By on April 6, 2012

Two years after the Volkswagen Golf was launched, it received a fuel sipping diesel in 1976. I presented the launch campaign in Wolfsburg, and the ground shook. It wasn’t because of my campaign. It was because of the body stamping presses. The offices of the Zentrale Absatzförderung, VW’s advertising department, were two floors above.

I presented a campaign that was all on savings. The Golf D had one of the, if not the best mileage of all compacts. Herr Plamböck, the gentleman who had to vet the campaigns before the big boss would see them, looked at my grand savings plan, and said: “Let’s have lunch.”

Over a Currywurst, Hartmut Plamböck said: “Bertel, did you check the added cost of that engine?” I forgot how much it was, but it was a lot. “You will have to drive 80,000 kilometers to get your money back!” Mr. Plamböck thundered. The plastic forks jumped as Plamböck pounded the table. He looked around, lowered his voice and added: “And then, the engine will fall out of the car.” At that time, Volkswagens had a bit of a corrosion problem.

I was reminded of that story when I came across a story in the New York Times that provides a sanity check on savings at all costs. Rarely does one recoup the added investment into fuel savings. Little has changed since my Wolfsburg Waterloo. Fuel savings come at a price, and you have to decide whether you pay at the pump or to the dealer. Paying at the pump makes more economic sense, but more often than not, emotions trump math.

One of the worst investments, says the New York Times story that uses data compiled by TrueCar, is the Chevrolet Volt. Says the Times:

“The Volt, which costs nearly $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, could take up to 27 years to pay off versus a Chevrolet Cruze, assuming it was regularly driven farther than its battery-only range allows. The payback time could drop to about eight years if gas cost $5 a gallon and the driver remained exclusively on battery power.”

Mind you, the 27 year payback time is based on the TrueCar calculated $31,767 price of the Volt. Without the generous government rebate, financed by your tax dollars, the Volt would still be upside down long after it landed in a museum. At full retail, it would take 45 years to get you your money back. Payback is a bitch.

Driven fully on battery power, the Volt would needlessly drag around its heavy range extender machinery, but at least it would compete with Nissan’s LEAF in the ROI race. The Leaf takes 8.7 years to recoup the investment.

According to the study, “eco” upgrades usually are not worth the money. A Ford Fiesta SFE saves you $23 a year at the pump and on average. With these meager savings, the Fiesta actually beats the Volt in the senseless savings discipline. It would take 26.8 years to get you your money back.

As long as fuel saving cars carry huge premiums, you need to pray for higher gas prices, and you need to pray a lot. A survey by Lundberg says that gas prices need to go to $12.50 a gallon for the Volt to break even. The Leaf would be competitive with gas at $8.53 a gallon.

Are there savings that make sense?

If you really want to reconcile eco and economics, the sixth generation descendant of the Golf Diesel, the Jetta TDI,  would recoup the added money before the warranty is up, says the Times. So do the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Not only is their mileage much better than the comparison model, their price premium is so low that it can be easily recouped. As Toyota’s Satoshi Ogiso demonstrated a few months ago,  savings at no added costs are the true engineering achievement.

(Hat tip to my man in the mountains.)

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120 Comments on “The Exorbitant Cost Of Savings: Don’t Buy A Volt If You Value Your Money...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    As noted, in many cases the psychology behind these kinds of purchases cannot be reduced to a single metric. Interesting nonetheless.

    Is the Camry really the best parallel to the Prius?

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      That was my question as well. Since the has a hatchback it helps it meet the interior room req’ts (115.3 cu feet) to be classified as a large car but a large car it is not. If you sit in a Camry (118.3 cu feet) it is much roomier b/c that volume is almost all available to the occupants. The Prius is actually smaller than the Corolla (104 cu feet). I think the moral of the story here is that people think the Prius is a big car like a Camry b/c of a single statistic which is skewed b/c the Prius is a hatch and the Camry a sedan. Now due to this inappropriate comparison it makes the Prius a smaller car with a hatch compare to a much larger car with a gas engine skewing its results above. To be fair the Corolla should be its gas only measuring stick.

      Prius Exterior Dimensions
      Width: 68.7 in.
      Height: 58.7 in.
      Length: 175.6 in.

      Camry Exterior Dimensions
      Width: 71.7 in.
      Height: 57.9 in.
      Length: 189.2 in.

      Corolla Ext Dim
      Width: 69.4 in.
      Height: 57.7 in.
      Length: 180.0 in.

      The Civic Hybrid is the laughing stock of Hybrids. Its hybrid system is less efficient but as expensive as its more efficient rivals – it’s basis car is very efficient making it a poor decision why they even sell it. Selling 1,500 cars a month cannot justify the tooling and design needed for such a niche vehicle. Honda – just give up already on hybrids.

      • 0 avatar
        Bunter1

        Can’t speak for others but I ride in the interior of a car.
        That is what affects my comfort. I have compared the leg room, head room ect. of the Prius and it really fits better in the midsize category.
        The prius has a more compact drivetrain area, the design does not need to accomodate a V-6 option.

        The Camry is the closest equivalent IMHO. (I do not own any hybrid).

        Cheerio,

        Bunter

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        You maybe have a point as the Camry does have an optional v6 – and Toyota can possibly provide similar interior space and move the cab forward a little more. However, I still disagree. The width on both cars is quite different (3″ to be exact) – which equates to a lot of side room in a car. Can 3 adults sit side by side in the back of a Prius as comfortably as a Camry? The way I see it is the Camry is a large mid size car and the Prius is a small car with a hatchback bumping it up a class.

        Another angle. Mid size cars – Toyota has the Camry but also a Camry hybrid. Small cars – Toyota has the Corolla but no hybrid equivalent unless you count the Prius which is even smaller in exterior dimensions (just skewed on interior b/c of hatchback). Compact cars – Toyota has the Yaris and Prius C.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        The closest non-hybrid Toyota to compare with the Prius is the Matrix (i.e., Corolla wagon).

        The problem with comparing interior room is that Toyota did an exceptional job in packaging the Prius. For a car that’s not that large on the outside, there’s a lot of interior room (the Honda Fit is another example).

        So, even though the Camry is a larger car, the difference in interior space between the two might not be that dramatic.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        I could agree that the Matrix is the closest model to the Prius – makes sense as it is a wagon / hatch. And this really increases the Prius’ time to breakeven by several years as the Matrix costs $18,845 and gets 26 city / 32 hwy. Good idea for TTAC to really ruffle feathers is to look into time to break even for the various hybrids versus diesels and not look at face value and compare the hybrids to their true corporate counterpart.

  • avatar

    I learned this lesson some years ago when I changed a Palio 1.6 for a Palio 1.0 flex fuel. At the time price of ethanol was much lower and I went for the ‘savings’. Long story short, everybody else was doing the same so the sugarcane growers took the opportunity to stick it to everybody and prices went up! Put ethanol in it for about 8 months before it became uneconomical to do so. The sugarcane growers took my money and ran (as did the banks etc.).

    Lesson learned

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      That’s life, Marcelo. When Chargex came out 45 years ago, its usage was free. Ditto for ATM usage at the bank. Now, you pay for every use with most credit cards, and unless you read every scrap that comes from your bank(s) you never know what new horrors are hidden in the fine print.
      Just wait until electric vehicles start counting for something: just what will the government do if gasoline consumption drops? Ontario collected $2.6B in gasoline taxes in 2010, but only poured $2B back into roads and traffic. I’ve heard Quebec has already slapped a special tax on electric vehicles to compensate for future losses of gasoline tax revenue.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    abso-fing-lutely. it is sad that we need a NYT article to point this out – the math is simple.
    BUT, even the table above has funny numbers. You can buy a new Camry for $19K but not Prius. So realistically you’re looking at around 4-6 years to recoup depending on mileage and gas prices. Jetta at 24K? Nah, you can get one for $18K. TDI’s premium rarely makes sense.
    And if we are following sticker prices, let’s apply sticker price for the battery replacements. That’s not going to look good for hybrids.
    We started shopping for Prius but may just end up with regular Camry purely based on this math. Still have to drive both however.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I think the new mini-prius is around $18k-$19k.

      Wondering if it’s worth it for mostly highway driving but I’m leaning towards “no”.

      I also wonder if a (much more fun) mazda3 w/ skyactive + 6 speed would actually use that much more gas in highway driving (300m/week, weekdays + 50-100 miles/week on weekends) that the cheap prius…

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        Prius C is pretty small in person, like Yaris small, and in practice it starts from $22K or so.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Hybirds are the best option for highway driving or long distance commuting in colder climates. The advantages of a hybrid is when using the brakes to recharge the battery along with battwery usage in warmer climates.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Sticker price for battery replacements? Sure, if that’s the case, let’s apply sticker price for transmissions, brakes, head gasket repairs, etc. Toyota warrants the battery and hybrid system in its hybrid vehicles for 150,000 miles. Hyundai offers lifetime warranties on their batteries, citing battery failures as a non-issue. When was the last time you saw such warranties on a traditional car?

      BTW – Most current hybrid batteries aren’t that expensive – they cost no more than transmissions, and are similarly readily available used for about half the cost.

      Hybrids are far from perfect, but the whole “Yeah, well what happens when your battery dies, huh? Sucker!” mentality really has to go. I’d expect that over on jalopnik, but I’d like to think that the B&B over here are generally more knowledgable about cars, hybrid or not.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        They would be but once the conversation turns to anything that can be politicized (car-hybrid-fuel-government-regulation-environment) the logic flies out of people’s heads, much like it does when trading a car just to get a more efficient model. I have known some intelligent people that simply ignore the dollars lost in depreciation costs when the dump their car to save 5 MPG.

        That said, there is really nothing wrong with spending extra on economy features with poor simple payback if the saving of fuel has value to you beyond the cost of filling your tank. I would buy another hybrid to commute if this one was stolen, even though my payback is about 3.5 years at my rate of use. But I am not deluding myself thinking that there are thousands to be saved. But buying less non renewable fuel from people that hate us has value to me.

        Regarding battery replacement, I know of only one person that had a hybrid battery pack go bad. And that was covered under warranty. All the data to date seems to indicate that they wll routinely last 150K or more…

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        No political inclinations here. TTAC is all I read on any kind of regular basis, and since Derek prefer discussing housewifes and not the car innards, then that’s all I know!

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I agree. I’ve seen the exact same mentality at work–the car enthusiasts there know absolutely nothing about any ‘alternative’ technologies. They still think that batteries cost $7k and that they will wear out every three years.

        I attribute it to the mindset of being interested in one thing, such as going fast, and simply ignoring anything that is unrelated.

  • avatar
    Herm

    If you compare a $12k Versa to a VW TDI I doubt there is ever a payback, and yet both cars have 4 wheels!

    Compare a Volt to another $31k compact and a Leaf to another $24k midsized family hatchback to get a better idea. Its unlikely the Volt will ever need a replacement battery, and the one in the Leaf should be good for 10-15 years or so, with range decreasing steadily. Life will depend how deeply you cycle the battery daily.. if you can keep it to about 53 miles per cycle you should be good for 10-15 years.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    The comparison is valid except that some car buyers may be trading their own guzzler for one of these eco models. In these cases, a person knows their monthly car budget, and may opt for the better mileage option. If you were getting out of your SUV, why not choose the eco Cruze? Your monthly nut would go down right away. Also, the Volt and Leaf owner are insured against short term spikes in gas prices in cases of global disruption. How do you value that, Mrs Grey Lady?

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Agreed – should the Strait of Hormuz be cut off, I know what I’d rather be driving…
      Saw my first Volt drive by yesterday – silently making its way past my favorite tavern at about 35MPH. Not much of a looker, but (to those who know) its beauty is on the *inside*. Saw a Leaf go by a couple of weeks before that – same sentiment as to the looks. Regardless, kudos to the early adopters.

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        I saw my first volt yesterday as well. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I got close….and then I was rather surprised. It was in front of me. About 6 weeks ago I saw my first leaf and I think it’s a much better looking car (and infinately more impractical).

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think the case can be argued for the TDI and Prius. My 04 Prius was the best car I have ever owned. Didn’t like the original Rabbit Diesel. Audi 5000 diesel was a great car except the engine was pretty much shot at 100K. Prius batteries have been lasting over 225K according to the reports I have read. Don’t know if the Prius body would last much longer than that without complete interior replacement. At that mileage the car has well paid for its’ cost. I have concerns about VW’s long term reliability based upon past experiences. Not worried about Toyota. Maintenance cost on Prius are relatively almost non existent. First service is 120K and it is not that expensive. Brakes were projected to last 200K.

    • 0 avatar
      Sundowner

      I Call shennanigans. The TDI option on VW’s is WAY more than the $426 premium noted. I believe it’s more like $1300-$5000 dependng on the model.
      Generally accepted convention, even on the TDI boards, is that at 12k-15k miles per year, you’ll be lucky to get you money back in 3-5 years, not 1.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Yeah if you get apples to apples in features, it’s a $2000 premium. The online configurator says that the base TDI is equivalent to the “SE with Convenience,” save for the engine and wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Audi 5000 diesel a great car? Have you owned one? I did . . . for 7 years, purchased new. The body, the interior and the seats were great. The mechanical stuff — not so great. Very odd things went wrong with that car: the heater core failed, the boot on the steering rack failed, draining out all of the hydraulic fluid and requiring a complete replacement, the manual transmission after a while would not stay in reverse gear, except when you held the lever; there was some sort of master fuse in the a/c system that failed each winter and had to be replaced every spring; and the rear light assembly used aluminum tabs to make electrical connections. of course, the aluminum oxidized about every 6 months, causing the connections to fail . . . so standard maintenance was to use superfine emery paper to polish the contacts every 6 months.

      Oh, the engine. Head gasket failed after 60K miles, with no other abuse or failure on the car (no overheating or anything like that). Even when working correctly, the car’s absolute top speed was 67 mph on level ground; and the car would not maintain 60 mph on rolling country. And, of course, I had to install a push button switch to turn off the a/c compressor at full throttle.

      It did get about 30-35 mpg, however.

      I bought the car because the “experts” were saying in 1980 that the price of oil would be $100/bbl. by 1984.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Does this model assume fuel prices will be flat for the duration of the “break-even” period? Because I think that would be pretty naive.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      When I bought my car in ’01, gas had just spiked all the way to $1.75. People were outraged; there was chaos in the streets; they were buying New Beetle TDIs at over sticker.

      Eleven years later, we shrug at gas twice as expensive. I fully expect that 11 years from now, it will be the same with $4 gas. It would be interesting to redo the above table with $5 or even $6 gas and see what difference that makes.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      Sure, it’s silly to say that fuel prices will stay the same – they clearly fluctuate from day to day and month to month. You have to pick *something* to use though for an expected payback calculation.

      Historically gas prices have largely fluctuated within a range of $2-3/gallon, when adjusted for inflation. We’re slightly above that now, as we were in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
      http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/gasoline_inflation.asp

      The salient question is whether the crude oil market is headed for another collapse (as in the mid 1980s and late 2000s) or whether we’re seeing new market behavior.

      I’d like to see payback calculated for the three following scenarios:

      * gas resettling at a lower price (say $2.50) adjusted for future inflation (historically, 4%), averaged over the payback period
      * gas remaining at its current price, adjusted for future inflation
      * gas increasing slightly faster than inflation

      These three scenarios would give radically different answers, and perhaps more complete coverage opposes clarity, even if the “clear” answer presented is likely to be significantly inaccurate.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The Cruze versus Cruze Eco comparison isn’t quite right. The Cruze LS which is the only model that comes with the 1.8L is about $2,500 less expensive than the Eco. If you drive 12,500 miles a year with about 55% of your driving in town then you’ll save about $200 a year with the Eco (auto trans). Hence, it would take about 12 years to recoup your investment. That’s if the Eco’s shutter grill doesn’t break in that timeframe and you continue to buy the (expensive?) low-rolling resistance tires that probably contribute the most to these “Eco” and “SFE” versions. Oh, and hopefully you don’t have to replace the turbo in that 12 year timeframe either. Ouch.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      On the other hand, the “eco” version is the only one that has a turbocharger and a manual transmission. Take off those rock-hard tires and put on some nice summer-only rubber, maybe an ECU flash, and you’ve got a pretty neat car. The whole exercise is reminiscent of Ford telling everyone that “Eco” means twin-turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        Mrb00st

        Actually availability changed for 2012- you can get the 6-speed manual and 1.4L Turbo combination in 1LT (cloth) and 2LT (leather and other goodies) Cruzes now, as well as the Eco and LS base model.

        1LT manual: $18,555, 26/38/32
        Eco Manual: $19,325, 28/42/35

        Let’s assume 15,000 miles per year at $3.85/gal like the chart

        1LT: $1,804/yr fuel cost
        Eco: $1,650/year fuel cost

        so the Eco saves you $154/yr assuming your driving is 50/50 city highway. That is exactly a 5 year payoff.

        Which is exactly the length of the powertrain warranty, and typical payment schedule.

        So… the real reason to buy the Eco is that it’s lighter and more fun than the 1LT, actually. if only they’d put rear discs and a damn armrest in it.

        Edit: although it’s worth noting: Fueleconomy.gov users report an average of 42.4mpg for 2011 Cruze Eco’s (all manuals), and an average of 36.5mpg for 2012 1.4T Autos. using those numbers:

        Eco: 353 gallons used, $1362 annually
        Turbo Auto: 410 gallons, $1582 annually

        But the 1LT Auto is $225 more than the Eco… so there is no payoff.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Those rock-hard tires actually save enough gas to pay for themselves completely before they wear out.. essentially free tires, obviously not a good choice if you want more aggressive handling out of your Prius.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    If we are talking about just the “eco premium” cost that these cars add to the price tag, then the statement being made here is very valid.

    However, if you trading down from a Chevy Tahoe to a Jetta TDI you’re going to find your *personal* fuel savings to be substantial. I have an acquaintance that drove a Tahoe requiring a fill-up twice per week. That was close to $150 on gasoline. They’ve since traded down to a TDI (quote: “Huh, I never thought I would NOT need all of this space…”) and are filling up once per week on a smaller tank at around $50/week. So for them, that’s more like $5,200 year in gasoline savings as compared to the Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      How could someone who drove a Tahoe be able to trade for a Jetta TDI? Is this an example of someone ‘wising-up’ to the whole SUV craze?

      That’s one positive about rising gas prices – it gets drivers of big, inefficient gas-guzzlers back to reality and more efficient transportation.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I’m of the opinion that the numbers only consider purchase and fuelling costs.

    I’d bet that if TCO (total cost of ownership) were calculated, taking into consideration insurance, normal and Eco-system maintenance, and depreciation and/or resale value, that the payback equation for the volt et al would look bleaker still.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Or would it? We can’t say for sure about depreciation, and that is the biggest killer of all. Regarding maintenance costs, hybrids have been near universal in their reliability and maintenance costs are low. Perhaps that is inherent in the equipment. Kind of like oil heat vs gas. Gas boilers are close to zero maintenance but an oil burner required periodic maintenance or it will shut down. Even with proper care, failures with oil are rather routine. We had three oil burning devices in our childhood house and even with annual maintenance you could count on one of them to shut down every winter. I now have gas and for 14 years have a failure rate of zero.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Not that I could (too many bills) but I do enjoy “shopping” for new cars and trying to figure the best deal. It’s like catching a trophy bass and letting him go back in the lake. So, my latest shopping trip was for a nice 4 door car with good ride, dependable, and good value. I decided on the Camry, now – I discovered this, a hybrid LE has NO options available except dealer ones, and the XLE is mighty pricey with a few add-ons, so for $27.8K I can get a loaded SE vs a stripper Hybrid. Sorry, the savings in gas didn’t add up – I did the math.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    One could, just as easily, make the following comparison:

    “Don’t buy a Mercedes E-class (or any other vehicle that costs more than $20K) if you value your money. After all, you can get a Versa for so much less.”

    Before you get to the “yes, but” part, the truth is that car purchases are abut so much more than simple financial calculations. There’s nothing wrong with valuing the ability to, at times, do without gasoline to get from here to there. And, yes, there’s the “why am I subsidizing the Volt” argument. Which falls apart the moment any one of a million other government subsidies (with the Oil company subsidy at the top of the list) gets examined.

    But, then again, TTAC wouldn’t be the same without the windmill that is GM, so carry on.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      So, you agree that the Volt’s drivetrain is all about fashion and not functionality?

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        It’s a stepping stone to a purer technology that will allow Americans to not finance the jihads against them, and to hopefully prevent the abolition of mechanized personal transport altogether.
        If Brazil, India and China obtain anywhere near the per capita ownership of ICE vehicles that North America takes for granted, kiss goodbye the ozone layer, expect the dust clouds from China to reach California and be prepared to be staring down the bayonet of a Chinese soldier in the not distant future.
        The Asians look decades ahead. Why can we not get our political and business leaders (and their puppet master shareholders!) to look ahead at least a few quarters?

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        While it’s certainly possible that the attraction could, indeed, be fashion, it’s not the only one. But you knew that when you wrote your response, didn’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        @carbiz: It’s like you took a pundit from 1993 and dropped him off in 2005. Hilarious stuff!

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      But the Volt is not a Benz or a Rolls… It’s a Chevy suffering from limited seating. The technology in the car drives the price beyond “affordable.”

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Thats pretty good if the batteries are lasting 225k. I have replaced several engines at around that mileage.

  • avatar

    Thanks for this – It helps me solidify my argument against hybrids.

    You ONLY LIVE ONE so you should buy WHAT YOU WANT (if you can afford it).

    Data shows (and TTAC can show a report showing the avergae ages), that it’s upper class people buying Hybrids and EV’s…not lower income people trying to save on gas who could just as easily buy a small 4 cylinder car. That’s cause they can afford a place to charge them and the maintenance that goes along with em.

    Thing about it is, when I’m on my deathbed, I’m not going to be thinking to myself “gee, I wished I saved more money on gas”. I’m going to be thinking to myself… “remember all those times I was flying down the parkway at speeds well above 110 mph???”

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      While you’re signing out you might want to give a thought to the men and women in the military who die mainly to protect oil reserves abroad. It’s the least you can do The very least.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Nonsense.

        3000 people died 9/11/2001. Millions were enslaved by dictatorial regimes that gave sanction and support to the killers. Not only were these satanic governments slaughtering those who attempted to question their authority, they were committed to destroying everything that could stand in their way. The UN passed santions empowering western nations to end this nightmare and death. No where on the list of 21 reasons justifying UN involvement in these countries is mentioned that protecting oil supply a main concern – or even mentioned. Your claim is ugly and bogus.

        Claiming we are fighting to mainly protect our oil supply is a fool’s statement based on nothing but assumptions and conjectures. It is similar to the foolish claims made by anti-American boobs I had to deal with in university overseas that claimed America fought other wars because of profits. FDR didn’t declare war against Hitler or Tojo to make a buck. There is nothing within the documents presented for any UN resolution making your claim.

        We don’t fight wars to make a buck, and we don’t send our voluntary forces overseas so we can pay less at the pump. We don’t need to kill and die for what we can easily find within our own borders and within the borders of friendly nations. For you to claim that we are, is absolutely sick and factually baseless. Why don’t you ask one of the families who made the ultimate sacrifice if what you say is true?

        Your nasty attitude is far worse than your claims.

      • 0 avatar

        probert

        Your reply is typical of the liberal attitudes about oil and it’s ridiculous because so much energy (oil) is WASTED by so many people that one person like me driving A MONSTER makes little significance.

        It is also a FACT that people who buy hybrid cars tend to DRIVE MORE than people like me. I put just 10 miles on my car each day and I never road trip. Therefore, I have LESS of an environmental impact and “contribution to terrorism” than the average Hybrid driver.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        If the USA is fighting to protect its oil supply, it does a bad job of it for two reasons:
        1. After all is said and done, the sellers of the oil, if they want maximize their income, will have to sell to the USA (even if indirectly, due to the fungibility of oil), if they want to maximize their income, and 2. The USA doesn’t seem to enjoy any buyer’s advantage either in price or quantity, over any other country. If either 1 or 2 is true, and they both pretty much are, then the whole war for oil argument falls on its face.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Agreed with your point, if you penny pinch your whole life and then lay dying and think ‘wow that hybrid saved me about 3 grand over five years back in 2012′ then you haven’t really lived. Life is about choices made in moderation. Sometimes the better move is to be responsible, but other times put the top down and go crusin’ if that’s what makes you happy. My thought process on spending is this: if something’s a steal for value, but its not what I like (i.e. new cloth couch 70% off vs the leather couch I really want at msrp) its worth a buy. But if your going to spend *real* money, you have to get what you want. (new economy car @16K vs cherry T/A or Z28 @16K)

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      @ VanillaDude

      Sure, you’re right. It’s not because of oil that NATO countries went to war with Libya, but because of dictatorship. Why then they don’t want to help Syrians? Oh, that’s right, NO OIL!

      P.S. I don’t preach, drive what ever you like/can afford. Here in The Great White North we’re producing our own oil, yet we’re paying $5.85 a gallon for gas (I don’t put gas with Corn Juice into my vehicle).

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      IF you want to help out the low income people (which I doubt), then you should vote for politicians that will put meaningful money into mass transit. Simpy owning a car, never mind fuelling it, is hard on the poor.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    IMO the Prius/Camry comparison should not be used. The Corolla is the better comparo to the Prius. To me this makes the Prius looks better than it actually is. (which in reality MPG wise is very very good)It would take longer to recoup when compared to the Corolla.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    The thing about studies is that they can be skewed one way or another.

    That said, there’s a lot of common sense in this graph. Does anyone buying a $40,000 Volt do it because they think they are somehow saving money. No, probably not. Same with the Leaf. The Prius is still top dog.

    That said, it all depends on the car you are coming from too. A MKZ Hybrid has the greatest cash incentive to make the switch, and it is priced the same as its conventional cousin (or at least was).

  • avatar
    GMis4GoodManners

    While the premise of your article is very sound, you math leaves a little to be desired.

    Example, yes, the base Cruze Eco costs $19,925 and the base Volt costs $31,767, but the equipment levels are significantly different. If you _could_ bump up the Cruze to the same level of equipment the Volt has it would cost several thousands of dollars more, reducing the years by at least 5 years. Moot, but it is the better math.

    While this factor makes little difference in the Cruze/Volt comparison, it makes a major difference in the Fusion/Fusion Hybrid example. Knocking off 4/5 years from the 8.5 figure you use means the car pays for itself within the average time owners keep their cars.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> the base Volt costs $31,767

      You’ve got that wrong. According to GM’s own web site, it’s $39,145 – which doesn’t count the expense of any electrical work.

      Not everyone qualifies for that $7500 subsidy and given the average income of Volt buyers, I wonder how many are actually getting that rebate. Furthermore, that subsidy is toast. What do you think the chances are of it surviving the next budget battle? It’s not going to make it especially if more rebate dollars are going to Honda, Toyota, and Nissan electric and PHEV buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      GM,

      No wonder GM can’t make enough Volts! Everyone knows it’s just a tremendous deal.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    My goodness, has there ever been a bigger lightning rod here on TTAC than the Volt? The problem is pretty simple: it’s too expensive for its intended audience, which is the mainstream point A to point B folks. But no one bats an eye when someone leases a $45K BMW 328i or Lexus RX350. They don’t make much economic sense either over buying a base Cruze and driving it for 20 years.

    The Volt will become be an interesting footnote in automotive history, but the concept is not going to go away. There will be range-extending electric/gasoline vehicles produced for decades, from many manufacturers. The price will go down as economies of scale are realized and the controversial aspects that delight so many TTAC commentators will settle down to a dull roar.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      We don’t give people $7500 in tax rebates to lease a BMW 328i or Lexus RX350.

      • 0 avatar
        LeeK

        Is that what the vitriol is about, the rebate? Prior to 2006, the Prius received a $3150 rebate, as did the Escape and Fusion Hybrids as well as others. I don’t remember a similar amount of outrage over those rebates. Maybe because it was prior to the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy and bail outs?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Leek,

        The Volt became politicized when GM held it up as the ‘car that would save GM’, that would get 230 mpg and was one of the reasons used to rationalize giving GM taxpayer money so they could live to fight another day.

        I don’t recall Ford or Toyota making otherworldly claims about mileage, nor do I recall either of those companies asking for billions of taxpayer dollars to keep the lights on.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        We don’t call it tax rebate but the vast majority of high end vehicles are leased by business owners who get a nice tax incentive by doing so. Same for the “depreciate in one year” ruling that allowed business owners to by a medium weight truck (you know, like an Excursion for the wife to drive) at the taxpayers’ expense. So KixStart, for those who have the means, the kickback is there. It just does not exist for those who are straight W-2 types. LeeK nailed it 10000000%: The Volt is vilified here for mostly the wrong reasons. The Volt is a technological marvel that costs too much for its intended mission. So, for that error, which is a big one, GM deserves criticism. All this political crap about the car is utter BS. And for the record, if Bush was the “Volt President,” he’d be getting vilified too, just by different people…

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        Don’t forget the Bush-era, $25k tax deduction for ‘businesses’ that bought vehicles with a GVW over 6,000 lbs. This went a very long way to increasing sales of the largest, most gas-guzzling SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        If you cannot see the problem with giving tax rebates to foreign owned companies to import their vehicles to compete with local companies, then you are, indeed, a product of our public education system.
        I don’t remember reading anywhere that GM planned to sell the Volt alongside the Aveo or Yaris. My 2007 Sanyo 42″ plasma TV cost me $2,400 plus taxes. I can buy a much better Sony, really, really flat screen for less than that.
        The EV-1 had to make do with different battery technology and nascent computer controllers. The Volt is leagues ahead of that technology.
        People need to stop praying for the Volt to fail and wait to see where Act II takes the technology.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      I hope the Volt is not forgotten.

      The Chrysler Turbine cars were important too. A difference is that Chrysler underwrote most of it’s costs. We didn’t see a president highlighting the Turbine car for political gain. We didn’t see it put into production in hopes of finding a market suitable for production.

      I hope the Volt isn’t forgotten because we need to remember how badly we all lose when governments intrude into the Market in this manner.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        +1 your assessment is spot on.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        It should also be noted that the Turbine Car came out right after a very bad time for Chrysler, i.e., the 1962 downsizing debacle.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The Administration recommended killing the Volt. GM persuaded them that the technology was strategic to GM’s long-term health and should be kept.

        GM got bailed out so that an extra 200-1000 thousand people wouldn’t be promptly on the street if it closed its doors. Nothing more.

        Where “government intruded” was in enacting the $10K rebate for a particular technologicial solution (EVs) to a strategic resource problem (we drink more oil than we make), which occurred during the Bush administration.

  • avatar
    Variant

    Good grief. Does anyone stop to think that maybe the incentive for some people to buy a more fuel efficient car isn’t about saving money at all, but rather simply the desire to consume less fossil fuels?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      There is also the incentive of recognizing that fuel efficiency is another form of efficiency. Efficiency is also attractive and often indicates a well engineered vehicle without waste.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      Telling ourselves that saving a few MPG’s is worth whatever it costs to get there is a fool’s errand. You really want to save the world, decrease your overall consumption of resources.

      I guarantee my 15 year old SUV has consumed less than half the total natural resources than anyone’s cash-for-clunkers hybrid. If people really wanted to talk about more intelligent decisions here, the idea of a more expensive, ultimately more resource-intensive hybrid would get dropped right on it’s head.

      Like Porsche and that new hybrid thing they’re working on. All that effort, expense and complexity for 15 gasoline free miles? Two words: Monumental Stupidity.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        You are right and wrong. Simply chasing incremental improvements that might have very high costs (both direct and indirect) likely makes little sense. I say likely because sometimes things can be brought down significantly in cost over time. I’m skeptical that batteries will ever follow any kind of price reduction that we have come to expect in electronic items however. And those silly hyper expensive hybrids are just to provide the wealthy with some bragging rights. If anybody really cared about saving resources, they are not leasing a hybrid LS.

        However, you’re 15 year old SUV argument is irrelevant. I get 34 MPG on my hybrid vs your (estimated)18 MPG on your SUV. At 80 plus miles a day, your vehicle choice would kill me with fuel costs. As for hybrids being “resource intensive”, what is so different? Battery pack? Ok, fair enough. But virtually all of them are recovered for reprocessing. The motor? Seems that the added resources of the drivetrain are at least partially offset by much less engine…

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        noxioux: “I guarantee my 15 year old SUV has consumed less than half the total natural resources than anyone’s cash-for-clunkers hybrid.”

        Ahhh… another enthusiastic victim of the CNW “dust to dust” hoax. I mean, study.

        It didn’t pass a basic sniff test.

        If you think about these things, you would quickly realize that the 3000 lb hybrid is not going to be more “resource intensive” than a 5500 lb SUV. Start by thinking about what it cost in energy just to melt the steel for that hybrid. Then reflect that the energy and resource cost for a vehicle can NOT be higher than it’s purchase price. Is that $24K Prius really going to use more in resources and energy than that $36K SUV?

        The CNW study assumed that a Hummer would last 300K miles and the Prius would last 115K. Not that they had any justification for that… it just helped them make the numbers they wanted.

  • avatar

    Interesting premise. Lets do a similar comparison. A basic car with no safety features, vs a car fully loaded with the latest safety features. Of course we have to assume away any of the benefits of the safety features, so lets assume that you never have an accident. Result, safety features are a waste of money.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Is there a chart that showed the reduced emissions for hybrids compared to a standard ICE or diesel?

  • avatar
    rem83

    Um, where are these price numbers coming from? 24k for a gas Jetta vs. 25k for a TDI? Looks like the gas Jetta starts under 17k, which – if I were really trying to save money – would be the model that I bought. If you’re using average actual sale price, it’s going to generally skew in the eco version’s favor if you assume most people buying the eco version of the car are trying to save money long term while most people buying the regular version just want a new car and will option it up higher. Just seems like another BS article to me!

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I haven’t researched but it’s probably the price of a tricked-out Jetta with the same amount of features as a base TDI. I think the TDI’s have a higher level of base equipment.

      …ok as per VW’s online configuration, the TDI and the SE with Convenience are comparable, minus the engine.

      SE w/C: 20,075
      TDI base: 22,775

  • avatar
    monomille

    The choice is not always a straightforward pricepoint comparison. At my seniority, my father had moved up the ladder to luxury vehicles and I might normally have done the same. That would have me buying cars at least twice as expensive as the Prius I did buy. My payback time is negative by multiples of the cost of gas for the life of the car! Plus, while not a luxury car, the Prius has plenty of room and is comfortable enough for the trips I have have made around the country. I’m still discovering details of the amazing engineering embodied in the design, satisfying for an engineer and early adopter. Maintenance for 115k miles has been oil, tires, a 12V battery, a set of plugs, a PCV valve, and wiper refills all of which I have done myself. It was a good choice for me.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I’ve been trying to get my wife to dump her car for a Volt.
    Annual fuel cost for my her WRX is $1740.

    Assuming costs stay the same (HA!), it would take 8 1/2 years to break even compared to another new, similarly-priced Subaru. That isn’t so bad, but I would still agree that the argument is sound. There is no saving money here.

    I still want a Volt because I like the car. I like how it feels to drive. I like efficiency. I don’t like wasting anything. You may find this strange, but I don’t see paying more for the product as wasteful. At least my money does “something”. Paying for gasoline does “nothing”. I’m not a greenie, I just think the ICE is caveman technology. There are better options out there, but the world just doesn’t let them happen, at least, not overnight.

    Hopefully GM gets the pricing right for this tech in the future. Put it in something with the same utility of my xB1 (like the GMC Granite), and I will RUN to the dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “I just think the ICE is caveman technology”

      You do know that there is an ICE in the Volt, right? There are a few all electric cars, one of which is much cheaper than the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Caveman technology eh?

      Did you know that the electric car is well over a hundred years old? It’s not anything new, it’s just been tried.. and tried.. and tried.. and tried again and failed each time.

      Hell the first Hybrid rolled down the street in 1899.. That’s not a typo, not 1999, 1899.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Political conservatives have a very difficult time grasping the idea that some people want to conserve energy for the sake of conserving energy, and not necessarily to save money. As has been shown with the Prius, there is a segment of the population that will happily pay a premium to use less fuel, just for the sake of it.

    In that sense, charts like these are silly. Last time that I checked, the “payback period” of pretty much any car was non-existent, since just about every car will depreciate, and all of them will cost money to operate. Maybe I’m just unlucky, but my car hasn’t been sending me a check every month, either.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Exactly. Everyone knows that “lowest cost per mile” is achieved with a ten-year-old-plus used compact car that you maintain yourself. Some people enjoy that sort of thing, but that’s not the same market that’s buying new cars in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      If you want to know how a political conservative thinks, please ask instead of thinking you know.

      You do a lot better projecting your own bias, than thinking you understand another’s bias.

      As a political conservative, I have absolutely no difficulties grasping any idea. Nor, do I know of any political conservatives unable to grasp an idea. However, you do seem to be unable to grasp that idea, and that exposes your shortcomings, not ours.

      We aren’t stupid. Many of us are in business and completely understand the attraction of a Prius. Fuel efficient cars are not created, manufactured, or driven by unwashed virgin liberals. They are not blessed by Al Gore at a fount of holy water. Sad to tell you, but I believe nearly everything you covet has been touched in some way by a politically conservative person. So, we aren’t cynics when we sell a Prius. According to Marx, we will even sell the rope we end up hanging ourselves on. Have you forgotten that? He said that because he wished to say that capitalists are stupid and have no conscience. He was wrong. We believe in your right to own what you wish for whatever reason you wish to own it. We aren’t likely to be the ones denying you your rights to purchase a solution to your personal needs. We understand that each person is an individual and that no centralizing, bureaucratizing, departmentalizing, or dehumanizing justifies taking away those rights.

      Being politically conservative doesn’t make one blind to facts, merely the interpretation or prioritizing of those facts. Being raised in a society that continually insults us for not embracing every progressive fad, meme or government program has forced us to understand why those fads, memes or government programs are popular. We understand your points, yet, also see their shortcomings. We balance those points against our priorities, just as you do.

      So, please don’t speak for us because you don’t know what you are talking about. Especially when you merely seem to be interested only in insulting our intelligence.

      Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        Lighten up, Francis.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Vanilla,

        Not sure why you responded to PCH. He’s a dyed in the wool progressive who regularly confuses his opinion with fact.

        When you’re firmly planted in one camp or the other, you can’t see fact – you only see through the rose colored glasses they hand you on the way into whichever tent you chose.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “He’s a dyed in the wool progressive who regularly confuses his opinion with fact.”

        Er, it is absolutely a fact that there is a segment of the car buying audience that wants to save energy to save energy, even if they have to pay to do it.

        You folks need to get over yourselves and your political inclinations to squawk and whine about everything in your path. Not every consumer makes purchases based upon your personal preferences. The market has segments, and they don’t all want the same things.

        If GM is to have any luck flogging the Volt, then they need to stop listening to people like you, and start focusing on the tech and eco crowds that will buy technology because they like technology, and that will buy fuel savings because they want to burn less of it, with little regard for the per-gallon price. Much of the new car market is not driven by cost savings; if it was, then there would be no point to bother with the cost of creating a brand.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “You folks need to get over yourselves and your political inclinations to squawk and whine about everything in your path.”

        You’re proving my point. I think you left your glasses on the table.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        Lighten up, Francis.

        LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “Political conservatives have a very difficult time grasping the idea that some people want to conserve energy for the sake of conserving energy”

      This is irrelevant.

      Cheap energy is gone. You can deal with this fact today or you can ignore it and pay more to deal with it tomorrow.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Yeah, the chart gets a good laugh out of me when it talks about “11 years to break even” and then says that they’re assuming gas will be $3.85/gallon for all eleven of those years. For me, it was higher than that this morning.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Agreed cheap energy is gone, only three unlikely things could bring it back: dramatic increase in supply, new cheap energy source provided via technology, and significant population reduction vis-à-vis energy consuming nations.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Cheap energy may return if the regime causing it to be expensive goes soon. We have more oil in the US than anyone here will live to see run out. We also have abundant coal and natural gas. We just need to get rid of the people that want to reduce our standards of living and use Malthus as a mask for their misanthrope.

      • 0 avatar
        SherbornSean

        In the midst of the usual TTAC political hysteria, would it be helpful to remind everyone that the president who signed into law the $7,500 tax credit was Bush?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Sean, it’s helpful but falls on deaf ears. Both parties have been corrupted by corporate interests and those of us who aren’t too big to fail pay the price.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Well, actually, if you really want to conserve energy for the sake of conserving energy, don’t live in the suburbs; live in the city, where you can either walk or take public transit . . . and even if you do drive daily, your driving distance is short.Or, if you want to take your life in your hands, you can bike.

      Oh, yes, I know . . . for the same price as a mini-mansion in the suburbs, you get a 3-bedroom semi-detached in the city.

      Boo-hoo.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        You bring up something that I have said all along. Most of the “green” yahoos that I see driving priuses in my area are the ones that live in 2500, 3000-4000 square foot and larger homes. I drive a Ram and I live in a 1200 square foot home, raised my daughter and my son here.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, these calculations are interesting and, like all calculations, you can argue the details of them endlessly.

    However, there is one benefit that is real and that the calculation leaves out. That is, paying extra money for fuel economy (whether it’s a hybrid, an EV, or just an optimized ICE-powered car) is a hedge against future fuel price increases during the time you own the car. That has a definite value, just like buying a futures contract on a commodity has a definite value (and a cost, to buy the contract). I’m not clever enough to quantify that benefit, but it is real (unlike, say “feeling good about yourself” because you drive a “Pious”). Like any futures contract, if it turns out that the price of the commodity has not increased by the “delivery date” then the value of the contract is zero. But, if the price of the commodity has increased by the “delivery date” then it would have a definite value.

    I actually did this in 1980, when I bought a new Audi 5000 diesel, on the expectation that oil prices would increase substantially during the time I owned the car. That turned out to be spectacularly wrong, and I lived for 7 years with a car that was grossly underpowered and surrounded itself with a cloud of blue smoke when started up in the morning when temperatures were in the 20s. I don’t recall if I paid a price premium, but the value of my “futures contract” turned out to be zero. Although the diesel got substantially better mileage than the gasser, and, in those days, diesel was cheaper than regular gasoline.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    The Leaf saves $1119 annually in fuel costs over the Versa. and the Volt only saves $446 over the Cruze Eco. Really? Really?

  • avatar
    lw

    Folks this is easy to solve… We need an annual tax rebate for the Volt based on gas that you don’t buy because you have a Volt.

    So when you sign up, you note on the form that your current daily driver is a 1966 Kenworth that achieves a best in class 5 MPG using diesel.

    Then your switching to the 230 MPG Volt (banners don’t lie. ever.)

    And of course you drive 82,000 miles per year, so with a tax rebate of $10 per gallon of gas saved, the government pays you enough to buy 6 new Volts every year!

    This also solves the Volt sales problem because the tax rebate comes in the form of a coupon that is only good to buy a Chevy Volt.

  • avatar
    NL14

    “The Volt, which costs nearly $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, could take up to 27 years to pay off versus a Chevrolet Cruze, assuming it was regularly driven farther than its battery-only range allows.’

    ‘Without the generous government rebate, financed by your tax dollars, the Volt would still be upside down long after it landed in a museum. At full retail, it would take 45 years to get you your money back. Payback is a bitch.”

    So, given the 35-40 miles on the electric only charge, I know that means that the Chevrolet Volt doesn’t make much sense for rural commuters; the Volkswagen TDIs make far more sense for the guys who average 50 to get to a mall than a Volt ever will, point taken. Its a dumb car to sell for the rural market, but what about metropolitan and suburban areas? Wouldn’t the Volt make plausible sense there?

    The Volt makes perfect sense for my suburban commute and I’m from Long Island, NY. I currently average 15 MPG in my current car and I’m willing to bet that the Grand Cherokee and Suburban owners on my block average about the same as that. I put on about 30 miles a day on errands in and around the area. Assuming I charge it overnight, I could theoretically go without setting a tire onto a gas station every week at pump 4.

    If your commute is like mine, the Volt will make sense to you and your savings in gas money will recoup far faster than 27.6 years. Isn’t it as simple as that? If you commute longer, that’s fine, I’m not the one holding a gun to your head telling you to go buy a Volt and nor is the government despite the general attitude of TTAC comments on anything about the damn thing.

    Consider a diesel and move on already. Why cant we just say that it makes sense for some, but not for all? Isn’t that the case with most cars? As much as I like the new Scion FR-S, I wouldn’t push one for my grandmother. I read TTAC for some honest-to-God automotive journalism, not for arm-chair quarterback lectures on political discourse and punditry as many commenters appear to profess in one direction or the other.

    And for you, Bertel Schmitt, I wish you a good diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      Well put, If you make the same assumption as for the Leaf, no gas used. Then the pay back is under 8 yrs putting it in the middle of the pack. So if you like the volt and can use it within its electric range most of the time go for it. If you don’t don’t!! Happy Easter

      • 0 avatar
        NL14

        Thank you and a Happy Easter to you as well. I just don’t understand why it seems that every time I read a TTAC post about the Chevrolet Volt, I read of editors repeatedly writing it off as a useless car without putting it into a somewhat functional context.

        I did my homework and I wouldn’t touch a Volt if it was impractical beyond my needs in the same way I wouldn’t look to a Ford Fiesta to tow a 7,000-lb trailer. You get what I’m saying?

        Bertel Schmitt’s post just paints one side of the picture here.

  • avatar
    redav

    PLEASE, people–let’s put these charts in terms of miles to break-even, not years.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I picked up my 12 Camry Hybrid LE 2 weeks ago. So far, I am averaging 40 mpg … checked by filling the tank. It appears the vehicle may go nearly 700 miles on 1 tank. And, I paid 24,500 for the car, before taxes and plates, which is far less then the price you show above. Compared to the 13 Malibu Eco, the price is nearly the same, it gets much better mileage, and it is likely to have better resale. While all know I have a bias for Toyota and Honda, I did give the Malibu Eco a look, but found the dash wierd, and the gas mileage poor compared to the Camry Hybrid. The Malibu exterior was decent. I think this is the correct comparison people will be making … Camry Hybrid vs. Malibu Eco vs. 13 Fusion. In my opinion, for 24,500, you can not beat the Camry Hybrid LE. I would guess this price will also knock out the 13 Fusion. Also I feel the 700 mile per tank is just what I will need when the Iran war starts, and gas will be short. I will fill my Highlander, Pilot, and TL to the top, then use this gas in the Camry. That will be 4 tanks x 700 miles. Did I mention my white Camry Hybrid LE seems to turn heads. The Ivory interior is hard to beat at any price.

  • avatar
    Jamez9k

    I’d like to see them make another chart like this one only this time to show how buying a pick-up truck doesn’t make sense. Put in the average price of your everyday brodozer, factor in the exorbitant fuel consumption and then calculate how long it would take to recoup your money against buying something like a Corolla and renting/borrowing a truck for the few times you actually need it.

    People buy what they want to buy. There are very few if any cars out there that make financial sense. Let people buy a Volt if it’s the car they want, whether that’s because of saving the planet, not funding oil companies, having the latest tech or maybe just because the Volt is a pretty damn nice car overall.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Clearly more right wing propaganda on behalf of the racists at Fox News who have hijacked the Grey Lady’s website. The Volt is the chariot of our Leader and no ill shall be spoken of it. Rose petals shall be thrown on the streets before it.

    If anything, the Volt needs MORE tax breaks on its purchase price. Hell, if The One gets re-elected let’s tax the rich and GIVE the cars away–and while we’re at it let’s tax people who drive more than 10,000 miles a year and use what’s left over to build high speed Amtraks to some empty cornfield in the middle of nowhere!

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      Is this the same Volt which Bush signed the tax credits for, and which Romney just endorsed?

      OK, yeah, blame the not-born-here, pinko, communist, liberal for that one.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeofurl

      The Volt rebate is paid for by the same money which pays for highways ( and bridges to nowhere) and public transportation.
      That is fuel taxes.
      Does it worry you the taxpayers are paying for a passenger train tunnel under the Hudson so NJ residents can get to work in Manhattan ?

      And do you think the roads in Montana or North Dakota are fully funded for by the residents there. All that space and so few people.

  • avatar
    nuthercanuck

    I have to question all your math I guess since the figures for the Fiesta which you show as “the worst” are wrong!
    You say 26.8 yrs saving $23 per year which is $616..
    Yet the FSE option is $395 so right away I see an error. Then when you figure the pkg includes cruise control and the only other way to get cruise(which is about a 95% take option)is to take sport pkg at $295, that makes the SFE look like $100 extra which is about 4 years to break even?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “We don’t give people $7500 in tax rebates to lease a BMW 328i or Lexus RX350″

    Sucks to live in a democracy doesn’t it. I didn’t get one with my 3/4 ton truck either but you don’t hear me whining. Car’s like the Volt and Leaf actually save tax payers money over their lifetime. Everytime you fill up whatever you drive you tsking a government handout. Next time you see a Volt driver thank him/her for saving you money and helping to get this country energy dependant.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Nah, I don’t buy that argument. But I do believe that the Volt should be available for sale to anyone who wants to buy one just like I thought the EV1 should be available to anyone who wanted to buy one. GM thought different.

      Unless and until the Volt comes down to the mid to high twenties, it will remain a toy for the rich and the pretend-to-be-rich, no matter how ‘advanced’ GM claims this vehicle is. Not advanced at all since it runs very much like a GE diesel-electric locomotive when the battery gets low.

      Electric golf-carts have been in use in retirement communities for many decades and so should all other EVs. The Volt, however, is more akin to Hybrids, albeit, with a plug-in capability. In that aspect it is much more like a Prius or other battery/gas sedans. It should be available to the public but should compete on its own merits.

      But 26.6 years to break even on a Volt? LOL! Pure folly! That’s all the Volt was, an exercise in futility. The answer to a question never asked. At least not yet. Maybe in a couple of hundred years or so.

      Nevertheless, if someone wants to buy one, they should be able to do so, but without taxpayer funded credits.

      There’s no doubt about who runs GM. I read on a news ticker that the “guvment has capped CEO pay at GM.” Smooth move, Exlax!

      Owning and running a failed automobile maker is not in the best interest of our nation.

  • avatar
    robc123

    The issue is MPG. bang for buck.
    the govt. has to work the system to force or make it prohibitively expensive large vehicles thru tax or insurance based on the European system of weight.

    The datsuns of the 70′s and other low tech shit boxes got way better MPG than today. Big deal roll up windows.

    The argument, its the crash standards and pedestrian safety, and seating is Bullshit. Fact is most pedestrians are drunk when they are hit by cars.

    Physics still apply- big suv vs mini equals pink slime for mini passengers. If everyone is running around in cool little modded up 2 and 4 bangers the crash standards can be lowered.

    Seats- statistically we are having less kids, or kids later or no kids. SO why do we need minivans and suv’s to boot around by ourselves? The only people who are having tons of kids are immigrents, and nobody gives a fuck about them- for them back home a merc 190e is fine for a family, why is it not here?

    There is no reason you cannot have a gas or diesel car for $15k that has some airbags and gets 55 mpg in 2012.

    Want a crazy jacked up truck with 40″ dualies getting 2 mpg, get a commercial license and pay pay pay.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Well, we’re talking about the US here.. there are some differences between here and Europe.

      For one, Emissions standards. Oh, I’m not talking about that CO2 nonsense; I’m talking CO, Sulfer, all the other nasties that poison the air. In particular is the Los Angelas basin which forms a unique microclimate that traps smog particulates, and hosts a city with a thriving car-culture.

      The result is an untenable situation that Los Angeleans think is Normal, they think the whole world is/was/will-be swimming in smog just like they are if there’s no intervention so they lobby Congress (and they can, lots of Stupidly Rich and Powerful people live in LA) to make clean-air standards that are very necessary in LA into the national standard. This is why Diesels are rare as hen’s teeth outside commercial/agricultural applications in the US.

      Another factor, the size of the US.

      How’s the joke go? Europeans make fun of Americans because they think 100 years is a long time, Americans make fun of Europeans because they think 100 miles is a long distance. The US is Big, Stupid-Huge big, and as a result we Americans have had a tendency to spread-out. My home town is considered a tiny little speed-bump of a burg with little over 2,000 residents, and it’s over 3 miles across.

      When people drive, they tend to drive for long distances here and it has shaped the preferences of Americans towards cars. Large, mobile isolation-booths with soft wollowy suspensions, numb over-boosted power steering, and engines with fat power-bands so you don’t have to shift as often and more displacement than they need so they can pull without revving too high and too loud at cruising speeds are what most Americans take a fancy to because they are supremely comfortable for the kinds of journeys that Americans typically take in cars.

      In Europe you have Grand-Tourers, immensely powerful and expensive cars built to travel long distances in comfort, a sign of status and wealth to own such a car and take one on a ‘Grand Tour’ of the continent. In the US historically, factoring out luxury materials like leather and wood, the capabilities of a European Grand-Tourer would be considered the bare minimum for Any mid to full-size car at any price-point, and taking that car on a road-trip much longer than the typical ‘Grand-Tour’ would be considered the ultimate in Bargain-Basement vacationing.

      “You! You think we are like you, but we are not.” (cookie for the reference. :)

  • avatar
    dukeofurl

    The Porsche comparison is wrong. The Cayenne Hybrid is based on a 3 litre V6 , while the Cayenne S quoted at $64,000 has a V8. A more useful comparison is the standard 3.6l V6 Cayenne at $48,000. This gives a difference in price of $20,000 not the $4000 indicated.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I bought my Ecoboost F-150 over a 5.0L one because of the increased tow rating (to tow my travel trailer). I was planning on keeping it for 5 years, so I’m pleased that I will break even within that time. I drive it a little farther than average, so it will probably happen sooner. The fuel economy bump is just a bonus.


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