Sometimes Buying a Hybrid Car Does Not Make Sense ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Sometimes Buying a Hybrid Car Does Not Make Sense

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sometimes Buying a Hybrid Car Does Not Make Sense

The Scott County Board (Iowa) recently decided not to buy a hybrid car for all the right reasons. You see, they were weighing all their options and picking a hybrid just wasn't the right choice for them.

Instead they bought a subcompact, a Ford Focus. Now that makes a lot of sense to me.

When trying to decide on what type of car you should buy, you should consider how big it really needs to be. If you can buy a subcompact car, then you shouldn't consider a Prius or Civic Hybrid. The cost equation just won't add up.

But if you decide you want a midsize vehicle, then the Prius or Civic Hybrid (or Altima or Camry Hybrid) might be a great choice for you.

It all depends on your situation.

The Scott County Board made the right choice. At $12,215.97 for the Focus, the gas savings from buying a hybrid car (plus other incentives from the state and federal programs) will not make up the difference. Even when you add in the lower maintenance costs, the Board found the difference would still add up to $5,000. That's all the reason they needed to decide not to buy a hybrid car.

"My initial thought was that we should purchase one and see how it performs — vis-a-vis the rest of the car fleet — so we would have a true track record on maintenance and all the other things," Supervisor Larry Minard said. "It may not be that a hybrid is right for everything, but I think their real advantage is in-town driving."

Buying a hybrid, just to buy a hybrid, makes absolutely no sense. That's why I expect the new SUV hybrids from GM won't do very well in the long run. Yes, they increase the in-town mpg dramatically. But in the end, you'll still only be getting 20 mpg. Will the extra expense to purchase the hybrid model make sense for many people? I doubt it.

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