Hybrid Car Fuel Economy ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid Car Fuel Economy

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hybrid Car Fuel Economy

When people talk about hybrid cars, the conversation almost always turns to fuel economy.

  1. Do hybrid cars get better fuel economy?
  2. Are they worth the extra cost?
  3. What about those EPA numbers, are they accurate?
Our president talks constantly about our addiction to foreign oil. Congress is working on new legislation to increase fleet wide fuel efficiency. And everybody seems to be talking about high gas prices are.

Hybrid Car Fuel Economy Answers
The answers are simple.
  1. Yes, hybrid cars do get better fuel economy in general than most normal cars. In fact, according to fueleconomy.gov, they are the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road.
  2. And yes, they are worth the premium you need to pay mostly because you will save money on fuel.
  3. The EPA numbers are not correct for hybrid cars. But then, they aren't correct for any cars.
For more information, keep reading below.

Hybrid Car Sales and Fuel Economy
Hybrid car sales live and die by their fuel economy numbers. The Toyota Prius is the number one hybrid because it has the highest numbers out today. The 2008 model has a real world EPA rating of 48 city/ 45 highway. That makes it the most fuel efficient car on the road today.

The Ford Escape Hybrid is the most fuel efficient SUV on the road today, with a 31 city/ 29 highway rating from the EPA. That gives it one of the highest ratings of any car on the road today.

2007 Model Year Overall Fuel Economy Leaders

Rank Manufacturer/Model city/highway

  1. Toyota Prius (hybrid-electric) 60/51*
  2. Honda Civic Hybrid 49/51
  3. Toyota Camry Hybrid 40/38
  4. Ford Escape Hybrid FWD 36/31
  5. Toyota Yaris (manual) 34/40
  6. Toyota Yaris (automatic) 34/39
  7. Honda Fit (manual) 33/38
  8. Toyota Corolla (manual) 32/41
  9. Hyundai Accent (manual) 32/35,
    Kia Rio (manual) 32/35
  10. Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD 32/29,
    Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD 32/29
* Note the Prius numbers dropped from 2007 to 2008 because of the changes in the EPA ratings system. The EPA went to a 'real world' rating system for fuel economy.

But just being a hybrid is not enough. The Honda Accord Hybrid was recently set to retire by Honda because of low sales. The Accord Hybrid was built to improve performance, not fuel economy, and was set for failure ever since. The Honda Insight, despite its record fuel economy numbers, was also retired on low sales. Being a two-seater, it just wasn't a practical choice for many.

Hybrid Cars Are Greener
But being a hybrid can be good in other ways. The Honda Civic Hybrid, the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Ford Escape Hybrid are the top four greenest cars.

Hybrid Cars Are Economically Sound
While more fuel economic vehicles may be on the way, for right now hybrid cars are the most economical choices. A recent study by Intellichoice showed all hybrids would save their owners money in the long run. Most of those savings come from their high fuel economy numbers, but the federal tax credits, high resale value, and equivalent maintenance and repair bills all add up to the plus side for hybrid cars. Even mild hybrids such as those produced by GM (Saturn Vue Hybrid, for example) were shown to break even.

Our addiction to oil may not be broken by hybrid cars, but until those cars that run on hydrogen come along, they are certainly helping with their high fuel economy.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com


Anonymous said...

Holy crow.. talk about beating a drum. I guess I should have expect ed pure bias on "Hybridcardreview.blogspot.com"...

Anyhow, coming back to reality, it has been shown that TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a Hybrid (gas/electric) vehicle IS MORE EXPENSIVE than their non-hybrid counterparts.

In other words, when you take the premium you pay to the dealer for a hybrid car and calculate in the cost savings you get at the pump, over the average ownership lifespan of a car, the consumer doesn't save any money (on average, estimates show that the consumer actually pays more).

I'm not saying that getting a hybrid is a bad thing, though. I am saying that the false marketing of "Hey, if I buy this hybrid, I'm going to save oodles of $$" is misleading.

However, when you step back and look at the bigger picture, hybrids (gas/elec) reduce the overall consumption, but on a small scale. For a bigger impact, there needs to be more widespread adoption of hybrids and alternate fuel vehicles for a more powerful impact.

Getting away from gasoline/oil is really the point, and while hybrids are not the ultimate be-all solution, they are definitely the right step in the right direction.

Unknown said...

Actually, the total cost to own of a hybrid has been shown to be lower in the long run. You have to take advantage of the programs that are out there to do it, you can't do it on gas savings alone, but that's not really the point.

It's amazing how often the first thing people say when they start talking about hybrids is how you won't save money driving it. What other car do you say that about?

wkc said...

I'm with Mike. There are certainly factors beyond fuel economy to consider, like federal and state tax incentives and insurance costs (they are usually lower for hybrids). Both hybridcars.com and shouldigohybrid.com have great cost calculators that take all these factors into account. Some models are obviously more wallet-friendly than others. If you want to judge the financial ups and downs of hybrid, you really need to consider more than fuel economy.

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