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Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.

By Andrew Pollack on 11/18/2007 at 09:33 PM EST

I want to know. How many of you have driven with the headlights off a bit longer than you would otherwise do? How many have turned off the radio - or just turned it down? What else have you done while driving, secretly hoping to extend the time on the batteries and make it just a little further without that engine starting up?

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re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Vitor Pereira on 11/19/2007 at 06:16 AM EST
No. I sometimes avoid turning on the A/C, but I leave the lights switch in auto
and it just turns them on when it 'thinks' it's appropriate.
What's on your mind?
Nothing really. It just crossed my mind that once you have the display...By Andrew Pollack on 11/19/2007 at 09:01 AM EST
...there might be an almost video game like quality to trying to optimize it
further by altering your driving habits and conveniences.
re: Nothing really. It just crossed my mind that once you have the display...By Vitor Pereira on 11/19/2007 at 01:45 PM EST
I see what you mean now, it can get addictive.
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Timothy Briley on 11/19/2007 at 10:43 AM EST
I guess my question for Prius owners would be why did they buy the car in the
first place? It can't be to save money.
I have good friends in London, for whom it saves a bunch.By Andrew Pollack on 11/19/2007 at 10:48 AM EST
The new traffic rules in London allow owners of hybrid cars access to parts of
the city that otherwise require a significant toll which is somewhat onerous to
pay within the require time. The system for paying the toll is tedious for
them at best, and the toll isn't small.
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Vitor Pereira on 11/19/2007 at 01:41 PM EST
Timothy, I'm not sure what you mean. If you buy a hybrid in most countries in
Europe you save on sales tax. In my country you get a 40% tax reduction (not a
refund, it's an immediate discount). We also save on yearly car taxes and like
Andrew said on various tolls.
But I do agree that the most important bit is the driver changing his habits
and learning how to use a car efficiently and not the technology.
Andrew, did you just get a Prius?
No, and if I were in the market, that isn't an option for me.By Andrew Pollack on 11/19/2007 at 02:21 PM EST
I am an evil big-car-driver. I have three kids and stuff to transport, I live
where it snows and ices, and I have to get to the fire station reasonably
quickly in some pretty nasty weather.

I'd love to have a high mileage car as a secondary choice for when its me and
one kid or just me and the weather isn't bad -- and truly that is most of the
driving, but affording two cars just for me doesn't make sense.

For high mileage right now, I'd be looking at some of the fancy new diesel
stuff the German companies are doing or maybe look at the some of the new small
SUV's powered by them -- BUT -- I still believe the economics have to make
sense or we're not really saving anything (including the environment).

I drive a Pacifica that I very much like. I miss my old Durango a great deal,
but the new ones are too big.
re: No, and if I were in the market, that isn't an option for me.By Vitor Pereira on 11/20/2007 at 03:59 AM EST
Nothing evil about it, you seem to need it.
I do know what you mean about the snow and ice, growing up I spent a lot of
time in northern Massachusetts, it can get nasty.
You do have some hybrid SUV's but I am not sure they will save you money.

Where I come from volunteer firefighters get special prices from some car
manufacturers. Do you?
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Timothy Briley on 11/21/2007 at 09:43 AM EST
As far as I know, here in the U.S. there are no traffic lane advantages and no
tax incentives for a Prius.

According to the reports I've read, a hybrid typically costs $10k more than the
same car with a conventional engine. You would have to own this car for a long
time to break even as long as gas is about $3 a gallon and the gas savings
compared to a conventional version of the same type car is only about 10 mpg in
real life.

When you add in the lousy performance of a hybrid compared to a conventional
car...well I've got a 2006 MX-5 that is an absolute blast to drive and still
gets 25/30 mpg town/highway.

As far as the environment is concerned, a conventional new car is pretty close
to zero emissions anyway. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, you
would have to drive a new car from NY to LA to produce the same amount of
emissions as running your lawn mower for one hour.

It does appear that you have traffic and tax incentives to purchase a Prius in
Europe that we don't have here in the U.S. I didn't know about those; that's
why I asked.
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Jon M. on 11/21/2007 at 06:03 PM EST

1) a Prius got traffic lane advantages in California until very recently (its
just too popular there now), and still has it in the Washington DC area where I
live, and in other US cities as well.

2) A Prius costs nothing like $10k over a comparable car. Some hybrid SUVs,
etc., do. But a Prius is more comparable to a stock Camry than a stock Corolla
or Yari, the sort of thing folks making such a claim use for comparison. Note
that one source of this confusion, too, was that Honda and for a while Toyota
offered the hybrid version of standard cars only as their top-of-the-line
model, with the best HP, amenities, etc. Only the Civic hybrid was really
comparable to the standard model, and it wasn't 10K extra in cost, either.

3) The Prius at least gets decent performance in its intended class, doubles
the mileage you claim, and emits vastly less emissions.

4) Saying most gas lawn mowers are grossly polluting hardly means that cars
don't pollute. And there are many, many more cars than lawn mowers.

In addition to the above, my Prius received federal and state tax credits; it
is absolved from local property taxes; and I get a discount on insurance.
Maintenance on the Prius so far has been much less than most other cars on the
market; and it depreciates more slowly as well. All for the $25k I was going to
spend on a new mid-sized sedan anyway. All in all, I'm very happy with the
economics, and mystified at the folks who don't think it adds up.

Things are probably different in Europe where high-mileage diesels are
available, but in the U.S. Prius has a virtual lock on the affordable, useful,
high-efficiency car market.

And to answer the original query: we don't really alter our driving habits at
all with the Prius. My wife in particular is still a fast acceleration/fast
stop sort of driver.
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Jim Huffman on 11/20/2007 at 08:29 AM EST
I've tried lots of those but I like the 'nitrogen filled tires'..! Nitrogen in
the tire as opposed to ordinary air, maintains the air pressure you wanted as
it isn't constantly expanding and contracting therefore your rolling resistance
is much lessened !! Try it !!
Ashland, KY
I can't tell you how bogus that sounds in terms of cost/benefitBy Andrew Pollack on 11/20/2007 at 08:38 AM EST
I'd love to see real studies of that which actually show careful controls that
measure the differences vs. cost of the nitrogen inflation.
re: Question for any Prius or other Hybrid car owners.By Jon M. on 11/21/2007 at 06:05 PM EST
Nitrogen filled tires? Not on a Prius, anyway.

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