The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 April 2005

Conspicuous non-consumption

Cost-vs.-benefit ratio, from Undercaffeinated:

Honda Accord LX V-6 - $23,950; average MPG - 25

Honda Accord Hybrid V6 - $30,140; average MPG - 33

If you put 15,000 miles on your car a year, and gas costs about $2 a gallon, the hybrid saves you $300/yr.

It would take over 20 years to make the difference back.

Which is true, though there are other considerations: the Accord Hybrid does have some standard features which are optional on the LX, which narrows the price difference, and unlike Honda's implementation on the Civic, the Accord Hybrid actually offers a performance improvement.

But the numbers speak for themselves, which is why I think the ultimate beneficiary of hybrids will be — turn the Irony knob up to at least 9 — sport-utility vehicles: pushing 12 mpg up to 20 is a lot more of an improvement to one's pocketbook than pushing 25 up to 33. (Over 600 miles, this theoretical hybrid SUV saves 20 gallons of gas; the Accord saves a little less than six.)

Still, if your primary need is to feel clean and green, there's no substitute for the Toyota Prius, which screams "I CARE!" at every gas station it passes, and whose factory FM radio has never been tuned away from NPR.

Posted at 10:20 AM to Driver's Seat , Family Joules


Then there are the extra costs involved with servicing the hybrids. Those batteries cost $1,000 to replace, as opposed to your typical Sears Die-Hard at $75.

One assumes that these differences will start to disappear over the next few years, but the early adaptors are paying a steep price.

Posted by: The Prop at 6:05 PM on 23 April 2005

Toyota is claiming that their battery pack will last around eight years or so, but then we haven't had hybrids for eight years, so we don't know for sure.

And I know from early adaptors: in the early Seventies I paid around $105 for a pocket calculator which has fewer functions than the ones they give away today as party favors.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:19 PM on 23 April 2005

You mean there ARE other radio stations besides NPR?

There does not seem to be much in the way of alternatives is there?

Posted by: Bill at 10:43 AM on 28 April 2005

Not that one would willingly embrace, at least in this market.

What's fun about it here is that the local NPR affiliate is on the right side of the dial. (The University of Oklahoma, which owns the station, originally operated it as a commercial station, presumably to train students, and it was duly barred from the four-MHz noncommercial zone at the left end; in its present incarnation, it's still at 106.3, with a translator to the north at 105.7.)

The other public station in town runs classical music 24/7, or at least /6.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:35 PM on 28 April 2005