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Is electric vehicle worth it in California

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I was trying to decide between a Prius Prime and Chevy Bolt in California as both would get me a HOV sticker and started to research electrical prices.  Chevy states you can save over half the money on gas but I don't see any savings.  They are basing the savings on a 12 cents per kilowatt average rate in US but our electrical rates are higher than average.  The local utilities charge closer to 29 cents per kilowatt on average and the charging stations I found run from 33 to 46 cents per kilowatt.

Prius Prime @ $3.00 per gallon of gas at 54 miles per gallon equals 5.66 cents per mile for gas.  I drive 20,000 miles per year @ 54 mpg = 370.37 gallons @ $3 per gallon equals $1,111 per year or $92.59 per month.

UPDATE:  my local utility - Riverside Public Utilities does have an average rate of 12 cents per hour for after hours charging if I qualify for time-based electrical metering. 
Chevy Bolt gets 238 miles per 60 kilowatts or 3.97 miles per kilowatt and at 
.12 cents per kilowatt @ US average = 3 cents per mile (my rate)
.33 cents per kilowatt @ average charging station = 8.3 cents per mile

If I charge at home and pay 12 cents per kilowatt; my yearly mileage 20,000 / 3.97 mpkw  = 5037 kw per year @  12 cents per kw equals $591.94 per year or $49.33 per month.

Here are my strengths for each car.
Bolt: not quite as ugly, better pickup, easier controls, silver CA HOV sticker may last longer than green stickers but not certain.
Prime: approx $50 lower total cost per month despite higher fuel costs, Toyota reliability, dynamic cruise control from 0 - 100, no range anxiety

I might wait for new 2018 Nissan Leaf information to be released in fall before deciding.  Rumors are 200 miles plus range and partially freeway auto-drive.  Hopefully, they can keep it under 40k.  I would love auto-drive when crawling on the freeway for an hour at 5 - 10 mph.
 

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Prius 1st Gen (Before 2016) shift to gas mode over 62.  So the Prius owners have to stay under 62 to get the 'electric s... (more)

forbin4040 (Aug. 09, 2017 @ 1:48p) |

This country is subsidized by gas. The oil producers pay huge amounts of taxes. For 2013 Exxon wrote a $25 billion dolla... (more)

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No they did not.

They paid $24.3B in income taxes.

Most of their taxes were paid to other nations.

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rated:
Does your utility offer time of use pricing (i.e. lower rate at night when demand is lower allowing you to charge your vehicle cheaper)? You're right to look at all the inputs to see if EV is worth it. For new EV cars state and federal incentives depend largely on your taxable income. Use costs depend largely on gas vs electric rates.

I have a Chevy Volt and love it, my electricity is just on $.12/kWh.

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wow, the rate is high down there. The HOV would be worth it all by itself.

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Some electric providers can install a separate meter for EV use. SCE is one of those.

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I just checked my electric bill for SMUD in Sacramento, CA. The summer rate base is 12.9 cents per kWH.

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lonestarguy said:   Some electric providers can install a separate meter for EV use. SCE is one of those.
  Might be but the separate rate is worse than the EV rate.

If you live in a Condo, then Adding a separate meter is the only way to go, unless you love plugging into 110V (And your parking stall is close enough).
I don't recommend it unless you own your own home.

It's roughly 4kwH for 10 miles. so 25 mpg = 1.30.  So with 3.00 gas you are paying less than 1/2 of the price even after all the loss in charging.
 

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You're figuring out why electric cars are less than 1% of the market.

Batteries don't get charged with a 100% efficient process. 80% perhaps in ideal conditions... probably 70% is more realistic. There'd likely be situations where you would want to rent a gasoline car for road trips and you'd also be wasting your time waiting for it to charge at stations (how much is your time worth?). 

Electric cars don't really make any sense economically. If you want a HOV sticker then maybe it is worth it.

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EdMcK515 said:   Does your utility offer time of use pricing (i.e. lower rate at night when demand is lower allowing you to charge your vehicle cheaper)? You're right to look at all the inputs to see if EV is worth it. For new EV cars state and federal incentives depend largely on your taxable income. Use costs depend largely on gas vs electric rates.

I have a Chevy Volt and love it, my electricity is just on $.12/kWh.

 
I did email my utility over the weekend to see if they have a reduced rate but couldn't find anything on their website.  The Volt looks nice.  I also was looking forward to the 2018 Nissan Leaf.  It is supposed to have a 200-mile range and single-lane auto-pilot.

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I used to have SCE. I believe the 10pm+ rate was ~9-12c/kwh for EV charging. On the same meter as the house. I would set the timer for the dishwasher ect to also go at 10pm to save more.

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I love how California claims to be the most progressive state, but the never pass up an opportunity to reward the "socially conscious" decisions of the rich.

The lower class get some of the highest gas prices in the country. "Don't like it, buy an electric!" But the lower class can't afford a brand new car. "We'll give you a tax credit so you can afford it!" Nope, sorry, still can't afford it. Maybe make it bigger and only available to the lower class? "Nope, everyone that can afford the car gets a $7,500 tax credit AND a HOV sticker. You're welcome upper-middle class and upper class."

That's real progressive of you Cali.

EDIT: iseetrails points out below that the credit is federal and not state, so Cali doesn't deserve the blame I give it

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meade18 said:   I love how California claims to be the most progressive state, but the never pass up an opportunity to reward the "socially conscious" decisions of the rich.

The lower class get some of the highest gas prices in the country. "Don't like it, buy an electric!" But the lower class can't afford a brand new car. "We'll give you a tax credit so you can afford it!" Nope, sorry, still can't afford it. Maybe make it bigger and only available to the lower class? "Nope, everyone that can afford the car gets a $7,500 tax credit AND a HOV sticker. You're welcome upper-middle class and upper class."

That's real progressive of you Cali.

Actually, it is the federal tax credit of $7500 that requires you to owe $7500 in federal tax, not including SSI, to qualify.  It is the US congress that chose to give the tax credit to the upper middle class and rich.

The California rebates don't require you to earn a certain amount to qualify; and because they are running out of money; rebates are only available to people earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

It is the US congress that excluded the poor and working class from getting the credit.  California ran out of money and they are still giving it to the poor that buy electric cars.  

It is actually our poor that live in inland air polluted cities that benefit from the better air quality.  The rich live within 5 miles of the coast where you have nice fresh air on most days.

I fully understand people the live in other US areas that don't understand this.  I lived in Oklahoma City and Richmond VA and I never walked outside and said, "I think all the car exhaust is just going up in the air and staying there".  The asthma I had as a child living in Pasadena CA also cleared up when we moved out of state for several years.  We can finally safely exercise outside on most days of the year because our air quality has improved because of these burdensome regulations.

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brettdoyle said:   
Electric cars don't really make any sense economically.

  they will after a few more years of elon putting in 168 hr weeks

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iseetrails said:   
meade18 said:   I love how California claims to be the most progressive state, but the never pass up an opportunity to reward the "socially conscious" decisions of the rich.

The lower class get some of the highest gas prices in the country. "Don't like it, buy an electric!" But the lower class can't afford a brand new car. "We'll give you a tax credit so you can afford it!" Nope, sorry, still can't afford it. Maybe make it bigger and only available to the lower class? "Nope, everyone that can afford the car gets a $7,500 tax credit AND a HOV sticker. You're welcome upper-middle class and upper class."

That's real progressive of you Cali.

Actually, it is the federal tax credit of $7500 that requires you to owe $7500 in federal tax, not including SSI, to qualify.  It is the US congress that chose to give the tax credit to the upper middle class and rich.

The California rebates don't require you to earn a certain amount to qualify; and because they are running out of money; rebates are only available to people earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

It is the US congress that excluded the poor and working class from getting the credit.  California ran out of money and they are still giving it to the poor that buy electric cars.  

It is actually our poor that live in inland air polluted cities that benefit from the better air quality.  The rich live within 5 miles of the coast where you have nice fresh air on most days.

  

And in general its REALLY hard to argue that CA doesn't already take gobs of money from the rich and use it to benefit the poor.

 

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I hope you're not a skier. We got trapped overnight by a snowstorm in Tahoe, and had we been in an EV I think we'd have likely died.

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ganda said:   I hope you're not a skier. We got trapped overnight by a snowstorm in Tahoe, and had we been in an EV I think we'd have likely died.
  
No.

A Teslas 60KWh battery could keep a car warm enough in freezing temperature for several days.   

 

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I would say stop looking at Prius Prime. It is only 11 miles electric. Instead go for Chevy Volt.

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ganda said:   I hope you're not a skier. We got trapped overnight by a snowstorm in Tahoe, and had we been in an EV I think we'd have likely died.
  I figured I would get a cheap rental cars for out of area vacations.  It never gets much below 32 degrees in So Cal. unless you travel to the mountains.  If I was a skier; my post would have been about when would Suburu get HOV access? 

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Get a Nissan Leaf if the range fits your needs. They have a free charging program for 2 years. I'm not sure if that includes leasing. I would recommend leasing because the car will depreciate like a rock when you buy it. Check to see if you qualify for the CA $2,500 rebate. Also check out leasehackr to see what people paid.


https://www.nissanusa.com/electric-cars/leaf/charging-range/charging/no-charge-to-charge/

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brettdoyle said:   Batteries don't get charged with a 100% efficient process. 80% perhaps in ideal conditions... probably 70% is more realistic. There'd likely be situations where you would want to rent a gasoline car for road trips and you'd also be wasting your time waiting for it to charge at stations (how much is your time worth?). 

Electric cars don't really make any sense economically. If you want a HOV sticker then maybe it is worth it.

  
Not to say you're wrong in any particular aspect, but I would like to mention a few counter-points, in the interest of a full discussion.

** Of course electric cars have conversion losses.  Lady Physics is a harsh mistress!  However, purely internal-combustion-powered cars are even further from 100% efficient.  They waste over 2/3rds of the stored energy in a gallon of gasoline, in the form of noise and heat. 

** And that's just losses right there at the point of use (the vehicle).  It doesn't even address "well to wheel" efficiency.  Extraction resources and costs aside, production of gasoline requires somewhere from 4 to 8Kwhr of electricity to produce and refine a gallon of gasoline, depending on the analysis methodology used.  That much juice is enough to directly power 12-30 miles in an EV at highway speeds, and much more at city speeds.

** >> How much is your time worth
While it's parked, not much!   I have a Volt, and that's when I charge it: during the workday or at night when I'm asleep.

** As for the need to rent a gas vehicle for longer trips, that's only true for people who actually do go on long trips, and don't already own a second, gas-powered vehicle.  Many EV households are multi-car, already.

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It's not worth it in the summertime when electricity rates are too high.

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tedteddy said:   It's not worth it in the summertime when electricity rates are too high.
  In CA the EV rates are roughly same after 10pm in summer or winter 13 cents for TOU-D-B
So there is no change if you use an EV.
 

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BlearyEyed said:   
brettdoyle said:   Batteries don't get charged with a 100% efficient process. 80% perhaps in ideal conditions... probably 70% is more realistic. There'd likely be situations where you would want to rent a gasoline car for road trips and you'd also be wasting your time waiting for it to charge at stations (how much is your time worth?). 

Electric cars don't really make any sense economically. If you want a HOV sticker then maybe it is worth it.

  
Not to say you're wrong in any particular aspect, but I would like to mention a few counter-points, in the interest of a full discussion.

** Of course electric cars have conversion losses.  Lady Physics is a harsh mistress!  However, purely internal-combustion-powered cars are even further from 100% efficient.  They waste over 2/3rds of the stored energy in a gallon of gasoline, in the form of noise and heat. 

** And that's just losses right there at the point of use (the vehicle).  It doesn't even address "well to wheel" efficiency.  Extraction resources and costs aside, production of gasoline requires somewhere from 4 to 8Kwhr of electricity to produce and refine a gallon of gasoline, depending on the analysis methodology used.  That much juice is enough to directly power 12-30 miles in an EV at highway speeds, and much more at city speeds.

** >> How much is your time worth
While it's parked, not much!   I have a Volt, and that's when I charge it: during the workday or at night when I'm asleep.

** As for the need to rent a gas vehicle for longer trips, that's only true for people who actually do go on long trips, and don't already own a second, gas-powered vehicle.  Many EV households are multi-car, already.

  
Not really sure what that has to do with anything... my point is that the electric cars don't make sense economically. If you're looking at Miles per gallon like OP is, then you're already evaluating the efficiency. 

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brettdoyle said:   Not really sure what that has to do with anything... my point is that the electric cars don't make sense economically. If you're looking at Miles per gallon like OP is, then you're already evaluating the efficiency. 
  
 >> my point is that electric cars don't make sense economically. 
I agree that they're not the best choice for everyone, but they certainly DO make sense for some people.  Like any situation, it depends on all the variables.  Personally, my TCO has been at least 20% lower than a similar gas-only car, for five years running.  And that is *excluding* the effects of tax credits.  I consider those "icing on the cake" as they are artificial and temporary.

Naturally -- if your electricity costs are high, the math changes.  Or if your driving patterns don't leverage an EV's strengths, etc.
 

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brettdoyle said:   You're figuring out why electric cars are less than 1% of the market.

Batteries don't get charged with a 100% efficient process. 80% perhaps in ideal conditions... probably 70% is more realistic. There'd likely be situations where you would want to rent a gasoline car for road trips and you'd also be wasting your time waiting for it to charge at stations (how much is your time worth?). 

Electric cars don't really make any sense economically. If you want a HOV sticker then maybe it is worth it.

  
Depends on where you live, here electric power is CHEAP.  It cost me more to have it delivered than to be generated.  

The reason electrics are 1% of the market is the high initial cost and there is no breakeven point.  Tesla aimed at the rich with theirs and STILL gave away free charging to sweeten the pot.  Batteries are not cheap enough yet.
---

As soon as they improve power density/weight/price (pick 2) the gasoline car is dead as a dodo.  This is the early adopter stage, but the ICE is like the horse.. eventually the "horseless carriage" is going to displace it.   I figure 10-15 years at most.  In about the same time frame the cars will be mostly autonomous, maybe 20 at the outside.   After that most people won't need to "own" a car because it will cheaper to use a car-share service.  Humorously enough there are 3 different dockless bike shares that all moved into Dallas at the same time -- there are colorful rentals everywhere downtown.  Far more than I can imagine there is demand for.  3-4 per block. 
 

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PG&E has reduced overnight rates...

https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/rate-plans/rate-plan-optio...

I still ended up going solar, but the off-peak charge pricing really helps.

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Not sure how far you drive or range you need, have you considered used? Last fall my my wife picked up a off lease BMW i3 REX for 22K, 2014 with only 10,000 miles and the 600cc gas range extender for emergencies. It will run 80 miles on electric the has a two gallon gas tank and a 600cc engine driving a generator for I would guess another 60 miles. We have never needed it. no oil changes, air filters, tune ups, if your all electric no smog checks i would imagine. It is HOV legal in Arizona. Used electric vehicles are relatively cheap. Plus we have solar. If we are going on vacation we jump in my ICE mobile...

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if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane

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tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
 

You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

rated:
iseetrails said:   
meade18 said:   I love how California claims to be the most progressive state, but the never pass up an opportunity to reward the "socially conscious" decisions of the rich.

The lower class get some of the highest gas prices in the country. "Don't like it, buy an electric!" But the lower class can't afford a brand new car. "We'll give you a tax credit so you can afford it!" Nope, sorry, still can't afford it. Maybe make it bigger and only available to the lower class? "Nope, everyone that can afford the car gets a $7,500 tax credit AND a HOV sticker. You're welcome upper-middle class and upper class."

That's real progressive of you Cali.

Actually, it is the federal tax credit of $7500 that requires you to owe $7500 in federal tax, not including SSI, to qualify.  It is the US congress that chose to give the tax credit to the upper middle class and rich.

The California rebates don't require you to earn a certain amount to qualify; and because they are running out of money; rebates are only available to people earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level.

It is the US congress that excluded the poor and working class from getting the credit.  California ran out of money and they are still giving it to the poor that buy electric cars.  

It is actually our poor that live in inland air polluted cities that benefit from the better air quality.  The rich live within 5 miles of the coast where you have nice fresh air on most days.

I fully understand people the live in other US areas that don't understand this.  I lived in Oklahoma City and Richmond VA and I never walked outside and said, "I think all the car exhaust is just going up in the air and staying there".  The asthma I had as a child living in Pasadena CA also cleared up when we moved out of state for several years.  We can finally safely exercise outside on most days of the year because our air quality has improved because of these burdensome regulations.
 

So, the government should pay you to buy a car? That's rich! You do realize that a subsidy to one is coming from the pocket(s) of other(s)?
 

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ganda said:   I hope you're not a skier. We got trapped overnight by a snowstorm in Tahoe, and had we been in an EV I think we'd have likely died.
The backup of CO from a gas engine would probably be more likely to kill you. Check out the posts on people camping in their climate controlled Tesla's.

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amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
Prius's do drive slow in Socal.  It's a pretty safe bet that the slow driver is driving a Prius.  That said, there are also plenty of fast Prius drivers here.  Not all Prius drivers are slow, but most slow drivers are Prius drivers.

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Model X Owner here. If you want electric, you must have a secondary ICE car. When I travel to SF, there's no Tesla quick charging in the city. And I don't want to leave my car at some place to charge for 10 hrs either (level 2). I have to drive to the east bay or the north bay (think Marin), then I'm screwed.

I just drive the Honda Accord b/c of 600 miles or range on a tank and I don't really care too much if it gets dinged up a little when I travel far.

If you make unscheduled trips in an EV, you will really feel range anxiety. Either that, or you know, stick around some place for hours waiting to charge to get enough juice home (assuming that noone else is using those chargers when you arrive).

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amhidogha said:   
So, the government should pay you to buy a car? That's rich! You do realize that a subsidy to one is coming from the pocket(s) of other(s)?

  You do understand that the gas in this country is subsidized, right?

rated:
amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
You know WHY they are doing it, right?

The traffic "flow" speeds in Texas are WELL above what the Prii consider "too fast" for economy and the idiot light comes on around 60, so they slow down until it goes off.  THEN the traffic slows and they have to tap the brake.  The idiot light comes on AGAIN!  So they get into the fast lane where nobody is in front of them and accelerate until the idiot light tells them to stop accel because it wastes gas and they back off until it goes off.  

The "economy" light trains them to drive like tools.  (some of them have the reverse -- its a "happy light" instead of an "idiot" light but it has the same effect)

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riznick said:   
amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
Prius's do drive slow in Socal.  It's a pretty safe bet that the slow driver is driving a Prius.  That said, there are also plenty of fast Prius drivers here.  Not all Prius drivers are slow, but most slow drivers are Prius drivers.

  
Al Gore III -- whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming -- was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff's deputy

OLD NEWS: Al Gore's Son Speeding an a Prius 

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goldsheet said:   
riznick said:   
amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
Prius's do drive slow in Socal.  It's a pretty safe bet that the slow driver is driving a Prius.  That said, there are also plenty of fast Prius drivers here.  Not all Prius drivers are slow, but most slow drivers are Prius drivers.

  
Al Gore III -- whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming -- was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff's deputy

OLD NEWS: Al Gore's Son Speeding an a Prius

  

Fake news.   Everyone knows a prii can't go over 50 mph
 

rated:
riznick said:   
amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
Prius's do drive slow in Socal.  It's a pretty safe bet that the slow driver is driving a Prius.  That said, there are also plenty of fast Prius drivers here.  Not all Prius drivers are slow, but most slow drivers are Prius drivers.

  I'm trying to understand this Prius driver meme you've got going on here -- when you refer to "left lane" are you meaning the carpool lane (which CA drivers get to use if their vehicle is electric)? Otherwise, why would Prius drivers as a whole elect to drive in the fast lane if they are not fast?

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sfchris said:   
riznick said:   
amhidogha said:   
tantuti said:   if you end up with the Prius. Please do not drive 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane
You may be thinking of Texas. OP is in California. Nobody in California (atleast LA/SF bay area) drives less than 15 above the limit in the left lane) . I know I didn't Hated trucks in TX driving 50 in the left lane in a 70 zone! 

  
Prius's do drive slow in Socal.  It's a pretty safe bet that the slow driver is driving a Prius.  That said, there are also plenty of fast Prius drivers here.  Not all Prius drivers are slow, but most slow drivers are Prius drivers.

  I'm trying to understand this Prius driver meme you've got going on here -- when you refer to "left lane" are you meaning the carpool lane (which CA drivers get to use if their vehicle is electric)? Otherwise, why would Prius drivers as a whole elect to drive in the fast lane if they are not fast?

  Prius 1st Gen (Before 2016) shift to gas mode over 62.  So the Prius owners have to stay under 62 to get the 'electric savings' hence why the joke that Prius's drive slow.

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cr3s said:   
amhidogha said:   
So, the government should pay you to buy a car? That's rich! You do realize that a subsidy to one is coming from the pocket(s) of other(s)?

  You do understand that the gas in this country is subsidized, right?

  
This country is subsidized by gas. The oil producers pay huge amounts of taxes. For 2013 Exxon wrote a $25 billion dollar check to the US treasury.

Skipping 1 Messages...
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brettdoyle said:   
cr3s said:   
amhidogha said:   
So, the government should pay you to buy a car? That's rich! You do realize that a subsidy to one is coming from the pocket(s) of other(s)?

  You do understand that the gas in this country is subsidized, right?

  
This country is subsidized by gas. The oil producers pay huge amounts of taxes. For 2013 Exxon wrote a $25 billion dollar check to the US treasury.

  

No they did not.

They paid $24.3B in income taxes.

Most of their taxes were paid to other nations.

You have to scroll all the way down to page 91 of the 10k to see how its broken down and even then its not clear what the US tax bill was.   THeres ~2B negative taxes in a corporate and finance section not broken down as US or foreign.    

At worst Exxon paid ~$3.9B to the USA in income tax in 2013.     But if that negative $2B was in the US then their US bill could have been as low as $1.9B.

How much did the US government and specifically our military spend protecting Exxons interests abroad?
 

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