Reasons Not to Buy a Hybrid Car (yet)

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At the risk of heresy, here are good reasons to wait on buying a hybrid vehicle:

1. Hybrids cost more upfront; Sticker price along with taxes including sales and license fees tend to be 10-30% higher, usually about $3,000 or more. However, it is $1,500 between equivalent equipped Camry and Camry hybrids. Whether you make this difference up depends; on 1) when you sell it 2) resale value 3) your income tax situation 4) how much you drive 5) your insurance company 6) the state you live in 7) how you finance your vehicle 8) where you take it for service 9) what type of warranties you bought 10) where you park and how you commute. A study of typical consumer showed that most did not calculate these economic variables, and bought hybrid for image related reasons. This study also claims owners of hybrid and a non-hybrid vehicles will choose to drive the non-hybrid vehicle over the hybrid, which is driven only for "show." Omninerd has developed an incredibly detailed look at the economics of [[Hybrid Cars|hybrid] dated from 2005. [1] In 2006, "Escape Hybrid taxi drivers say they may save more than $6,000 on gas per year" more than enough to cover the hybrid premium in the first year. [2]

2. Hybrid vehicle choices are limited, but expanding dramatically every year; waiting may be better. Larger and less expensive hybrid cars, trucks, and SUVs will become available.

3. Hybrids on the market today rely on gasoline and E15, for which there is no synthetic substitute (unlike diesel engines, which can run on bio-diesel).

4. Car battery disposal, when the car eventually is retired. There is no known methods on the disposal of these rich sources of nickle and could potentially create dangerous environmental impact but less than a NiCD battery and toxic lead. The 12V batteries in all cars are highly recyclable since the infrastructure is very well in place, unlike the newer batteries used in hybrids. Sad to say, not enough batteries have failed to require a disposal infrastructure and the salvage batteries are selling on Ebay for plug-in projects.

5. Extra weight and usually lack of performance in terms of acceleration and speed except at low speeds where the electric motor torque gives excellent accelleration. Heavy cars require more energy to move, and greatly affect safety and handling. The Camry hybrid is about 300lbs more than the Camry XLE counterpart but Toyota reports the hybrid has a net power of 187 hp verus the XLE 158 hp. The addition of an electrical engine in the front of the car and a battery pack in the rear right behind passenger seat increases the polar momentum of the car compared to the XLE, which in turn make the car unstable in corners on rally race tracks. Cornering instability is especially noticable in adverse weather conditions. Yet the even heavier XLE-V6 with a larger, heavier engine in the front does not have a placard limiting trunk loads to avoid the reported cornering instability.

6. Real world mileage is lower than the EPA estimates when not driving EPA profiles.

7. A controversial study by an auto industry-friendly analyst claims that it takes more energy to manufacture a hybrid than a regular car. The reportedly rigorous study claims the energy consumed by a Hummer is less than a Prius over their entire lives (due to higher design and manufacturing energy costs for the Prius and a shorter projected life span). The study, of course, has been attacked by environmentalists and those who read the Dept. of Energy fleet report, INL/CON-05-00964, where the first generation hybrids went over 160,000 miles with no appreciable loss of performance. But this study raises interesting questions to consider such as how all SUVs got unusually high lifetime mileage. Here is a link to a summary of the study's findings.[3] The original study is available from CNW Marketing at: [4]. A critique of the study is at [5].

See also Top Reasons to Buy a Hybrid Car.