1 September 2006
Making the ponies drink less
According to the study, consumer expectations for alternative-fuel vehicles tend to be unrealistic. Those considering a hybrid expect to pay a premium of more than $5,000 and hope to achieve 28 more miles for every gallon of gasoline. The actual mileage improvement is closer to 9 mpg. The shortcomings of expectations aren't quite as drastic for diesel consumers who believe they will pay $2,800 more than a gas-powered car and derive 21 miles more for each gallon, but in actuality receive an increase of about 12 mpg.
Well, the actual mileage improvement is closer to 9 mpg on otherwise-similar vehicles, and it's at least possible that some of these folks are contemplating not just hybrids, but smaller hybrids.
Toyota's genius, I think, was building the Prius on its own platform, so it couldn't be directly compared to the Corolla or the Echo/Yaris or the Camry or anything else they sell over here. Honda's Insight was similarly dissimilar, but its penalty-box-on-wheels nature probably discouraged as many buyers as its alleged 55-mpg fuel economy attracted, and the car was dropped from Honda's US line for 2007. Meanwhile, you can get quite a luxe-ish Prius if the check you write is big enough, and I keep wondering when Lexus is going to get its own version in the $35-45k range. (Assuming they use the same bifurcated powerplant, they could call it something like CS150h.)
And the laws of physics are nowhere near being repealed: the chief enemy of gas mileage is sheer mass, and you shouldn't expect anything miraculous from a vehicle that weighs two and a half tons no matter what kind of technotrickery is pressed into service.Posted at 8:39 AM to Driver's Seat