Decoding the Automobile – Are Hybrids Worth Purchasing?

Decoding the Automobile – Are Hybrids Worth Purchasing?

 

Purchasing a vehicle today is an exciting and confusing time. With the huge field of choices in new vehicle design, look, options, and cost of ownership it could become a bigger decision then one would think.  Beyond the looks we have to look at the reasonableness of owning a vehicle.  Most buyers are looking at how they can get the most bang for their buck when purchasing a new vehicle or a used vehicle. In this article I will answer these questions as they pertain to hybrid vehicles based on my research; are hybrids the way to go?  With hybrids being more expensive to purchase up front, is it worth it to purchase now?  Will the vehicle give a good return on investment through monthly payments and fuel mileage saving?  So let’s answer some of these questions and see what my research suggests!

 

To keep this article from being a very lengthy one, we will compare three vehicle manufacturers that offer non-hybrid (gas powered only) and hybrids (electric and gas powered) for the same models. This article will focus on these three vehicles:

 

Toyota Camry Hybrid vs. Gas Toyota Camry

Chevy Tahoe hybrid vs. Chevy Tahoe gas

Ford Escape Hybrid vs. Ford Escape Gas

 

For the purpose of this discussion we will use the nationally recognized figure for what most people normally drive a year; 15,000 miles annually.  We will compare both city driving at 15, 000 miles and highway driving at 15,000 miles. If you would like to do a comparison of city and highway just take my results and calculate a percentage of driving based on your city/ highway driving habits. For example: The Toyota Camry hybrid uses 483.9 gallons of fuel in the city for 15,000 miles and 428.6 gallons of fuel driving all highway for 15,000 miles. Now take a 40% city/60% highway percent split. Here is how the mathematics works:

40% of 483.9 equal 193.56 gallons and 60% of 428.6 equals 257.15. Combine the city and highway gallons 450.71 gallons of fuel purchased annually! That is $1802.84 cents annual fuel cost for this vehicle at a 40% city/60% highway use by the owner in 15,000 miles. Now let’s look at the non-hybrid version of the Toyota Camry used in the same 40% city/ 60% highway use. The mathematics is the same as above but the results are 664.04 gallons of fuel used. Multiply this by $4.00 dollars a gallon comes out to $2656.16 in fuel cost for 15,000 miles at 40% city/60% highway use by the owner.  Compare the two fuel costs for this type of driving habit over 15,000 miles and the hybrid fuel saving annually is $853.32 dollars!  (Refer to charts at the end of page for more input on these numbers)

The cost saving that we have discussed has just been a fuel cost saving.  We have not even talked about the maintenance cost saving.  No longer with a hybrid do you have a 3 month / 3,000 mile oil change.  The reason for this is that the engine is not always running on a hybrid.  The vehicle will tell you when the oil change is needed.  The brakes could go up to 200,000 miles before needing to be serviced for the first time. On a hybrid vehicle the generator motors (called regenerative braking) on the drive-line help to stop the vehicle and in doing so the brakes are not used normally until about 6 miles per hour or less.  The only drive belt that is on the vehicle is for the water pump for the engine, everything else is driven by electric motor.

So the final question: Is it worth owning a hybrid?  Yes.  It leads to a change that is needed on dependency from oil production.  It is worth the change to make mother earth a cleaner place for the future.  Isn’t that what this choice is really about?

 

What do you think?

Resources:

2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid 2011 Toyota Camry Gas
MSRP $26,675 MSRP $19,820
APR                      5% APR                            5%
Term                    60 months Term                         60 months
Trade- in             None Trade-in                  None
Down Payment   $3000 Down Payment   $3000
Monthly payment $446.78 Monthly payment $317.41
2011 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid 2011 Chevy Tahoe Gas
MSRP $51,145 MSRP $37,980
APR                      5% APR                            5%
Term                    60 months Term                         60 months
Trade- in             None Trade-in                  None
Down Payment   $3000 Down Payment   $3000
Monthly payment $908.56 Monthly payment $660.12
2011 Ford Escape Hybrid 2011 Ford Escape Gas
MSRP $32,620 MSRP $26,122
APR                      5% APR                            5%
Term                    60 months Term                         60 months
Trade- in             None Trade-in                  None
Down Payment   $3000 Down Payment   $3000
Monthly payment $558.97 Monthly payment $436.34

 

 

Model Cost of Fuel During payment term (60months) Figured at 15,000 miles highway
Toyota Camry Hybrid $9678.00 city/ $8,572.00 highway
Toyota Camry Gas $13,636.00 city/ $13044.00 highway
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid $15,000.00 city / $13,044.00 highway
Chevy Tahoe Gas $20,000.00 city / $14,286.00 highway
Ford Escape Hybrid $8,824.00 city / $9,678.00 highway
Ford Escape Gas $13,044.00 city / $10,734.00 highway

 

Model City MPG Highway MPG
Toyota Camry Hybrid 31 35
Toyota Camry Gas (2.5L) 22 23
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid 20 23
Chevy Tahoe Gas (5.3L) 15 21
Ford Escape Hybrid 34 31
Ford Escape Gas (2.5L) 23 28

 

 

Model City/Highway Cost of Fuel at $4.00 a gallon of gas
Toyota Camry Hybrid 483.9 g/428.6 g $1,935.60/$1,714.40
Toyota Camry Gas 681.8 g/652.2 g $2,727.20/$2,608.80
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid 750g/652.2g $3,000.00/$2,608.80
Chevy Tahoe Gas 1,000g/714.3g $4,000.00/$2,857.20

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About William Reny

Working with a great group of friends. Currently I am a featured writer for Yahoo Auto. I am a published author with Pearson Publishing as a contributor to an Automotive Technologies book. I was an automotive technician for 14 years and a USAF F-15E crew chief while in service. I have two of the best kids on the planet. I am a super-fan of The Man of Steel and read DC comics every day. Thank you all who read my posts, you are the reason why I write! Please leave a comment, feed back is appreciated!