# Thread: Plug-in Hybrids - 95 year break-even cost for fuel efficiency

1. ## Plug-in Hybrids - 95 year break-even cost for fuel efficiency

The demand for plug-in hybrids proves that some people are willing to pay lots of money to brag about MPG numbers. Obviously the potential owners queuing up for plug-ins can afford to ignore that it takes 95 years to break even compared to regular hybrids. Never mind amortizing the added cost over regular cars.

From: http://www.news.com/8301-11128_3-9903014-54.html

"When do you break even?
A plug-in costs a driver \$1,168 to operate for 12,000 miles (with gas at \$3 a gallon plus electricity at 8 cents a kilowatt hour) while a regular
Prius costs \$1,010 for the same distance, according to RechargeIT. Because a retrofit costs about \$15,000, that means drivers don't break even
for 95 years, assuming gas hovers at \$3. "

Why is improving efficiency so inefficient you may well ask? I found this analysis on the Democratic Underground Environmental/Energy Forum of all places. It seems there are a few objective posters among the cool-aid drinkers:

From: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=115&topic_id=140631&mesg_id=140648

"When you get 40 MPG rather than 20 MPG, you cut fuel use in half!

An increase from 40 MPG to 60 MPG sounds just as dramatic (it's another increase of 20 MPG) but, in reality, it's nowhere near as dramatic.

Let's say you drive 120 miles.
In a 20 MPG car, it will take 6 gallons of fuel.
In a 40 MPG car, it will take 3 gallons of fuel. (Savings over 20 MPG: 3 gallons!)
In a 60 MPG car, it will take 2 gallons of fuel. (Savings over 40 MPG: 1 gallon!?)
In a 80 MPG car, it will take 1½ gallons of fuel. (Savings over 40 MPG: 1½ gallons!!?)
In a 120 MPG car, it will take 1 gallon of fuel. (Savings over 40 MPG: 2 gallons.)
In a 240 MPG car, it will take ½ gallon of fuel. (Savings over 40 MPG: 2½ gallons.)
In a 480 MPG car, it will take ¼ gallon of fuel. (Savings over 40 MPG: 2¾ gallons.)

That savings by going from 20 MPG to 40 MPG simply cannot be matched. In order to save 3 gallons of fuel over the 40 MPG car (as the 40 MPG car does over the 20 MPG car) you would need an MPG car."

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am quiet happy getting 30 MPG at 80 MPH in my 330i.

2. I don't know where you live, but a KWH hasn't been 8cents here for decades!!

Something else never discussed is the cost of simply rebuilding a conventional vs the cost of a new vehicle..in terms of environmental impact.

3. Never mind the cost of plug-ins, it seems that all Prius owners are not completely happy saving the planet:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/autom...ota_prius.html

4. Originally Posted by dynosor
"When you get 40 MPG rather than 20 MPG, you cut fuel use in half!

An increase from 40 MPG to 60 MPG sounds just as dramatic (it's another increase of 20 MPG) but, in reality, it's nowhere near as dramatic.
No wonder it isn't as dramatic.......since 20-40mpg is double and 40-60 is not and the base line is left behind?

I am sure each time it doubles, the savings will "Dramatically" keep pace without fuzzy math in unequal comparisons! LOL!

DC

• 20 to 40 is 2x....20 to 60 is 3x??? Don't matter, since my hybrid is getting 15 'round town....

What's funny to me is that my hybrid, a '95 Izusu Rodeo, gets only 15mpg for my daily work commute, but a guy I work with has a Prius that supposedly gets 50mpg (I'm no longer believing that), but commutes 70+ miles/day.

When you compare his TOTAL fuel consumption vs my TOTAL fuel consumption, I'm more "green" than he is. He'd have to get 189mpg to match me.

..my hybrid has a small electric motor that I have to manually engage. It starts the big oil-fired conventional engine with power from a small battery. When I'm at a stop light or I'm going to be stopped for a significant period of time I can manually stop the big engine, the restart the small electric motor when needed.

I've used this system for years in all of my cars with great success. When the battery or small electric motor fails, it's usually an inexpensive fix.

• Why is it that in 2008 with gas at over \$3/gal. I can't buy a car that gets an honest 50mpg. Back in the mid 90's I had a Ford Festiva that got 45mpg in all around driving. I checked my mileage all the time with that car and it was always right around 45. It didn't have air bags or ABS and it was a tiny little car, but it was well made, reliable, fun to drive and got an honest 45mpg. So, why is it that 15 years after they stopped making them that the best that the industry can do is make a car that gets under 40mpg?

• Originally Posted by orionstarman
Why is it that in 2008 with gas at over \$3/gal. I can't buy a car that gets an honest 50mpg. Back in the mid 90's I had a Ford Festiva that got 45mpg in all around driving. I checked my mileage all the time with that car and it was always right around 45. It didn't have air bags or ABS and it was a tiny little car, but it was well made, reliable, fun to drive and got an honest 45mpg. So, why is it that 15 years after they stopped making them that the best that the industry can do is make a car that gets under 40mpg?
One simple explanation is the addition of ethanol. Here in northern Nevada the premium grade has a percentage of ethanol all year round, as a result of California's own mandates. Mileage is down by as much as 25%....

....We were originally told here that our mileage went down in the winter period, when it was added to reduce emissions, it was because our driving habits changed during the winter. They thought we were stupid enough to believe that.

At first it was MTBE they added, but only here, not south in Carson City. On occasion I would run down there because gas was cheaper, and quickly discovered that my mileage was as much as 29% worse with the MTBE...tell ya what...my driving habits were not one iota different from one week to the next. The car was also more difficult to start in winter.

As I understand it, ethanol also has the added benefit of being harder on an engine because it dilutes the oil more....confirmation anyone??

• I don't buy it. They are making cars today with 200, 300 and sometimes more horsepower. If they wanted to I'm sure that they could make a car that gets 50+mpg. For some reason they are still trying to push those damn SUV's down our throats. I know that the technology is there but, I guess they just don't see any profit in making a car that gets that kind of gas mileage.

For a whole bunch of reasons this country needs to kick it's oil habit. People in this country are worried about Global Warming, they whine about the war in Iraq and then go out and buy a "Battle Wagon XL" SUV that seats 8 and gets 12 mpg or less to commute to work in the morning. I'm all in favor of personal choice and I know that some people need a big 4wd SUV or truck to pull a trailer or take a large family on camping trips and such. But, it just bugs me to see an 18ft long, 3 ton, SUV that can haul an 8 man road crew and all of their equipment being driven to work with just one 110lb woman aboard.

• Originally Posted by orionstarman
I don't buy it. If they wanted to I'm sure that they could make a car that gets 50+mpg.
"They" could make 50 MPG cars today. The recipe is simple: small frontal area and low mass, given reasonable performance by means of a correspondingly small engine.

Why don't "they" build them in or for the US? Because of crash safety standards. That, and the real perception that these little "crumple zones" just act as cushions in the event of a crash with a vehicle weighing two to four times as much.

While I don't like my forward view impeded by tall SUVs or even worse, one on my a\$\$, I support your right to buy whatever you want with your money.

If you want to mandate changes to save fuel, start with synchronizing traffic signals to maintain flow on main roads. Instead of bowing in awe to the mighty Pruis and its regenerative braking, keep traffic flowing at all costs to minimize the need for braking. That includes training drivers to read traffic and anticipate temporary hold-ups, instead of charging into situations where they have to make significant speed adjustments.

• Originally Posted by dynosor
If you want to mandate changes to save fuel, start with synchronizing traffic signals to maintain flow on main roads. Instead of bowing in awe to the mighty Pruis and its regenerative braking, keep traffic flowing at all costs to minimize the need for braking. That includes training drivers to read traffic and anticipate temporary hold-ups, instead of charging into situations where they have to make significant speed adjustments.
I've thought of this as well. We have one round-about just recently finished in a rural area that was a traffic nightmare stop light. There is no more 2 mile long line bottle necks at that intersection around 5pm. So much for me being skeptical of the idea at first. I love it!

Another stretch of road on my commute has 5 lights in maybe 3/4 mile. These are timed lights, not on demand and hardly ever stay synchronized. If anything, I think these help regulate the flow to major intersections, but damn annoying to be stopped at a every red light waiting for a NO CROSS TRAFFIC cycles.

What still gets me is our Metro Bus system and the officials that want mass transit as the only form of commuting. Not only is it a 1 tail pipe money pit with 3 riders plus the driver that will take 2hrs+ to go 20 miles. It is holding up 20 tailpipes behind it. Most of the polution out these pipes is at idle......waiting for a lame capacity bus with supreme right-of-way, to get the hell out of the way so traffic can flow. That is a hidden cost in wasted fuel on top of the tax supported social service that cannot survive on its own fares.

DC

• Originally Posted by dynosor
"They" could make 50 MPG cars today. The recipe is simple: small frontal area and low mass, given reasonable performance by means of a correspondingly small engine.
CORRECTION!!

YOU CAN make a car that gets 50mpg TODAY!!!

....LOL...I can't believe the irony.

• Originally Posted by fizzissist
CORRECTION!!

YOU CAN make a car that gets 50mpg TODAY!!!

....LOL...I can't believe the irony.

I was thinking of a car you can actually buy somewhere and that actually works, like this 78 MPG NON-HYBRID:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/consum...w/mauto497.htm

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