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GasBuddy News Article

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Hybrids' Unlikely Rival: Plain Old Cars

Bloomberg Businessweek -- When Doug Hacker decided he needed a car that was light on gas, he figured a Toyota Prius hybrid was the way to go. Many of his co-workers at Procter & Gamble’s soap research lab in Cincinnati drove Priuses and bragged about getting more than 50 miles per gallon. After a little research of his own, Hacker made a surprising discovery: While more costly hybrids still win the mileage competition, he could save more money by buying a Ford Fiesta powered by a technology that’s been around for 151 years—the internal combustion engine. That’s because the efficiency of conventional engines has improved so much that the mpg gap is closing, making it harder to justify paying more for gas-electric hybrids.

“I was surprised to see that cars like the Fiesta were actually about a nickel cheaper ...


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Submitted Feb 24, 2012 By: BurntOrange
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Hybrids' Unlikely Rival: Plain Old Cars Back to Topics
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
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niceguytx
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Feb 26, 2012 10:11:51 AM

we have failed to find a better option yet.
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Gas_Eyes
Champion Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 11:22:17 AM

Hybrids and EV's are still too expensive. Why is there not much on CNG cars. It is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. It is somewhere about 40% cheaper than gasoline. The US has an over abundance of it that the producers are trying to export it. Why not build more CNG stations?
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oldhillbillyAZ
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 4:01:45 AM

I agree with Mr. Hacker...
Comparing the Prius to the Fiesta...
My experience Fiesta 1000 mile trip... Avg. 36-37 MPG
2010 Toyota Prius 1000 mile trip... Avg. 51-52 MPG
The Toyota cost approx $8-10,000 more...

If gas mileage to Vehicle cost is the only criteria then Mr. Hacker is right.
However if comfort has any value then the Gap narrows. Especially if you need a back seat. The Fiesta has none...The Toyota can accommodate (4) 6'plus 250 lb. Hillbillies...
500 miles in the Fiesta I was Beat !!!
500 miles in the Prius I felt fine !!!
As you get older comfort moves up the list of priorities, but gas mileage/
cost is still at the top.
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Amplion
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 3:24:54 AM

My Straight Six RWD is doing far better than the Toyota it replaced !!!
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kkimes
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 2:33:41 AM

"The hybrids just cost to much over all.....not worth the extra money."

By that line of reasoning, every Cadillac, Mercedes, Lexus, Jaguar, etc cost too much and aren't worth it. After all, the cost to own them for 5 or 10 years will never be as low and a Honda Fit because of the cost of depreciation. So why isn't everybody driving a Fiat 500 or a Ford Fiesta? Believe it or not, some people like a bit of luxury in their cars. A Toyota Camry hybrid is a nice low end luxury car with great gas mileage and I plan on getting one next month.
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rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 12:50:23 AM

The problem with hybrids is the manufacturers can't let go of their old paradigms. Put an electric motor in each wheel and get rid of all the junk between the engine and the wheels. All you need an engine for is to drive a generator to keep the batteries charged. And if that's all it's doing, the engine can be a lot smaller and simpler, optimized to run efficiently at constant load.

You don't need a transmission, drive shaft, differential and all the rest. They just waste energy.

And money. And weight.
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pse91
All-Star Author Calgary

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 12:46:09 AM

Good for Doug.
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judgemobile
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 12:09:24 AM

read my lips: NO NEW GAS TAXES !!
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us4usa
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 12:09:14 AM

Few can afford a hybrid, the ones that can already have one...
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kgbellman
Champion Author Ann Arbor

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Message Posted: Feb 25, 2012 12:03:18 AM

No need to over buy
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OmieCA
Veteran Author California

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:58:50 PM

Nice!!!! So he went back and laughed at all his coworkers... So now they all hate him and he's a loner... Way to go Doug... Way to go!
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sammy518
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:58:14 PM

ooooo, I'm already trending this one!
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Throroughbred
Champion Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:57:50 PM

EVs still have a way to go. Don't let Obama pull another fast one on you like he's attemped to do with so many.
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kgbellman
Champion Author Ann Arbor

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:56:49 PM

No need to over buy
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PoohMcGoo
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:56:28 PM

If they'd only make more 40mpg cars..
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Dodge_Me
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:56:22 PM

Ha
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Wierbe
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:55:56 PM

Always compute all of the numbers to make a wise decision. It is not just MPG. Consider purchase price and upkeep as well.
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tippybuddy
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:55:35 PM

sadly I can't afford any Hybrid at this time
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FastAndy
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:55:29 PM

Hybrid technology has to improve as well to stay ahead.
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singlemom27
Champion Author Ventura

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:54:12 PM

Hybrids and EVs are not the answer.
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bonzoonfmb
Champion Author Florida

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:49:45 PM

Hybrid technology is not there yet or may never be.
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bif65
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:49:11 PM

ok
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hcivic
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:45:10 PM

wow
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melvindale
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:44:51 PM

pgerassi is correct. Good reply!

Hybrid vehicles should have tiny gas engines, like a Honda generator has, or a Briggs & Stratton engine. They would work much better and get those impressive numbers we expect.

Part of the problem is we expect all modern cars to have the acceleration of the fastest car in 1970. Virtually no one uses this performance. We should drive a car with the performance we need.

Good example: In 1975, Mother Earth News magazine built a hybrid car using an old Opel GT, a 5 horse Briggs & Stratton engine, a generator from an emergency generator, an electric motor from a forklift, and a bank of lead-acid batteries (maybe 6 or 10). They used no transmission, built it very cheap, got better performance than economy cars of the times, and got 75 to 90 miles per gallon fuel economy. They did all this without computer control.

Considering what amateurs could do in 1975 without computer control, why don't the carmakers of today build hybrids that get 100 to 200 mpg fuel economy, or more with plug-in systems.
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wwardyota
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:44:51 PM

there will always be price points

but a bigger point is ecology
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Sundarakhemesi
Sophomore Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:44:08 PM

I wish 2 own 1
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g747
Champion Author Mobile

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:43:29 PM

That's good if you can find them in decent condition;with minimum out pocket expenses to repair/parts availability; what is needed for vehicle efficiency.
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skybiker
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:43:06 PM

Getting 40 mpg on the hwy isn't the same as getting 52 mpg combined Hwy/city...
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MotoDad
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:39:29 PM

hybrids suck
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fenster66
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:37:34 PM

everything old is new again...
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eswi
Champion Author Madison

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:33:39 PM

OK
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gasmack
Champion Author Ventura

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:32:50 PM

Let's hear it for new
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ratones1
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:31:40 PM

not ready...
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gasmack
Champion Author Ventura

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:31:29 PM

Let's hear it for new
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pizzaman09
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:24:24 PM

DONT FORGET TO VOTE.
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ExplorerWA
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:22:32 PM

The hybrids just cost to much over all.....not worth the extra money.
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HDFXR1991
Veteran Author Wisconsin

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:21:16 PM

America wont survive long enough to see this.
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whaboush
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:20:56 PM

Making my last payment on my Ford Escape Hybrid next month!! I still love it!
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tidalwave3
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:20:46 PM

R&D still has a ways to go :(
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Chris46
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:18:22 PM

Hybrids cost too much compared to newer fuel efficient gasoline cars.
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The_DR
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:15:34 PM

not ready yet
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sjl08203
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:13:36 PM

Hybrids are not yet cost effective,
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Lukus
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:07:22 PM

Hybrids have not given all they should and they cost too much.
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hubhunts
Veteran Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:04:04 PM

Gas prices should go down and any car or truck would be fine not expensive repair kinds.And food prices would go down and all store items.Vote Obama out.
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Beaveronparade
Champion Author Hartford

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 11:02:32 PM

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting. It doesn't really surprise me much to hear this.
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gptrk
All-Star Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 10:57:17 PM

We have a Prius since 2008 and never has had a repair or a sign of problem. My wife drive it with a heavy foot and consitently get around 45 MPG. I tend to watch the jackrabbit starts but do runs at over 70 on the freeways and get up to 53 MPG. The car loves going up and down hills since it is assisted with the electric motor going up and regenerates the battery going downhill...mileage on full electric power reads the 99 MPG. Once when living in the state of Washington, climbing up to and coming back from Mt. Hood, my tankfull came out to 62MPG.

In the west, many of the Taxis are Priuses and in talking with the owners, they have run 300,000 plus miles without a new battery or repairs to their vehicles. Good luck with those small, "more efficient" cars on the market.
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sillywagon
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 10:49:03 PM

Our family's two vehicles are an 2003 Mazda Tribute (18 mpg on highway) and a 2006 Ford Focus Wagon (30 mpg on highway). Our family goal is to own them for at least the next five years. Any gas saving buying a replacement vehicle would be lost in the higher price of the replacement vehicle, no savings. But if one of our two vehicles became a money pit for a mechanic, or was involve in an accident... a replacement for either vehicle would with current 2012 models get at least 30% better gas mileage. 27 mpg highway for an SUV, and 38 mpg highway for a Focus hatchback.
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pgerassi
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 10:44:48 PM

Its not the concept of PIHEVs that are bad, its the execution of it. A PIHEV should have a small highly efficient engine that is just good enough and no bigger. Bigger just reduces MPG in typical cases. Conventional engines are most efficient at wide open throttle at the peak of the torque curve. This should be at the average speed of a car at some gear (best would be 1:1). Diesels gave better efficiency than conventional engines and turbocharged ones have better efficiency as well. Best is a turbocharged diesel that peaks in torque at the average highway speeds of 60-75MPH and the electric side takes care of speeds below that. EV-S is just those vehicles where the continuous electric power is larger than that of the sustaining engine. PIHEV is where the engine sustains higher power than the electric motor/battery does.

Since 30-40HP is enough to drive a compact car to over 90MPH, that is the largest engine that should be in a EV-S. In a PIHEV, the electric side doesn't need to produce more than 30-40HP (22.5-30KW) over long periods (>5 minutes) and the engine side should not be more than twice that (60-80HP). Most hybrids have engines and motors vastly bigger than those sizes and that is why they are too expensive to do well over a good enough conventional car. A PIHEV with a 30HP electric motor and a 40HP turbo diesel would cost about what a 125HP Fiesta does, but get far better MPG(e) in both urban and rural environments. That 30HP motor would allow the cheapest battery packs which are energy storage optimized (2C at 9KWH usable, 11.25KWH total) which costs about $2,000 (1K pack quantities). The 40HP turbo diesel also costs about $1,500 (1K units). That compares well with the $4,000 1K unit cost of the Festiva engine. The savings of $750-1,000/yr in fuel easily pays for the simple premium of $1-2K of the PIHEV.

A EV-S would pair a 30HP turbo diesel with a 40HP motor (50HP peak) which just needs a slightly better ESO pack (3C 10KWH usable 12.5KWH total) which goes for $2,500. The 30HP turbo diesel casts about $1,400. The premium for the EV-S is up to $2-3K, but the fuel savings is $1,100-1,250/yr. It takes an extra year, but the TCO is likely lower and the car lasts longer because the engine runs half to a third as much as the PIHEV's and 1/5-1/10 as much as the Fiesta engine.

The other reason for the high premiums is the laden option packages most hybrid makers require. To see the fair premium, the conventional car should be as option laden as the hybrid. In my opinion though, most of those options are there simply to jack up the profits and are totally unnecessary for the hybrid to work well.
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suzmar
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 10:39:47 PM

This isn't really news, when you factor in the price premium you pay for a hybrid, you can buy a lot of additional gasoline. The car will be worn out by the time you pay off the difference.
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carman11
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2012 10:37:20 PM

GO FIGURE. IT CAN NOT BE BETTER IF WE HAVE TO SUBSIDIZE THE PURCHASE PRICE.
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