5-15-08 by dugan
Early adopters of the Prius and other gas-electric hybrids weren’t
doing it for the money, since the extra cost would take five or
more years to make up with gasoline savings. Not so now. At current gas
prices, at least some models really are both cheaper and cleaner. For
instance, a hybrid Toyota Camry takes only 1.6 years to make up in
gasoline savings the $889 premium cost over a gasoline Camry, according to a study commissioned by USA Today. The Prius takes 2.6 years and the hybrid Nissan Altima 3.4 years over the gasoline Altima.
time frame would be even shorter if gasoline prices hadn’t driven up
demand for hybrids, so it’s not possible right now to make deals on
them. But as more hybrids hit the market, they’ll get back into
Of course, as LA Times auto poet Dan Neil recently wrote, there are some great-handling gasoline cars, like the Honda Fit, that get mileage in hybrid territory for actual subcompact car prices.
a Prius driver, I’ll admit that its greatest satisfaction is driving
past the gas station, over and over and over. But when I do buy
gasoline, I see more folks all but spooning a couple of careful gallons
into the tank of an older sedan, enough to get to the store or to work
or, as a recent "La Cucaracha" cartoon strip put it, "to the next gas station." It’s a constant reminder of why cleaner also has to be cheaper.