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Monday, June 16, 2008

Hybrid-Be or Not To Hybrid-Be ??


Anybody else getting tired of saying, "This is the most I've paid for a tank of gas...ever!"......and you keep on saying that week after week after week? We're at about $70 per tank each week (250 miles on a tank...15 mpg). We've got an SUV that we love to death...it has everything on it and hauls all of the things we need to think about (walkers and wheelchairs for our parents, dog things, camping gear, airline suitcases). But I got to thinking that we spend about $280 each month to go 1,000 miles...and the future for gas prices going down is not pretty. It's a cost that will continue to rise over the long-term. So, we've been hashing about the possibility of switching vehicles. And I'm picky, I might add. I absolutely hate giving up the hauling space/capacity and I love sitting up nice and high in the SUV. We owe about $13K on ours, the payment is reasonable. So, if you know me very well, you'd know that I've traversed the Internet over and over, inside and out, looking, comparing, reading reviews, etc. I always do my homework. We've come up with several possibilities that have ended up with these on the top: 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid and the 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid. Both would cost us a chunk of change to get into....around $30K. But the fuel savings and emissions-lessening is huge. So, our monthly payment would go up pretty well but our monthly gas bill would lower dramatically. The Camry is a beautiful car, we looked at one the other day to check out the trunk space. It actually gets around 33-35 in the city, more than double what we get now. The only reason the Saturn Vue is on the list is that it's the least expensive SUV hybrid around right now with some fairly decent ratings. The other deal is this: You can hardly even find a hybrid on a car lot right now. And they only stay there for a day or two. The Saturn dealer told me that there are only 200 hybrids in the entire nation right now. And the Toyota dealer told me that there are no Prius vehicles at all right now....and that they aren't even taking orders. This is just wild! So, your opinions? Thoughts? I thought I'd toss it out there for your good, balanced, responsible ideas.

16 comments:

Brad said...

The hardest part may getting any value for your SUV. Dealers don't want them because they can't sell them.

Lemuel said...

I was with you up until the "...good, balanced, responsible..." part. I've not had one of those kind in quite a while now. ;)

bridgeout said...

I just a news special last week where they were balancing out the cost of getting into a new hybrid vs. the costs of fuel and savings etc. Depends on the long term goals. If the person were to keep the hybrid for many yrs. the savings would add. up. Last year when gas was HALF what it is now, I traded my 2005 Dakota for a 2003 Jetta diesel... solely for the reason of going from 15mpg to 45mpg. Now that diesel is more expensive than gas--that is hard. But I can use bio diesel w/o conversion--AND I tripled my mileage. All that to say I guess that if you have a long term plan-- the extra outlay can be worth it.

RAD said...

We got rid of the SUV in Jan....Thank Heavens-- I say get a gas saver car-any that you fancy....We got a Nissan Altima and we love it.... it doesnt have to be a hybird...but if you can first find one and then maybe get a good price then get the hybird. We borrow a truck from a freind when we need to haul stuff...Are you not downsizing the house anyhow-- I say sell the SUV after the move to the cute townhome in downtown PDX....

Anonymous said...

You need to keep what you have.
No use assuming more debt. And I would never buy another Saturn. I've had four--the first two were great. The third was an SUV and a financial and mechanical nightmare--Saturn would not stand by the warranty on the transmission and the fourth which is also an SUV is doing fine now but.....Saturn is not standing behind the products and your research should reveal this--terrible sales for all models (also a GM problem.)

Check out SaturnFans--a moderated web site.

This gas crisis and the food crisis is caused by our poor exchange rate and speculators in the marketplace.

Lots in Houston have several used Prius models. Speculation is these are leased models and folks are turning them in while the units are under warranty before huge $$$$ are required to service/replace the battery packs.

We've gone through these energy crisis before and those who panic loose in the end--2/4/8 Olds/Cads and diesel Oldsmobiles.

dit said...

brad is right, dealers are giving next to nothing for the SUV's now. We drove a Prius and I was amazed at the space and how little fuel it uses. We are thinking about purchasing a hybrid also.

If you get a diesel, it can easily be converted to run on bio-diesel. Or vegetable oil. There is actually a station in Brentwood that you can pump vegetable oil into your car. Crazy. Point being the auto makers are coming up with options.

Good luck in finding something that suits your needs.

Alexander said...

I just read an article today that said Toyota is have a really hard time keeping up with demand.

Anonymous said...

We've had Toyotas for a long time, wonderful cars, good company and they're really on the front line for pushing for more fuel-economic vehicles. Basically, they're leading the way. I don't know much about Saturn, but they seem nice, especially if you want a SUV.

Anonymous said...

You should check out TOYOTA YARIS.

"Just David!" said...

Your Prius dealer is full of it, there's a ton of them sitting down here at dealerships. They're not big sellers down here in gas guzzling Texas, this is big pick up truck territory. Excuse me while I gag! How about a smart car? 2 seater, great excuse to make your friends drive everywhere, think of those gas savings! Ha! Personally, I'm thinking about a scooter!

Ur-spo said...

My beat up old honda gets 35mph so i am satisfied to keep it.

David said...

An SUV? Where's my fainting couch?

As a user of mass transit, I can't offer any experience on models, but it seems to me that if you can afford it, you should make the switch.

Anthony said...

Hybrids are not all that environmently friendly as they say they are. Ask those dealers about that very large battery that can not be recycled, or the "warranty" on said battery. A friend was just hit with a $3,000. repair bill for one and the car isn't 2 years old yet.

Doug said...

I'm a fan of diesel cars. I currently drive a 2003 VW Golf diesel and get 40+ mpg. Chris drives a 2006 VW Jetta diesel and gets 45 mpg. Diesels are getting cleaner and quieter, and they are oh-so-reliable.

Jason_M said...

How long would it take for the gas savings to repay you for the loss of value of your SUV in a sale and the added cost of a hybrid? Some stuff I've read suggests that the ultimate savings are really less than imagined. Plus manufacture of the hybrid battery takes a very big chunk of energy and cuts into the perceived savings in carbon footprint. Plus the pleasure of your SUV! I'd wait. New technology is coming along.

Mark in DE said...

You will spend more $$ on car payments for a hybrid then you will ever save on gas by driving a hybrid.

Hybrids are a great option if you simply want or need a new car. But don't fool yourself by thinking you'll "save money" by buying a hybrid. It will take 20 years of gas "savings" to make up the purchase price. In 20 years there will be cars that do not run on gas.

Mark :-)