Bottom line is this, buy a used gas only car. You will spend less on the car. You will spend less in payment + fuel compared to a hybrid.
Note: Electric-only cars are so new, it is difficult to allow them into the discussion…yet. Maybe in a year or 2 we can. However, the Chevy Volt is real and deserves some attention. So let’s break it down.
Let’s start by understanding the Volt and how it operates. Fully charged, it will run all electric for the first 40 miles, then it kicks into gas power (generator). If you leave your house fully charged and full tank of gas and drive all day, you can deplete your tank and boast something like 230 MPG. These numbers are fuzzy and are not realistic for most of us. But, for the normal person who commutes to work each day, the number and formula for calculating costs will vary.
Here is my math. I used a 50 mile round trip commute. This means that you get the first 40 miles all electric and use 10 miles on gas. At $2.40 a gallon and an approx $1 of recharge costs, you spent $1.96 that day (Your fuel costs = $39.20 a month or $509.60 a year). That’s pretty good. A gas car getting 17MPG would cost your $7.06 a day, $141.18 a month, $1835.29 a year. 3 times the fuel costs right?
But here is where you need to pay attention. The Volt costs an estimated ($40,000). If you knock off the $7500 federal tax credit, let’s put that number at $32,000 (keep it rounded). A car payment would be $722.53 (4% for 4 years). Compare that to a used car of $12,000. Your gas car payment is $270.95 a month.
Here is the costs per year. This includes only the fuel costs + car payments.
Gas Car = $1416.09
Chevy Volt = $8160.76
Hybrid = $6394.67
The key point is not to buy too much car. Consumers get blinded by the shiny and new. Keep your head on straight and use these numbers to make a wise decision. I understand that car buyers will make decisions on other factors (interior, options, etc). I get it. The numbers above are raw costs and eliminate the emotion. The need should outweigh the want.
Editorial: As the hybrid and electric technology gets more mass produced, we should see the prices come down (note: this will also drive down the gas only prices too). Time will also tell us if the battery technology gets more advanced and cost effective. We do not have any hard numbers on replacement costs at this stage in the market. Battery replacement might be more expense than you are willing to spend.
Again, if you are simply a hard core tree hugger by all means go buy a hybrid. That is your right as an American. Power to the people.
Here are some other ways you can save the Earth, register your company domain name. Stop printing literature and sending postal junk mail. Build a website and get your message out.
Or Plant a Tree…
Or replace your lights in your house with Compact Fluorescent…