iRant: Clearing the Air

Okay, everyone. Read closely, jot down some notes, and spread the word. I don't want to say or type this again...

People do not buy hybrid vehicles to save money.

(Read that sentence again and do a double-take. Did it sink in?)

Yes, they cost more than their non-hybrid counterparts or equivalents. Thanks, Captain Obviouses of the nation. I agree that you shouldn't buy such a car with your prime goal of safe-guarding your clutchpurse. But please, stop mentioning this little "tidbit" when the topic comes up, like you are so enlightened with your devil's advocacy.

Yet speaking of devil's advocacy, take note that the most expensive Pruis is around $30K, which is far less expensive than many larger troop transports and hoopties busting up our roads. But still. People don't buy hyrbids to save money. So shut up.


Yes, they save fuel. There are many cheaper non-hybrids out there that get fairly similar mileage per gallon, like the Toyota Yaris and Corolla. Honda Civics do well, too. And others. But that's only part of the reason people buy hybrids.

Focus, Sally. Pay attention.

People buy hyrbid vehicles because they are environmentally-friendly! While this seems to be a Captain Obvious statement itself, I'm continually disappointed when no one seems to remember this aspect of these cars. In my estimation, it's a big selling point.

And in this way, hybrids are statement cars. But not status symbols like Cadillac Pimpcalades and Hummer busses and Chrysler 300 land yachts. And to me, a statement car is far superior to a status car. We don't need to know how small your "friend" is or for what inadequacy you're compensating. Just go develop a drug habit and give the ozone a break. Or go work out until you look like a cartoon super-mutant.

Are we clear?

Final Thoughts

If you want to save money on fuel costs, check your tire pressure. They should be inflated to their safety maximum. Tires that are fully inflated can increase fuel efficiency by about 10-15%, according to a test run by Senior Automotive Editor, Mike Allen, of Popular Mechanics. Also, use your cruise control when possible.


Remember, it's not about having the most efficient car on the planet, it's about using what you have wisely.

And Another Thing...

I almost forgot. Nobody is allowed to continue to compare the price of premium fuel to standard, as if the price gap is a bank breaker. It's 20 cents, people. You can pretty much count on that. So in a 13 gallon tank, that's a huge $2.60 price difference at the pump.

Likewise, stop driving an extra five miles for fuel that's a whole 5 cents cheaper. You just saved 65 cents to drive farther, Dr. Economist. When you taking the trip to Disney on that sweet payola?

Now stop reading and look at that iced mocha latte frappuccino freeze you just bought. How much did you pay for that daily treat, hmm? Nuff said.

13 comments:

Allie D. said...

Gorgeous rant, my dear. You make excellent points. I wouldn't drive on the other side of town specifically to receive a gas discount. It's more or less that because I live in the sticks (as you might remember... lol) and I have to drive on the other side of town for everything else. One thing that gets me though is that the big grocery store chain out here, Safeway, offers a 10 cent/gal discount if you spend over $50 on groceries. Even taking into account that it does reduce the price from say, $3.23 to $3.13/gallon, we're still only saving about $1.20 per fill-up (because we're only buying 12 gallons of gas on average). When one takes the time to do the math, it's NOT all that it's cracked up to be!! lol

I think that people these days, more than ever, feel more and more comfortable paying for an illusion. Whether it's with the illusion of saving money on gas or an illusion of safety. It's kind of sad.

kEnny said...

I had to laugh, Army. For you to include a Chrysler 300 in with Hummers and Pimpcalades, when your car gets comparable mileage to it, is rather hilarious.

As for the statement that people who drive a Prius make, I'm curious how many continue to make that statement by paying to replace their battery pack, rather than replacing the car. Toyota doesn't seem to banging the "buy a Prius so you can recycle the batteries in a couple of years" drum as loudly as they could be.

Thanks for the reality check otherwise!

ramblergirl said...

Fabulous rant! As someone who is looking into buying a new car in the next year I've dealt with all sorts of people telling me that a Prius won't save me much money in the long run. Because clearly that's the only reason anyone in life should do anything - money.

Bubz The Troll said...

A couple years ago I saw an article that showed a Mazda v6 hybrid sportscar prototype that uses a super capacitor instead of a battery because it charges and discharges faster plus it never needs to be replaced. Of course if congress would stop wasting time forcing the auto makers to get better gas mileage from gasoline powered vehicles and force them to make hydrogen powered vehicles this would all be a moot point (environmentally speaking). Water is the easiest source of hydrogen. Fuels cells vehicles turn the hydrogen back to water. For the Tim Allens of the nation Hydrogen can also be run in modified internal combustion engines. Now imagine a hydrogen powered hybrid I.C.E. that also has solar cells on the roof and a super capacitor. Your talking one fast, powerful, and efficient zero emission MOFO. Where's Mr. Obvious now?

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Army, from what I've gleaned about you, I trust you'll appreciate my own rant. 1. Hybrids are marginally environmentally friendly; part of the hybrid deal is to get max. power and use less fuel. An electric car saves more gas (though has its own deficits). But I agree with your overall point about hybrids making a statement. 2. The price of gas needs to go about one dollar higher for people to change their habits. People complain but still drive. Politicians of all stripes are gasoline enablers. 3. Ergo, add a dollar tax immediately and put the money into mass transit. Also, force odd-even gas sales like in the 1970s. I've been taking the bus, with the poor people. In Europe, and in American big cities, all people are On The Bus. And Bubz the Troll makes excellent points.

Army said...

Allie - yeah, that grocery market "savings" of 10 cents per gallon is a clever scheme against the unthinking. In theory it sounds great, but really you don't save dick.

Kenny - oh no you didn't! Firstly, I was calling out the Chrysler 300 as a status car. Secondly, my friend, I can officially state that my turbocharged sports car gets superior mileage to the 300. Anecdotally, I average 25-ish in town and 31 on the highway. I'd like to see that hoss go bumper to bumper on that economy.

Bubz - I'm still on the fence with hydrogen. While the emissions on those cars are sweet smelling, I don't like the idea of a getting in a car accident and my car blowing up once hydrogen met oxygen. Plus, as I understand, hydrogen itself is not combustile as a fuel source, so there are other "costly" components at play. Still, if they can make it work and prove its safety, I'm on board!

Pawlie - I love co-ranting! You are so right, though. A) People will only change when their pocketbooks are threatened, and B) The Government needs to impose some standards. And interestingly enough, the Senate is in the process of putting forth a bill to increase fuel economy averages by 2020. And Colonel Clusterf*ck will veto that at his earliest convenience, I'm sure...

kEnny said...

I gotta say "Yes I Did" here because most of the gaudy-er 300s are the cheaper ones, which made them much easier (financially) to pimp out. They have the smaller engines, which can get pretty much the SAME mileage you are quoting to us. My 1st generation LHS averages 25+mpg (when Allie isn't driving it), using an ancestor to the engine used in the mid-ranged 300 Touring. It is rated for 18/26mpg, where the base and Touring 300s are rated for 21/28 and 19/27 respectively. The base 300 is rated to get better mileage around town than your car!

Granted, it probably won't be nearly as much fun. Unfortunately, a lot of what this comes down to is how you drive, and the little details you pay attention to (like tire pressure) in order to squeeze the extra miles from your tank of gas (or any other means of propulsion).

Army said...

Oh Kenny, we could go round n' round on this one. And I won't refute any of your points because there's no need.

In my mind, I wasn't comparing my car (which is the top-end of the Mazda 3 line) to the baseline 300. My model gets the worst fuel economy because of the engine. When you look at the numbers on the stickers, the averages for the 3 are above that of the 300. But whatever...

I'm still sticking to the fact that in my original rant, I didn't single out the 300 as a gas guzzler. Merely, I stated that it has become very much a status car.

Now how about a virtual hug to make up?

Army said...

Ramblergirl -- sorry to leave out my reply to you!

But certainly, money is the only motivation in life. Without it, you are not only financially poor, but spiritually poor.

It's all... ALL... about the Benjamins.

kEnny said...

Hugs are great! Please accept my apologies. I wasn't trying to belabor the point so much as point out why I saw a slight incongruity.

Beth said...

Thanks for the props to Shell...I get that 9/10 of a penny for every gallon bought! And hey, it's those so-called "hosses" that put food in the belly of my baby. :)

By the way, Ben says it is all about him! Pompous ass...

Bubz The Troll said...

Army, I have seen a video showing the difference between a ruptured compress hydrogen tank in a car and a raptured gasoline tank in a car. In the hydrogen tank the flame shot out of the vehicles trunk straight up in the air as if from the nozzle of a flame thrower. The rest of the vehicle was unharmed. In the gasoline tank the entire car from trunk to engine was engulfed in flames within seconds. Why is this the case? The hydrogen is stored in gas form and can only rise straight up because it is lighter than the nitrogen rich atmosphere. Gasoline is however a liquid and can easily spread to the flammable contents (seats and people) of the vehicle in an accident. The notion a huge explosion is a hang up left from the Hindenburg disaster but you've got to remember that 80 years ago there was no NTSB and the Hindenburg was a big bag of gas not a hardened steal tank. Basically the storage issues is the only thing that's holding back hydrogen at this point. The company that developed the Nickel Metal Hydride battery is working on a storage device that can store hydrogen in solid form rather than a compress gas in order to save space in a vehicle.

Zeke said...

The only problem with the hydrogen technology is that you get less energy from the hydrogen so you end up having to refuel more often, and some moron decided that you could only get hydrogen by using electricity to split it off. Luckily the military is researching hydrogen production from human and animal waste via bacteria and we should be able to have the tech up and running in a few years. between hydrogen and hybrids I'd go with the hydrogen everytime, though a hydrogen/ electric car would be and interesting mix...