Thursday, May 8, 2008

Are Hybrids Really Worth It - Part 2

Last month, I wrote about the perceived vs real cost effectiveness of hybrid vehicles. My conclusion was that hybrid owners would have to keep the car for 7-8 years and/or gas prices would have to hit $7-9 per gallon to offset the higher purchase price of the vehicle.
We're starting see spy photos of the new 3rd generation Toyota Prius and the details that are being leaked are leading me to believe that cost gap is shrinking.

For example, the new Prius engine will be larger and more powerful (going from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters), but the hybrid system will be even more efficient so both performance and fuel economy will improve as well. The new electric motor will play a bigger part in the power delivery, and what this means is a short trip to the local post office might not require any fossil fuel at all!

Toyota has hinted that the new Prius will be priced at the same MSRP as the current Prius, possibly even lower for the base level Prius. Just imagine 6 months from now, when a new Prius can be had for $21,000 sticker with noticeably improved fuel economy and gas prices hovering above $4 per gallon. Perhaps the new Prius hybrids are really cost effective to own after all, with other tangibles like better performance and more interior room representing icing on the cake!

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