Consumer Reports is quite ready to let us know what kind of mileage the 2007 cars get. It’s a hypothetical, future number compared to an actual (real) number.

  5. Anonymous says:

    On the other hand, do you think that this new hybird is a viable option if your current clunker goes caput in 2007?

  6. Flexo says:

    Well I sure hope my 2004 Honda Civic doesn’t go kaput in 2007, but if the technology was good… well.. I’d probably wait until 2008 so the cars have been on the road for a while and have been tested… if possible. But in an emergency, I’ll probably go with a hybrid. I think for me, it depends on how far they go without being recharged and whether I’m commuting.

  7. Cap says:

    yeah I seriously doubt they’ll hit 60 or 70 unless you’re driving 30 mph all the time.. another good site for MPG is from EPA’s silly site

    I know they’re going to change the testing method for the MPG rating, but I forgot when the new ratings will kick in.

    I can get about 36 mpg highway if I drive my 2001 Civic carefully. I’m pretty sure Flexo’s 04 Civic will be fine for another couple decades. Even the silly fuel gauge problem has been fixed in the 04 models, I think.

  8. sasi says:

    I don’t know whether you people know about it or not. But thought it is worth to share here.

    On June 1998 HONDA extended their emission warranty to 14 years or 150,000 miles for HONDA’s up to 1997 (1995, 1996 and 1997) model. At that time HONDA has agreed to the EPA’s demand that it provide a full engine check and emissions-related repairs at 50,000 to 75,000 miles and give free tune-ups at 75,000 to 150,000 miles.

    You can read about it by clicking link below:

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