Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hot for a Hybrid?
Things to Consider

With the rising price of gasoline, more people are considering hybrid cars. But here are some important things to consider [thanks to Jack for the pointer; please note that the original article contains extended details for each of the points listed below]:
  • What's available? Right now, there are just 10 hybrid vehicles available in dealer showrooms...
  • How a hybrid works. Where they differ is in how the gas and electric motors work together.
  • What's the fuel mileage? As an example, "...Consumer Reports found that in its regular driving cycle it could do no better than 25 mpg on average in its Accord Hybrid, just 2 mpg better than a test of a gasoline-only V6 Accord."
  • What about the environment? [the impact is smaller than many might think]...And there's another -- as-yet-unexplored -- environmental issue with hybrids: What's to be done about recycling or disposal of those highly toxic battery packs when they wear out?
  • What about maintenance and durability? far there isn't enough real-world experience to know for sure how hybrids are going to fare over the long haul.
  • Are hybrids a good buy? Based solely on the price of a gallon of gasoline, it makes no economic sense to buy a hybrid in comparison to the same vehicle with a gasoline-only engine. ... Even if the cost of gasoline goes to $5 a gallon, the 122 gallon difference would save you $610 and it would still take almost four years ($2,390 divided by $610 is 3.9 years) to recoup the extra cost of the hybrid. [see the article for the details]
  • What about tax incentives on hybrids? True, tax breaks will offset some of the higher costs of a hybrid and reduce the time it would take to break even, but not by much.
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