Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The "hybrids are expensive" scam...

Several times over the last few months, CNN along with other prominent news outlets, reporting on the insanely high gas prices around the country, have had the nerve to suggest that hybrid automobiles are not the solution to the problem because of their "high cost." Excuse me?

Here's what I'm talking about:

"We've selected five [autos]-- a luxury car, family sedan, sports car, crossover SUV and a subcompact -- that are smart buys and easy on fuel. For each category, we've also mentioned two alternatives. None of the top cars are hybrids. That's because, with their added cost, hybrids aren't really a good value from a purely economic standpoint." - from CNN.com 05/09/06, article here.

And another...

"You might want to consider a gas-electric hybrid vehicle. If you do, you should make that choice for reasons other than saving money. A hybrid car or SUV will burn considerably less fuel than a non-hybrid version. It shuts down its gasoline engine whenever it stops, making it quieter and more relaxing to drive in city traffic. However, according to various calculations, hybrid cars are not cost effective, on a purely financial basis, because they add more in cost than they save in fuel, even when factoring in federal tax credits." - from CNN.com 05/08/06, article here.

Just two examples. You'll find this rhetoric all over the place. The second one is from an article entitled: "How to shop for a fuel-efficient car" so the presumption is you're buying a new car, not looking for a used car or ways to enhance the mileage on your existing car.

OK. Am I missing something? According to various calculations, a car that uses less gas IS more fuel efficient. Period. According to Edmunds.com the MSRP on a new Prius is $21,725. What extra cost? Last I checked, that's a good price for a new car. Toss in tax credits, never having to pay at meters (in certain cities) and it seems that a hybrid is an excellent idea to help beat the pump.

In other words: Are you buying a new car? Want to save on gas? Get a hybrid. Simple. No fuzzy math, no mysterious calculations. Meanwhile, CNN is brazenly pushing cars that cost well over $50K as cost effective, fuel efficient cars. Doth thou smell a rat?

AND, they keep repeating this nonsense in the hopes that people will buy into it. I've sent two strong letters to CNN calling out this glossy falsehood, and I've asked them for an explanation. So far nothing. Could it be that CNN and other news outlets have some vested interest in downplaying the role of hybrid vehicles in solving this oil crisis? Can someone please explain to me WTF is going on?

I don't drive a hybrid. I work at home and use my car sparingly. But if I were going to buy a new car you can bet it ain't going to be a $50k+ diesel Mercedes E320. That's the car CNN wants me to buy to save money and the environment. Of course, they are kind enough to include this disclaimer - "Unfortunately, due to environmental regulations, the diesel E320 is not available in all 50 states."

This just in: According to various calculations owning a second Hummer is a great way to save on fuel. If you drive alternating Hummers each day, you'll use half as much gas per week in each car! It must be true - Anderson Cooper told me so.


Blogger pigatschmo said...

I'm glad you've pointed out this conspiracy. There's no question the establishment is trying very hard to discredit the new technology. They also scowled at the horseless carriage when it first came out.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually you should do some research on this subject,
the cost of the hybrids is much more than a normal car, i think it would take 10-15 years to get back the money you 'save' by using the hybrid
don't get me wrong, i'm all into the idea hybrids but right now their cost outweighs the tax benefits

1:12 PM  
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7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the whole picture you will see that all hybrids actually consume more barrels of oil over their life than any traditional vehicle. The hidden costs (in barrels of oil consumed), are from the batteries. Our focus should be on burning less fossil fuels, not $ spent.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cost of a hybrid is about 7,000 more than a regular vehicle of the same type. You end up saving about $350 a year, however at that rate it would take almost 20 years to cover the 7,000 incremental cost of the hybrid. Its not as simple as saying using less gas saves money as you suggest,you have to do the math.

7:45 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

A hybrid is about 7,200 more expensive than a standard vehicle, and saves you about 350 a year. At that rate it would take close to 20 years to break even on the incremental cost. The math is not wrong.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The batteries are heavily subsidized as well, as was their development in the first place. Hybrid cars use more resources, not less.

3:26 PM  
Blogger josvazg said...

Hybrids cannot be cheaper than traditional cars, their costs are higher because they have ALL the stuff a normal car has, plus all the "hybrid addons" (=electric stuff plus hybrid stuff).

It's true that costs DON't drive prices but prices drive costs, but it is also true that in competition prices go down and when you are below costs you cannot survive long there as a viable bussiness, so costs also matter.

Pure Electric cars are the way to go. There is NO problem with electric engines Tesla cars get from 0-60mph in less than 4sec with an engine much smaller than a normal fuel car. The problem is you need batteries that make the same amount of "Miles Per Gallon of Battery Size".

Hybrids might be the help electric cars need to convert today's petrol stations into electric recharge and battery swapping stations. But for that they should consume a lot less petrol so they are economically as compelling or more than traditional cars. it doesn't seem to be the case as of now.

Once there are enough recharging-bat-swapping stations out there, hybrids will disappear as the limited-life-span technology they are.

8:05 AM  
Blogger josvazg said...

Todays hybrids are basically traditional cars with a second electric motor and a rechargable battery for slow speeds and a way to charge the battery with the fuel motor. MPGs are just 2 o 3 times better that the traditional cards, given the added tag price, that it NOT impressive.

We may have to wait for a second generation of Hybrids that might be more promising. Perhaps pure electric card (like the Testla Motors ones) but with a small fuel motor to recharge the battery 'on the run', but not to move the car.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an idiot.

Hybrid vehicles cost considerably more than a non-hybrid vehicles. The benefit realized by lower fuel consumption in hybrid vehicles is not compelling enough to justify the added up front cost of purchasing a hybrids.

Would you pay $4,000 extra for a hybrid vehicle if it saved $300 per year in fuel? If you answered 'yes', then you are, as I stated earlier, an idiot.

3:01 PM  

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