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Unread 05-15-2007, 01:25 AM   #1
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Hybrid car owners....let's chat

OK, gas is $3.49/gallon here. I drive an average of 400-600 miles a week going to work & doing gigs. The cost is killing me & it's time to get something a bit more economical. Riddle me this....
  1. Who drives a hybrid car/suv?
  2. How much gear can you haul in your hybrid car/suv?
  3. Which is the best hybrid for a musician?
  4. What kind of payments am I looking at?
  5. Do you feel it saved you a ton of $$$?
  6. Is it worth it?

And the other option I'm looking at is car/suvs with 30+MPG ratings.
Right now, I'm looking at the Honda Fit, Ford Escape Hybrid & a few others.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 07:00 AM   #2
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You may want to also consider a slightly older (pre-2006) VW Jetta wagon with the TDI engine. You'll easily get 600 miles on a single tank of diesel, and you can use biodiesel in them too, if you want to support renewable resources.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 07:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
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gas is $3.49/gallon here

1 gallon = ??? liter ??????

Sorry for my english
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Unread 05-15-2007, 07:31 AM   #4
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I don't have a hybrid, but I sold a few of them. When looking at a hybrid, you want to factor in your driving habits, typical commute, and most important; do the math first.

Driving habits. Slow and steady accelerations and stops will increase your mileage in any vehicle. I get 16 MPG in a Ford F-150 with a 302 because I drive it like a little old man. I piss off a few motorists, but they can tell me how to drive when they want to fill my tank.

Next, look at your typical commute. Hybrids really shine at about 90%+ stop and go driving. If you spend half of your commute on a freeway, your chances of significant savings are less.

Finally, the math. You will typically pay a premium price for a hybrid because of limited availability. For example, Ford offers it's Escape SUV in a hybrid model. We sold those for $31000, and people could buy a regular Escape with a V6 for around $26000 (or less). At one time, people were paying brand-new prices for used Toyota Priuses. If the difference in mileage is, say, 20 MPG, how much gas do you have to save to make up for the extra $5000 you paid for the vehicle?

Then there are the pitfalls to watch out for. For instance, in the Ford Escape hybrid, if you have the heat or air conditioning on it uses the AC compressor which means the engine is always running.

FWIW, when I bought my 2005 Mustang, we had to get it from Hailey, ID. They wanted an Escape Hybrid in return, so one of our service advisors drove the hybrid down and my Mustang back. The Mustang got better mileage (no hybrid advantage without stop and go driving )

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Unread 05-15-2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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There's a mod out for the Prius, too, that allows it to run entirely on batteries and switch over either when the battery dies or to recharge the battery and it can plug in. If i had money, thats what i'd do.

As it stands, i just drive a compact car from the late 80s
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Unread 05-15-2007, 07:55 AM   #6
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I'm holding out for the flying cars, you know they're on the way.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Burtch View Post
Driving habits. Slow and steady accelerations and stops will increase your mileage in any vehicle. I get 16 MPG in a Ford F-150 with a 302 because I drive it like a little old man. I piss off a few motorists, but they can tell me how to drive when they want to fill my tank.
Jesus Christ. Not a dig at you Ken, but Jesus, I thought cars that inefficient died out back in the 90's. No wonder you Yanks are so against actually being taxed on your fuel. As it stands, you guys pay nothing for it.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:27 AM   #8
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Jesus Christ. Not a dig at you Ken, but Jesus, I thought cars that inefficient died out back in the 90's. No wonder you Yanks are so against actually being taxed on your fuel. As it stands, you guys pay nothing for it.
F-150 = Full size truck.



[action=Ken Burtch]knows people who barely get 12 MPG in similar trucks.[/action]
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:40 AM   #9
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Well, my car gets 60 mpg in everyday, real-world driving conditions, and i can fit a 2x12 combo in the back and a guitar or two and a bag-o'-pedals up front with me.



My brother has a Prius with the EV mod (which lets him drive short distances in electric-only mode... he hasn't done the plug-in mod) and i'm not sure what mileage he gets, but he does a fair bit of stop-and-go commuting. My parents also just bought a Camry hybrid, which is also giving them an average of about 40 mpg US in everyday driving conditions. Both the Camry's and the Prius's 4-cylinder engines are optimized for economy over power.

But as Ken said, the most important thing after what you drive is how you drive. A lot of people who like jackrabbit starts, racing around at top speed and braking heavily at every stop will see very little advantage at all from a hybrid drivetrain.

There's a device called a ScanGauge that you can plug into your car's OBD port, and it will give you real-time fuel consumption numbers, which are VERY useful in helping you figure out which of your bad driving habits are sucking down the fuel more, and which good habits will let you cruise most efficiently. A bunch of people in the smart community have these, and some poeople are pushing some serious mileage. One person even achieved 100 mpg.

Diesels are great... they require a bit more in regular maintenance, but they are mechanically simpler than gas engines and will run forever if looked after.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:44 AM   #10
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stitch, what ever you do, dont ever tell americans we get cheap gas, a riot might ensue

try out a saturn shannon, i'v always had them and they kick ass on milage

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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Burtch View Post
F-150 = Full size truck.



[action=Ken Burtch]knows people who barely get 12 MPG in similar trucks.[/action]
No it isn't! Its a pickup, just a big one!

This is a truck:


I.e, BIG.

60mpg sounds more like a real number Darren.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Next, look at your typical commute. Hybrids really shine at about 90%+ stop and go driving. If you spend half of your commute on a freeway, your chances of significant savings are less.
Depends on the hybrid. The Escape or Highlander, yes, they lose most of their advantage on the highway. The Prius? I still clobber econocars, getting 55 or so on the highway with A/C on.

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Finally, the math. You will typically pay a premium price for a hybrid because of limited availability. For example, Ford offers it's Escape SUV in a hybrid model. We sold those for $31000, and people could buy a regular Escape with a V6 for around $26000 (or less). At one time, people were paying brand-new prices for used Toyota Priuses. If the difference in mileage is, say, 20 MPG, how much gas do you have to save to make up for the extra $5000 you paid for the vehicle?
Consumer Reports did that exact analysis. Generally, if you own the vehicle for more than five years, you start crossing the that threshold. However, if you buy the $23,000 Honda Element instead of the $31,000 Highlander Hybrid, you never catch it within the lifetime of the vehicle.

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Then there are the pitfalls to watch out for. For instance, in the Ford Escape hybrid, if you have the heat or air conditioning on it uses the AC compressor which means the engine is always running.
Really? Then their programming is different than Toyota's is (despite the fact that they licensed the system), because the Prius only runs the engine for the compressor when it otherwise wouldn't when the climate control is outside their predefined "comfort zone" (5 degrees). In my experience, this really only happens on startup.

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FWIW, when I bought my 2005 Mustang, we had to get it from Hailey, ID. They wanted an Escape Hybrid in return, so one of our service advisors drove the hybrid down and my Mustang back. The Mustang got better mileage (no hybrid advantage without stop and go driving )
Hybrid SUVs definitely do not excel like the Prius, where the aerodynamics of the car are tuned for maximum mileage.

I've had a Prius for two years as my daily driver. I hit 50 MPG (not a guess, since the computer measures it at the injectors, so you know EXACTLY what your real MPG totals are) for long periods of time on a regular basis. It's nice, but I actually bought the car for a.) the Virginia HOV exemption, and b.) the size-to-mileage ratio. (It has an interior passenger room that comes close to Camry.)

Given your parameters, a Prius probably doesn't have enough room, whereas something like the Fit does, and will pay off better in the short-and-long term.

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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:46 AM   #13
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But as Ken said, the most important thing is how you drive. There's a device called a ScanGauge that you can plug into your car's OBD port, and it will give you real-time fuel consumption numbers, which are VERY useful in helping you figure out which of your bad driving habits are sucking down the fuel more, and which good habits will let you cruise most efficiently. A bunch of people in the smart community have these, and some poeople are pushing some serious mileage. One person even achieved 100 mpg.
Yeah, I love that feature on my Prius. It's funny, I average 10 more MPG than my wife. Go figure.

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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:48 AM   #14
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stitch, what ever you do, dont ever tell americans we get cheap gas, a riot might ensue

try out a saturn shannon, i'v always had them and they kick ass on milage
Well, right now petrol is 95.9p at my local pump. Thats about $1.94.






Except that is per litre. Per gallon would be roughly $7.30. So don't you ....ing 'riot' me.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:54 AM   #15
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i'm sure its more there, but you guys probably dont have to drive nearly as much as us yanks, we have to drive constantly everywhere for everything, not that you dont, but its smaller over there

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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:57 AM   #16
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i'm sure its more there, but you guys probably dont have to drive nearly as much as us yanks, we have to drive constantly everywhere for everything, not that you dont, but its smaller over there
Thats the daftest arguement I have ever heard! Sure, we're smaller, but its not like an island with only three roads - we have an entire freakin' country full of roads. And that wouldnt explain why it was cheaper. If anything, if you guys have to drive everywhere you need to be taxed more and the tax used to build alternative transport.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 08:58 AM   #17
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Even in Canada, our gas is more expensive than in the USA, but not as expensive as Europe. We're currently hovering around CAD$1.10 per litre, which works out to around USD$3.80 per US gallon.

Let's put this in perspective: In the USA (and in Canada, to a lesser extent), gasoline (which needs to be found, extracted from the ground, refined and shipped halfway around the world) is still cheaper than most premium brands of bottled water (which are more often than not, just filled at a spring-fed faucet).
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:00 AM   #18
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Even in Canada, our gas is more expensive than in the USA, but not as expensive as Europe. We're currently hovering around CAD$1.10 per litre, which works out to around USD$3.80 per US gallon.

Let's put this in perspective: In the USA (and in Canada, to a lesser extent), gasoline (which needs to be found, extracted from the ground, refined and shipped halfway around the world) is still cheaper than most premium brands of bottled water (which are more often than not, just filled at a spring-fed faucet).
Do you know what is ridiculous? Less than 200 miles away from me are oil rigs extracting shit out the ground. And i pay twice as much as you.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:00 AM   #19
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American and Canadian urban development (i.e. sprawl) came about because of cheap, plentiful fuel and governments spending billions of dollars on an interstate freeway system.

That's all changing now, and more attention is being paid toward urban densification, bringing jobs back to the cities and making urban areas more habitable without having to drive everywhere.
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:01 AM   #20
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This is coolbut it is totally getting derailed into a discussion about petrol costs, and Shannon wanted a discussion about Hybrid cars. Sorry!
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:09 AM   #21
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We could always join the "HEY GUYZ DONT PUMP GAS MAY 15TH LOLZ" group
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:13 AM   #22
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I'm more for the petrol/gas cost discussion over the hybrid one :P

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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:14 AM   #23
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Then perhaps someone should make a new thread and save Shannon's one.

I hear he is good frineds with Mr. Test
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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:25 AM   #24
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I looked seriously at the Prius when I bought my Camry, and opted out at the last moment for two reasons - first, I was able to get a much lower price and promotional financing on the Camry, whereas I wouldn't be able to on the Prius (I can't give exact figures because we continued negotiating after I dropped the Prius, but my car payments are probably $75 a month cheaper on the Camry than they would've been on the Prius) and I'd just moved and started a new job so I didn't know if the difference would be a problem. Second, because Priuses are damned near impossible to find. I couldn't properly test drive the one they had in stock because someone else'd already bought it, but I was able to get a quick spin around the block in the passanger seat. The night I bought ym Camry, I was told they were taking delivery of an as-of-yet-unclaimed Prius the next week, but they didn't have information on options, colors, etc. I'd have to commit basically sight unseen, and I wasn't ready for that.

As it stands, I still get relatively good mileage from the Camry (I average one tank a month on a 20-minute-each-way commute plus random midweek-weekend driving, with a 16 gallon tank), and it's a partial zero emissions vehicle, so I don't feel too bad, but there's a good chance my next car will be a hybrid.

Shannon - there also may be government subsidies or tax breaks available for hybrid owners. Do some research and see if your state offers anything.

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Unread 05-15-2007, 09:38 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
You may want to also consider a slightly older (pre-2006) VW Jetta wagon with the TDI engine. You'll easily get 600 miles on a single tank of diesel, and you can use biodiesel in them too, if you want to support renewable resources.
I agree with this. For mileage, this is the way to go. Plus, you could send Donnie behind the Applebees to steal their fryer fat!

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