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The best advice is to first off only buy what you can afford, if you need a new gas effiecent car so be it, but don't get a car loan and go into debt. Instead buy something cheap you can afford and save money to later buy what you want with cash.

As for the cars, I own a Camry Hybrid personally and debated for about 4 months which to get before buying it. The Prius is a little better on fuel but at the expense of being far more cheap feeling and less usable. Personally, the Camry Hybrid is a excellent car and I'm really glad I bought it. 32 to 37mpg in the city typically, with highway being around 35 in my personal experience. It was worth it to me in order to have a full size family car versus the Prius for a slight gain in MPG. Provided you can afford to buy the car, buy what you want and feel best about. If you can't afford it in cash, DO NOT BUY!

Get a Lexus CT 200h instead. Same internal engine as the Prius and just a few mpg less than the Prius. Price the same or even much cheaper than the Prius in most markets. Looks better than the Prius. Plus, it's a Lexus.

Prius is overpriced and overhyped.

Camry LE for 18,000k....Will last you a tone....

We are quite happy with our new Prius and have nearly identical driving habits. The plug in makes no sense for long highway drives. A Camry is bigger with lesser mileage, so buy based on the size car you need. A fusion is an attractive option but is more expensive and all new this year, so reliability is unproven. We drive 2500 mostly highway miles per month in a Prius. Compared to the previous vehicle it uses half the gas, so 50 gallons per month instead of 100, saving us $200 per month in gas costs. It is very practical and the hatch holds a lot. However, it isn't luxurious nor would you expect it to be for $24,000 or so.

You should base your fuel costs on realistic fuel economy measures, not the EPA numbers or overall mixed driving averages. Here's what Consumer Reports measured for the Camry (several versions) and Prius2

4-cyl conventional:   19 city, 41 highway
4-cyl hybrid:         32 city, 43 highway
6-cyl conventional:   17 city, 37 highway

Prius:                32 city, 55 highway

Fix 97 Corolla = best $ decision

It will likely take 8 to 9 years for buying a new Prius to break even.

You do not save money buying a new Prius. But if you are going to buy a new car, a Prius may save you money.

If your car is shaking, you should certainly buy a 2005 crown vic from me for $3k. Buying a new car never, ever, ever pencils.

Don't forget that gas price maybe 50% more expensive in 5 years. Prius maybe a better deal if you take account of increase of gas price.

I looked at the Prius V. Decided the Scion XB was the best deal, by cricky!

I think it was already mentioned but a plug-in Prius makes no sense for your commute. Even if you have a plug-in station at work, a plug-in Prius only gets a MAX of 11 miles in all electric mode at which point it switches to the normal hybrid mode. I didn't do the math but it'll take a while to make up the difference in the almost $7k premium you'll pay for a plug-in versus an entry level Prius.

I personally own a Prius (2008, bought new unfortunately) and couldn't be any happier with it for my 1 hr each-way commute most days. I also drive up and down the California coast for my job so the 45 mpg (about 50 for normal commute) I get on the highway quickly pays off, especially when I count my mileage reimbursement.

Also, since the Toyota hybrids have a 100k warranty on the hybrid systems (maybe CA only?), it may be worthwhile to find a gently used one versus the cost of a new one and still get the comfort of knowing you're covered for a little while.

psychtobe said:   You do not save money buying a new Prius. But if you are going to buy a new car, a Prius may save you money.

Prius - $25,000
Prius Plug in - $30,000
(MSRP)

Corolla - $15,000 (base model, no options)

Gas Cost - Corolla @ 34MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2867

Gas Cost - Prius @ 48MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2031

$836 / year difference.

Still will take the Prius some 10 to 12 years in gas savings to make up that $10,000 difference in price of the new Corolla.

Only buy a Prius if you are ECO friendly.

DaGimp said:   psychtobe said:   You do not save money buying a new Prius. But if you are going to buy a new car, a Prius may save you money.

Prius - $25,000
Prius Plug in - $30,000
(MSRP)

Corolla - $15,000 (base model, no options)

Gas Cost - Corolla @ 34MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2867

Gas Cost - Prius @ 48MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2031

$836 / year difference.

Still will take the Prius some 10 to 12 years in gas savings to make up that $10,000 difference in price of the new Corolla.

Only buy a Prius if you are ECO friendly.


Break even analysis isn't that simple. Take into account capital cost and depreciation, interest and other costs, and break even might occur in around 5 to 8 years. Assume you say break even occurs in 10 years. Assume 80% depreciation, so you sell the corolla for $3,000 and the Prius for $5,000. Right there, you're $2,000 ahead with the Prius. Look at 10 year old cars to see if the estimates are correct. My guess is the Prius has higher residual percentage, but that's just a guess.

DaGimp said:   Fix 97 Corolla = best $ decision

It will likely take 8 to 9 years for buying a new Prius to break even.


If someone that doesn't own a car needs to buy one, I doubt a 97 corolla would be the top choice, though maybe among some good choices for used car. Inertia and transaction costs often drive the "I'm familiar and comfortable with the current situation, so why change"?

If another person drives a 2002 civic and a third drives a 2005 Altima, and they as the same question about buying a new Prius plugin, it's like their "best $ decision" is their current car. It might take a 2007 ford explorer owner to change some minds, and even then, it might not.

Going back to the person without a car needing one, used car is likely best $ decision, but aside from crown vic, doubt there is another consensus candidate.

macosx said:   DaGimp said:   Fix 97 Corolla = best $ decision

It will likely take 8 to 9 years for buying a new Prius to break even.


If someone that doesn't own a car needs to buy one, I doubt a 97 corolla would be the top choice, though maybe among some good choices for used car. Inertia and transaction costs often drive the "I'm familiar and comfortable with the current situation, so why change"?

If another person drives a 2002 civic and a third drives a 2005 Altima, and they as the same question about buying a new Prius plugin, it's like their "best $ decision" is their current car. It might take a 2007 ford explorer owner to change some minds, and even then, it might not.

Going back to the person without a car needing one, used car is likely best $ decision, but aside from crown vic, doubt there is another consensus candidate.


I agree on the crown vic, probably the best option in this case.

Interesting discussion regarding tailpipe emissions moved from car to the power plant...

There are 2 dimensions to the issue - LOCAL EMISSIONS and GREEN HOUSE GASES, the former is definitely an advantage with EVs, the latter may or may not be an advantage if majority of the electricity for the EV comes from coal fired plants. I am referring to TOTAL green house gases, the big picture (TOTAL = full supply chain including Power Plant, Transmission network, Battery Production and disposal etc)

1) LOCAL EMISSIONS- that affecting local people - is decreased since power plants are located in areas with less population density
2) GREEN HOUSE GASES - these may or may not be reduced with EV (electric vehicles) depending upon which type of plant the electricity came from - coal fired or renewable. Generally EVs are cleaner than conventional vehicles regardless of where the electricity came from. When comparing EVs with hybrids, the competition is closer, Hybrids may emit less TOTAL green house gases (TOTAL = full supply chain) compared to EVs if the EV is getting power from coal while they may emit more if the EV is getting power from renewable or a mix of coal/renewable.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/04/electric-cars
http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/electric-car...

For highway driving I would not consider a hybrid just plain old corolla LE where I got 38-40 mpg every time except in extreme cold. If you have less than 20% of city driving just go with a conventional car.

barbcole said:   
Putting environmental issues to the side, what about dollar cost? It's less of an issue with the plug-in Prius since you're still going to be using your ICE and regen braking for much of your drive, but i was annoyed after watching Chevy Volt commercials all week. "I can't remember the last time I went to the gas station." And they keep talking about how no gas means cheaper -- with no information about the electricity usage and what that costs. I admit I didnt look too hard, but It's definitely not free... I would assume it would come out cheaper (probably a lot due to a lower power electric motor versus the ICE in a "regular car") but if that were true I would have expected them to quantify that and push it in your face. Since they avoid any attempt at putting a cost on electric energy used, my pessimistic side says that's because whatever they've figured out is not good.



Approximately 50% of the electricity generated by the grid is lost in transmission.

If it were cheaper to generate electric energy from oil, powerplants wouldn't be burning natural gas and coal, and we'd all be powering our homes off Diesel generators, instead of wasting it in transmission. Conversely, it costs a lot more money to run an emergency generator off Diesel or gasoline than to get power from the grid.

energy = energy. Apply the same logic to power your car. It takes the same amount of energy to move 65mph in a car whether electric powered or gasoline powered. Would it be cheaper to run it off the grid or a generator (IC engine)?

Large powerplants are both more efficient and burn cheaper fuel than gasoline IC engines, which more than compensates for the 50% transmission loss.

elektronic said:   Approximately 50% of the electricity generated by the grid is lost in transmission.

If it were cheaper to generate electric energy from oil, powerplants wouldn't be burning natural gas and coal, and we'd all be powering our homes off Diesel generators, instead of wasting it in transmission. Conversely, it costs a lot more money to run an emergency generator off Diesel or gasoline than to get power from the grid.

energy = energy. Apply the same logic to power your car. It takes the same amount of energy to move 65mph in a car whether electric powered or gasoline powered. Would it be cheaper to run it off the grid or a generator (IC engine)?

Large powerplants are both more efficient and burn cheaper fuel than gasoline IC engines, which more than compensates for the 50% transmission loss.


Not sure if your post is relevant or not, but transmission line losses average about 6.5% in the US. Not sure if you're familiar with I2R losses, but basically higher voltages mean less losses due to resistance. Perhaps you were referring to more like 50% of the btu content of the fuel used to make electricity ends up on the grid.

elektronic said:   
energy = energy. Apply the same logic to power your car. It takes the same amount of energy to move 65mph in a car whether electric powered or gasoline powered.


I'm not disagreeing with your post, but this particular statement.
This is somewhat true. If you were comparing just the power source, and everything else was equal, it would be true.

But a hybrid car is NOT an electric-powered vehicle. A hybrid car is just a gas-powered vehicle with regenerative braking and a few other improvements worked in. The hybrid vehicle's battery and electric motor is used for temporary storage of recovered energy that was generated using the gas (or Diesel, etc) engine. It takes less power to move a hybrid vehicle because of the regenerative braking that recovers energy from braking, as well as reduced (or in some cases, completely eliminated) energy costs during coasting or at stops. The better hybrids can even turn off the gas motor completely even on the highway, because the electric motor provides "instant torque" so it is unnecessary to keep a motor idling for power breaking or to allow you to accelerate quickly after pressing on the gas/acceleration pedal. (This applies even on the highway especially on vehicles such as Ford's hybrids that can go to EV-only mode on the highway or older hybrids or Toyota hybrids that are not able to turn off the gas motor, but can still idle it fairly low while coasting on highway and recover some of that wasted energy into battery charge.) Additionally, the models that include hybrid options tend to be designed with lower drag coefficients, which also reduces the power necessary to move the vehicle. Many also have electric-only air-conditioning, so that the ICE can turn off completely even when the air compressor is running.

Electric cars and plug-ins similarly benefit in the same reductions in energy costs as hybrid vehicles. (of course the tradeoffs sometimes is with fully electric cars the batteries can be fairly heavy and detract from the other gains in energy efficiency).

Note that I am not addressing any real or perceived production-cost differences for the batteries, etc, just "power to move the vehicle".

The post I was replying to mentioned the volt / plug-in hybrid, which uses electricity as the primary energy source.

I was using this chart, which is well-to-station efficiency:

http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/images/efficiency...

elektronic said:   barbcole said:   
Putting environmental issues to the side, what about dollar cost? It's less of an issue with the plug-in Prius since you're still going to be using your ICE and regen braking for much of your drive, but i was annoyed after watching Chevy Volt commercials all week. "I can't remember the last time I went to the gas station." And they keep talking about how no gas means cheaper -- with no information about the electricity usage and what that costs. I admit I didnt look too hard, but It's definitely not free... I would assume it would come out cheaper (probably a lot due to a lower power electric motor versus the ICE in a "regular car") but if that were true I would have expected them to quantify that and push it in your face. Since they avoid any attempt at putting a cost on electric energy used, my pessimistic side says that's because whatever they've figured out is not good.



Approximately 50% of the electricity generated by the grid is lost in transmission.

If it were cheaper to generate electric energy from oil, powerplants wouldn't be burning natural gas and coal, and we'd all be powering our homes off Diesel generators, instead of wasting it in transmission. Conversely, it costs a lot more money to run an emergency generator off Diesel or gasoline than to get power from the grid.

energy = energy. Apply the same logic to power your car. It takes the same amount of energy to move 65mph in a car whether electric powered or gasoline powered. Would it be cheaper to run it off the grid or a generator (IC engine)?

Large powerplants are both more efficient and burn cheaper fuel than gasoline IC engines, which more than compensates for the 50% transmission loss.


You don't know what you are talking about. Average transmission&distribution efficiency in the US is approximately 94%. On emissions - I will echo some other posters. power plants are world's cleaner then an ICE. There are government restrictions, monitoring, cleaning, reporting mandated on all power plants to levels that would simply be impossible on distributed ICE's. Sure a Coal plant powering an electric car will have a small increase in carbon footprint over a gasoline ICE, but REAL pollution, where it REALLY matters, I am talking about the shit that is toxic to humans - carbon monoxide, NOx, etc, modern coal power plants are quite clean.
Source: I am a mechanical engineer who worked in the power gen industry.

That's the whole stinking point of electricity in the first place! It's so easy and cheap to distribute; so generation can be centralized thus reducing costs, increasing effiency, and making it easier to control and monitor pollution. On the other hand, how much energy is used in refining and distributing gasoline? The numbers will surprise you.


On your comment on oil vs nat gas, coal vs oil for electric generation - Oil is used for transportation because it is convenient and dense. Coal is simply not practical for cars (duh) and the same for natural gas - they require expensive compressed gas tanks, the pumps that pump these tanks (either in the home or at a station) are expensive. There is also a lot of energy lost in compressing natural gas for a CNG vehicle, and these vehicles still typically have inferior range.

elektronic said:   The post I was replying to mentioned the volt / plug-in hybrid, which uses electricity as the primary energy source.

I was using this chart, which is well-to-station efficiency:

http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/images/efficiency...


The chart there shows lower well-to-station energy efficiency from natural gas. (Natural gas actually burns much cleaner than oil or coal though, and that's probably why they selected Natural gas for their example. I don't know if it recovers as large a percentage of energy as a coal plant does, but the process is much cleaner.) It also shows that although the well-to-station efficiency is lower, the well-to-wheel efficiency is higher due to it taking less energy to convert the power in the car and to move the car. The most relevant comparisons in the tesla's case is if you compare vehicle efficiency for sports car it is 0.24km/MJ vs. the tesla at 2.18km/MJ. The jist is that it costs more to transport the NG and burn it at a power station than to transport gasoline to a vehicle, but then the vehicle itself wastes much energy when it burns the gasoline compared to the electric motor having very high efficiency.

I would focus on your need for comfort/luxury to help narrow things down a bit. Do you need Mercedes luxury, will a mid-range Fusion be sufficient, or will an economy car (such as a Corolla, Civic, Accent, Fiesta, Sonic, Yaris, etc.) be fine?

For example, assuming similar MPGs, I would take a 3 year old upscale car over a brand new economy car at the same price. The ride and amenities are just "nicer" for the same price.

Depending on your commute, this should be an important factor. You'd probably be happier in a better riding/luxurious car over the long term. (Could go pre-owned to lower initial costs with a "nicer car".) Again, this is a very personal factor and you should give it some thought.

Corolla = point A to B commute
Camry I4 = more room
Prius = don't mind dropping butt loads of money up front

get them used, you'll save more... except for Prius.

You missed the point of my post, which was to point out that barbcole's suspicion the volt was more expensive to run that the gas powered equivalent, is not true. If it were, it'd be cheaper to charge your Volt or run your house off a generator instead of off the grid.

As an example of how inefficient small ICE are, a typical 6.5HP generator is rated to produce 3000 watts continuous.

6.5HP = 4850 Watts (1Hp ~ 745 watts). Even at a peak output of 3500 watts 3500/4850 = 72% before you factor in the energy cost to get the gas from well to you.

Conversely, natural gas and coal are far cheaper / BTU than gasoline, making it more cost efficient to use electricity to power your car than gasoline, therefore it is cheaper to run the volt than a hybrid.

Get it now?

EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!

I'm with joebos. My experience with the VW Golf TDI and Touareg TDI Diesel models has been great.

elektronic said:   You missed the point of my post...
Get it now?
EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!

I have agreed with all your posts, I just wanted to point out (not to you specifically) that a hybrid is still a fully gas-powered vehicle but just with technological improvements that make it take less energy overall to move the car, due to reducing some sources of lost energy during operation of the vehicle. It's those other improvements that you pay for in the different up-front vehicle costs as well as the hybrid batteries/motor themselves.

elektronic said:   You missed the point of my post, which was to point out that barbcole's suspicion the volt was more expensive to run that the gas powered equivalent, is not true. If it were, it'd be cheaper to charge your Volt or run your house off a generator instead of off the grid.

As an example of how inefficient small ICE are, a typical 6.5HP generator is rated to produce 3000 watts continuous.

6.5HP = 4850 Watts (1Hp ~ 745 watts). Even at a peak output of 3500 watts 3500/4850 = 72% before you factor in the energy cost to get the gas from well to you.

Conversely, natural gas and coal are far cheaper / BTU than gasoline, making it more cost efficient to use electricity to power your car than gasoline, therefore it is cheaper to run the volt than a hybrid.

Get it now?

EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!


OK, I understand what you are trying to get at.

But I have to point out another error... Your example of the 6.5HP motor producing 3000 Watts does not show inefficiency of the ICE, in fact it does't even give us any information to know how efficient it is. For two reasons:

  • If the engine is producing 6.5HP mechanical power (which is what HP is usually referring to) and 3000W electricity, it implies that the generator is 72% efficient. It doesn't say anything about the ICE.
  • The engine may be rated at 6.5 HP PEAK and but 3000W CONTINUOUS, which are often two different values for small generators.


To calculate the ICE efficiency you'd need the flow rate of the gasoline flowing in, and the heating value of the gasoline used. Divide the engine mechanical power by that and you'd get the ICE efficiency. It would probably be about 15-25% for a small motor like that. Of course the 72% efficient generator only adds insult to injury putting the net efficiency at 10.8% - 18%. Basically that generator is going through almost 30kW of fuel (heating wise) to make 3kW of useful energy.

Your point does demonstrate something important: scale kills efficiency. A large combined cycle plant burning natural gas (or even gasoline if you wanted to) can be 60% efficient with a generator that's 99.5% efficient.

Having owned a Prius, it became very uncomfortable to drive long distances due to no lower back support. It was also not fun to drive. Have you considered a VW Golf TDI? Similar mileage, much more efficient Diesel engine, and WAY more enjoyable to drive - with comfortable seats. Just throwing that in the discussion.

buy the camry.

A compromise - Camry Hybrid.

elektronic said:   You missed the point of my post, which was to point out that barbcole's suspicion the volt was more expensive to run that the gas powered equivalent, is not true. If it were, it'd be cheaper to charge your Volt or run your house off a generator instead of off the grid.

As an example of how inefficient small ICE are, a typical 6.5HP generator is rated to produce 3000 watts continuous.

6.5HP = 4850 Watts (1Hp ~ 745 watts). Even at a peak output of 3500 watts 3500/4850 = 72% before you factor in the energy cost to get the gas from well to you.

Conversely, natural gas and coal are far cheaper / BTU than gasoline, making it more cost efficient to use electricity to power your car than gasoline, therefore it is cheaper to run the volt than a hybrid.

Get it now?

EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!


My electric bill comes in kWh. How many kWh does it cost to power that Volt for the ~40 miles they're talking about. That's what I wanted to know. The relative efficiency of making energy at a power plant vs. the cars ICE might allow you to make assumptions about which should be cheaper, but still leaves it rather vague.

Personally, for new cars, I like the Camry hybrid as it's one of the few hybrids that doesn't drive like a hybrid - it's actually faster than the regular 4cyl Camry, which in itself is no slouch. Problem is, can be very hard to find cheap as dealerships only have a small handful on the lots while they got boatloads of the 4 cylinder models that are begging to be sold. And I'd pick a Toyota any day over a Ford.. As for Camry vs Corolla, the Camry will ride MUCH smoother and be quieter on long distance highway runs. Quality of ride is something to think about.

Now I am really thinking more about the Camry Hybrid than the Prius unless I can get a good deal on a certified one.

barbcole said:   elektronic said:   You missed the point of my post, which was to point out that barbcole's suspicion the volt was more expensive to run that the gas powered equivalent, is not true. If it were, it'd be cheaper to charge your Volt or run your house off a generator instead of off the grid.

As an example of how inefficient small ICE are, a typical 6.5HP generator is rated to produce 3000 watts continuous.

6.5HP = 4850 Watts (1Hp ~ 745 watts). Even at a peak output of 3500 watts 3500/4850 = 72% before you factor in the energy cost to get the gas from well to you.

Conversely, natural gas and coal are far cheaper / BTU than gasoline, making it more cost efficient to use electricity to power your car than gasoline, therefore it is cheaper to run the volt than a hybrid.

Get it now?

EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!


My electric bill comes in kWh. How many kWh does it cost to power that Volt for the ~40 miles they're talking about. That's what I wanted to know. The relative efficiency of making energy at a power plant vs. the cars ICE might allow you to make assumptions about which should be cheaper, but still leaves it rather vague.

The Volt has a 16 kw/h battery (the 2013 has a 16.5) but it only uses around 10 kw/h to never fully deplete to extend battery life. You will also have some loss at charging. Various forums report between 2.5 and 4 miles per kw/h. Now the calculation will depend on your electricity rates and if you have 2 meters (lower night price).

So lets assume 3 miles per kw/h and 10 cents price and gas is 3.30$ per gallon. For the same price you would need a car with 100 mpg assuming you always drive the Volt in electric mode.

To get back to the OP's question, another vote for a Golf TDI or any regular car like a Corolla that gets 35-40 mpg.

Squeezer99 said:   those miles add up quick. buy a beater civic or corolla for $3k

I agree with this approach, but first you need to define "Beater". He already has a beater.

vipercon said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   But the Prius is one of the few under $30k vehicles that is socially acceptable in any economic class- so if you're competing with doctors and their new Porsches , Benz and BMW , the prius fits in but a fusion will not

That is the sole reason I own one. In my profession there are times I can not show up in a crown vic and not be judged (which could impact me financially). I picked up a gently used Prius and don't get looked down upon by those driving $60-$100k vehicles, which I have no desire to spend my money on.


I am curious what the profession is and what the circumstances are. Thanks in advance for explaining.

GermanExpat said:   barbcole said:   elektronic said:   You missed the point of my post, which was to point out that barbcole's suspicion the volt was more expensive to run that the gas powered equivalent, is not true. If it were, it'd be cheaper to charge your Volt or run your house off a generator instead of off the grid.

As an example of how inefficient small ICE are, a typical 6.5HP generator is rated to produce 3000 watts continuous.

6.5HP = 4850 Watts (1Hp ~ 745 watts). Even at a peak output of 3500 watts 3500/4850 = 72% before you factor in the energy cost to get the gas from well to you.

Conversely, natural gas and coal are far cheaper / BTU than gasoline, making it more cost efficient to use electricity to power your car than gasoline, therefore it is cheaper to run the volt than a hybrid.

Get it now?

EDIT - though I would LOL at someone using a generator on a Leaf to take it on a road trip across the country!


My electric bill comes in kWh. How many kWh does it cost to power that Volt for the ~40 miles they're talking about. That's what I wanted to know. The relative efficiency of making energy at a power plant vs. the cars ICE might allow you to make assumptions about which should be cheaper, but still leaves it rather vague.

The Volt has a 16 kw/h battery (the 2013 has a 16.5) but it only uses around 10 kw/h to never fully deplete to extend battery life. You will also have some loss at charging. Various forums report between 2.5 and 4 miles per kw/h. Now the calculation will depend on your electricity rates and if you have 2 meters (lower night price).

So lets assume 3 miles per kw/h and 10 cents price and gas is 3.30$ per gallon. For the same price you would need a car with 100 mpg assuming you always drive the Volt in electric mode.

To get back to the OP's question, another vote for a Golf TDI or any regular car like a Corolla that gets 35-40 mpg.


Thank you.

So, maybe pass on a hybrid? If someone were going to force me to buy a Toyota hybrid, and I didn't give a crap about comfort (I mean at least it is a new car), I would go with the Prius C. It has a much lower entry point, as far as cost. It is a Yaris that has been converted into a hybrid.

Now, that brings up the point that hybrids don't actually improve your fuel economy very much. For instance, look at the Camry vs. the Camry Hybrid... very minimal improvement. The Prius C, being the Yaris platform, already is starting out 40+ mpg before you run the "hybrid magic". What makes hybrids more efficient is all of the other things that they do to these vehicles. For instance, before hybrids, was there much of a market for goofy shaped cars? Not really, but that goofy shape is more aerodynamic... it doesn't need to be a hybrid to have that goofy shape, but the "hipsters/hippies" were willing to get over that for the hybrid "branding". They also work to keep the weight low on these vehicles. In addition, taking your accessories off of your drivetrain improves fuel economy. Plus, you can add the stop/start capability to a non-hybrid to improve fuel economy.

As someone already mentioned, Volkswagen TDIs are a great alternative, and work better for longer commutes. A hybrid has much of its improvements in fuel economy in city driving and shorter commutes. Diesel is much better for highway driving. Now consider the 2013 VW Golf TDI. It is rated at 43 mpg. Volkswagens consistently get better fuel economy than the EPA estimates, for starters. Now, take that vehicle and add the Bluemotion package to it... (essentially the hybrid treatment without the hybrid) stop/start capability, accessories off of the drivetrain, regenerative braking to provide more power to accessories, lightweight, longer geared 5th/6th gear... that 43 mpg is now 62 mpg... and that is the EPA estimate.

I currently drive a 2002 VW Jetta TDI that I picked up for $3900 that is rated at 43 mpg, and I get 45-48 mpg on my 60 mile roundtrip commute... on a 120 mile roundtrip, I would certainly top 50 mpg. First reply was hinting at the smugness that someone who drives a Prius feels... it is nothing in comparison to the smugness I feel when drive my TDI and see these silly hybrids out there.

Do the math, as it is different for everyone, but buying a truly new car just for fuel economy isn't very likely to beat keeping your old vehicle. Picking up a much more fuel efficient used car can be. And in most cases, based on current fuel prices, the premium you pay to increase your fuel economy above 40-45 mpg is rarely worth the upfront cost.

Crownvic? I could pay cash for a new crownvic every year with my fuel savings from my 2002 Chevy Malibu to my 2002 VW Jetta TDI. I'll take the TDI. They are easy to work on too, and they last and last.



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