Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I remember a conversation I had with a survey taker/marketer not long ago (2 months,maybe). Among the queries was whether I would consider buying a hybrid. The answer was 'no'.
Here is why: there is not a hybrid out there that performs as well as a pure gas powered car. And those that do come close, cost too much.

I'm not down on the hybrid idea, though. I'm just down on hybrids as currently offered.
If a salesman offers me a hybrid, as a selling point, I immediately assume it is a lessor performer, and/or more costly. "But its a hybrid! Cheaper on gas!" is an excuse, not a selling point.

There is not a hybridized model of any car that performs as well as the standard version. Add the cost of hybridization to that, and you have a "less costs more" equation.

Hybrids are not offered as great vehicles in their own right. They are overpriced compromise cars, who's only real purpose is to assuage guilt. I want what I want, at the price I'm willing to pay. That's all there is to it.
I really don't care how its powered, only that it performs as to my needs and desires, and at the most affordable cost. Cost of a vehicle is more than price. Cost includes all the sacrifices in comfort, power, handling, fuel, reliability(or lack of) and upkeep.

As it stands right now, petroleum fuel is the most economical way of putting power to the ground. Nothing else does as much for as little a price, or even comes close.

I want cheap gas. But even at $10 a gallon, I doubt that anything else will still be as economical. Ethanol actually cost more to produce than gas. So, as it stands now, corn is still not a solution to petroleum.

Even at the exorbitant cost that Europeans have traditionally been paying for gasoline, they still stick to gas powered cars. Why haven't they figured out something else by now? If the price of gas is any motivation, they should be 40 years ahead of us in the technology, don't you think?


I don't know what will come next. but as long as gasoline is still around to do what it does as economically as it does it, I will stick to it.

And these overpriced hybrids do not impress me. They offer marginal fuel economy at a much larger price tag. My V6 Santa Fe gets 25mpg hwy. The comparable hybrid, Ford Escape, gets 27 mpg. And does not have the same power.
I had a 1990 Geo that got 45 mpg. (only the Prius comes close, and it took over ten years to catch up to that.) All gas.Very primitive technology. I got it used with 95K on it, for $1200. Over 4 yrs, I put just shy of 150K additional miles, over the course of which I replaced 12 tires and one battery, changed oil every 5k... And no other costs. It went everywhere I needed it to go, even off road every couple weeks to go shooting in the hills. When I was done with it, I passed it over to my gardener (for free). When I last saw him, 18 months later, he was still driving it. What hybrid out there is going to treat me the same way, economically, as this Geo did?

(All that, and I took the state for $300 in reimbursed registration fees. That I did not pay. It's always good when you can screw The Man and get away with it.)

19 comments:

The Law Fairy said...

Interesting take.

I've never thought of the point of the whole hybrid thing as being about money. In my mind it's about reasonably salvaging the environment, by using less harmful forms of energy consumption. Sure, I think a sliding scale is sensible, taking into account things like performance and cost -- but in my mind cost isn't the selling point of these at all. Rather, I often see them juxtaposed against gas-guzzling SUVs that tear a whole in the ozone.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh Jebus. HOLE not "whole."

I am so smart, S-M-R-T...

Brian said...

I could see a hybrid making economic sense in certain living arrangements...if you live in a small town and don't have much occasion to leave it, for example.

Actually, a hybrid would have been great for me when I lived in Tucson. Even though the city sprawls, probably 90% of my driving was short trips in about a 3-mile radius, rarely exceeding 35-40 mph, so the gas would have almost never kicked in.

If I could have afforded the damn thing in the first place, that is.

Kal said...

Pound for pound, gasoline delivers a lot of energy. You're absolutely right.

But you're a conservative, right? We conservatives are all about personal responsibility and about real costs, not government picking winners and losers, right?

Cheap gas isn't cheap. Cheap gas is very expensive in terms of environmental impact, foreign policy problems, etc etc.

And Europeans have enormous gas costs - and they drive much smaller cars, by and large.

And, Gino. You admit to driving a Geo? Ye Gods man!

Gino said...

kal:by that logic, all things we like are very expensive. cattle/dairy farming is hell on the environment, and produces tons of methane gas.
are you gonna whore methane credits to beefeaters/milk drinkers also?

is the enviromental impact so great that we need to return to horse and buggy days? its a matter of trade offs. and i'm a cheap ,selfish bastard.
when the prophets of doom live like i do, then i will believe thier stupid religion. until then, you have your faith, and i'll remain agnostic.

foreign policy probelems are NOT a result of oil consumption. they are result of bad foriegn policy.
someday, you'll thank me for educating you on the benefits of noninterventionalism. you're just not there yet, but someday...

yes, i drove a Geo. proud of it. great car. absolutely.the.greatest.car.ever.sold.
if women were half as reliable and loyal as the geo metro, divorce would be unknown to mankind.

yeah, the euroes are too sissywhipped by big govt to demand better for themselves. i refuse to live, or to think, like them.

brian: golf carts and semi trucks have their place, just like hybrids do. but my garage isnt one of them.

LawFairy: its nice of you to care about the ozone, and want to do something about it. too bad your ozone saving leadership doesnt believe it. if they did, they wouldnt live like gore and edwards.
maybe, just maybe... these prophets are playing you for a dupe?
really, if gore, who knows the issue better than you or i, cant take it seriously, why should we?

The Law Fairy said...

Gino, Gore and Edwards are irrelevant. They're human politicians. I believe in global warming and yet, magically, I still drive a gas-based car that gets not-so-great mileage, I still leave my computer on most of the time even when I'm not home, I still consume lots of food with harmful chemicals and additives, and do all kinds of other basic selfish things that are tough to avoid in a society and an economy that makes responsible choices very difficult and very expensive.

Am I selfish? You bet your ass I am. I'm not proud of it, but it is what it is. Are other people selfish? I'd venture most people are AT LEAST as selfish as I am. So given all of us being selfish, even if we all believed in our hearts that global warming was a FACT and an IMMINENT threat, not much would change right away. There's a huge free rider/collective action dynamic at play here. If I buy a hybrid (by the way, I do intend to AFTER I've saved enough for a downpayment and being paying off a mortgage, and thus can consider other major purchases), it won't save the world from global warming. It won't even be a drop in a bucket. It's laudable of me, to be sure, but it doesn't have a practical effect (other than to assuage my guilt, as you note, which is a non-zero positive benefit). Really, the only way to make a dent in global warming is to REQUIRE people to make the necessary changes. We do this by investing in R&D for alternative fuels. We do this by huge tax cuts for people who engage in energy-saving measures. We do this by taxing Big Oil into oblivion. Gore and Edwards can't save the world. They're smart men, so they know this. That's why TRUE activists agitate for political change, because, bottom line, that's the only thing that will make a difference.*

To say this makes me a "dupe" is a big leap and unfairly dismissive of the scope of this problem.

* Yes, I get that in the end we're screwed anyway because China will keep dumping pollutants into the air even if we start acting responsible. Still, the US is a bigger polluter than China. Even if China keeps fucking with the environment, US changing its ways WILL have an effect and WILL slow down global warming, even if it takes longer for the Chinese to wake the fuck up and realize they're destroying the earth.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh yeah. Gino, are you intentionally antagonizing me?

if women were half as reliable and loyal as the geo metro, divorce would be unknown to mankind.

'Cause divorce is never, EVER, men's fault. Not like y'all ever, I dunno, CHEAT or anything.

Gino said...

intentionally antagonizing you?
no, not at all.
instead, pre-affirming your point about some men's behavior.
i rode that car hard, and invested minimally in it's preservation.
and despite it all, it never failed to please me.

The Law Fairy said...

Gino, if anything, that sounds like an argument against marriage.

--> thrilled to be single :)

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

The concept of ethanol is ridiculous to my husband and I, as corn is the single most petroleum-dependent crop in the universe. The amount of toxic chemicals, gasoline and diesel pumped into making fuel out of a water-thirsty crop that sucks the nutrients out of the ground and is prone to creating eroded landscapes if managed incorrectly. And on top of that, rising corn-prices make non-US cultures that need corn to survive without massive famines, is not very nice to the planet or its people.

The mentality is much akin to the whole, "the more you spend the more you save," mentality used during Labor Day sales. But if suckers are willing to believe that ethanol is an alternative solution to the earth's fuel woes, farmer's like my husband will be happy to take their money and grow more corn.

Comparatively speaking, petroleum has a less negative impact over all, because you save about twenty unnecessary steps for it's production. Efficiency and reduction should be the goals of any conservation effort. So, until people get over the "ick" factor of creating biodiesel/fuels out of excess livestock manure (particularly pig poop) or a TRUE hydrogen cell car is created, I will drive my gasoline-powered Saturn (which gets better mileage than my Mom-In-Law's Prius. HEH!)

Mercy Now said...

You MUST buy a hybrid, in fact the govt should MAKE everyone buy a hybrid no matter what the cost. Oh wait, that's what the radial left tree huggers have been saying all along, sorry, sorry, I've been indoctrinated by their propaganda.

Kris said...

LF,

What exactly do you have against men? Why is everything about men vs. women with you.

I see you're happy to be single, but I'm not sure you have much of a choice...

Gino said...

to be fair...
LawFairy doesnt hate all men. as proof: she tolerates me.

besides, i like her just the way she is.

Kris said...

Okay. I apologize for my last comment about the whole single thing.

Nonetheles, I would like to know why LF is really big into hating men.

Don't get me wrong. I can't stand so called women's rights activist; at least the left-leaning type. I've yet to see them actually want equal treatment, but rather better than their male counterpart treatment.

Gino said...

kris:
visit her blog, and see who she really is.
its just dripping with man-hating over there...

Kris said...

Gino,

I have better things to do than see what another Lepidoptera has to say about pretty much anything.

Why did we give them the right to vote??? Just kidding, sort of...

The Law Fairy said...

Gino's right! You should check out my latest post, which is dripping with very real and not at all sarcastic hatred.

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