CNET: Plug-ins Are Money Losers
CNET News stipulates that plug-in hybrids get more mpg and emit fewer pollutants than standard cars or hybrids, but objects that it would take decades of driving to actually save any money by driving one. According to several months of data from RechargeIT.org, plug-in Priora only use about 88 fewer gallons a year than unplugged Priuses in urban driving, saving between $158 to $250. A $15,000 CalCars conversion would take 60 years to recoup, and a $55K AC Propulsion upgrade – well, forget saving money there. Motion granted, but CNET misses two a Priori points: First, many people didn't originally buy Priora to save cash, they bought them to save the planet – and to be seen as saving the planet. RechargeIT's engineering product manager, Alec Proudfoot, says, "the big focus … is on the CO2 savings, not the cost savings." Second, many people who remember sitting in gas lines, see plug-ins as a hedge against having to do so again. Nevertheless, unreliable batteries may dissuade even the most ardent eco-warrior from relying on a plug-in to get there and back again.
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