Hybrid and Town Budget Questions ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid and Town Budget Questions

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hybrid and Town Budget Questions

I was reading a story on the use of a Prius in a town's fire department (See story about evansville) and a few questions popped into my head.

But first the story. The article writer wants you to know how, by buying three Prius, the town was saving money on fuel costs. Although the lack of power was evident in the Prius, it wasn't really a big deal because the department inspectors were using them in-town, non-emergeny stop and start driving.

That sort of situation suits the Prius perfectly, resulting in fuel economy at three to four times what they were getting using Crown Victorias.

"It's a considerable savings," he said. "And not only were (the Crown Victorias) not doing well on gas, but they were probably putting out more pollutants than we'd care to talk about at this point. So it's a win for everyone, I think."
But, that made me wonder if the reporter was emphasizing the right thing. The initial cost of a Prius is well over the initial cost of a Crown Vic. So, even though the fuel savings were great, I would have emphasized the 'green,' less polluting, aspect instead.

I'm pretty sure the maintenance costs would be similar, but it would have been nice to point that out as well.

The question remains. Obviously the environmental considerations are very important, but a town budget can be tough to negotiate. I'm left wondering how they pushed through the purchasing price? Did they get a discount? Was their a rebate involved? What about tax issues? Did the state help out?

What do you think? Are hybrid cars like the Prius, obvious choices for local communities?
"It comes down to dollars and cents," he said. "Provided the lighting system and radios work, we're going to be extremely happy with this."

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Anonymous said...

Actually, hybrids generally have LOWER maintenance costs. For example, Intellichoice rates the Prius as having very low costs, and studies from bus transit agencies have also shown great benefits in lower maintenance.

I'm surprised to see that a hybird blog would assume equal maintenance costs. Please check into this.

Mike said...

You make a very good point with your examples, but I think you may be missing something.

While it's true that hybrid cars tend to have lower routine maintenance costs, the problem is a lot of local mechanics either still refuse to work with hybrid cars, or just don't how to deal with any issues you might face (just look at what Georgia has had to go through to check for emissions levels for a prime example). Which means you may need to go back to the dealer for even routine issues.

Which means your costs are higher than for someone who goes to the local mechanic.

Satisfaction levels are very high with hybrid owners, and part of that is how well they have been built. Which in turn means you will probably need to go to a mechanic less often than if you buy a more conventional car. But, because of having to deal with the dealership, I believe the costs tend to even out in the long run.

But, of course, your story may be different than others.

BTW, there are other areas where buying a hybrid pays off. For instance, you can still save money in the long run because demand for a used hybrid is still high, so your resale value for a hybrid tends to be higher.

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