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(The New York Times)   If you're considering a Chevy Volt and what to know how long it takes to break even on fuel cost, it's 27 years   (nytimes.com) divider line 102
    More: Sad, fuel economy in automobiles  
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3623 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Apr 2012 at 8:10 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-05 10:28:54 PM

DeltaX: All these articles assume if you buy one that the damn thing will still be running in ten years. It IS a Chevy after all.


I cant help thinking that my 25 year old suzuki samurai costs me about $500 a year to operate, doesnt break down at all, and has lasted as long as three Chevys.....which means its impact on the environment from manufacturing is already 33% of the volt.
 
2012-04-05 10:30:27 PM

ongbok: Doesn't this hold somewhat true for most hybrids that are currently being built?


I think its in the article, there are three that pay off in 2 years or so.
 
2012-04-05 10:32:04 PM
Waaaaaah, GM didn't build the absolute pinnacle of plug in hybrid vehicles on their first attempt, so therefore all hope is lost and they should just fold up their tents.

Why can't the Volt be seen simply as the next evolutionary step toward an all electric car? The tech is new and pricey, but the cost will go down over time.
 
2012-04-05 10:38:14 PM
Well I'm glad to know that gas prices wont exceed $3.85 average price any time soon.
 
2012-04-05 10:39:03 PM

StopLurkListen: Fiesta vs Fiesta SFE I understand, but Volt vs Cruze Eco?

OK, they're sorta-similar size sedans by GM but the Volt is pretty upscale. It's not a Cruze-with-extra-battery-attached.


No, the Cruise actually gets better mileage per watt because it ISN'T hauling around a huge battery.

NO battery in any of the hybrids will last more than eight years... so factor in three battery replacements on top of the "27 year" break even point and see what happens.
 
2012-04-05 10:42:28 PM
My Harley gets better mileage than the best car on that list, and I got to keep my penis.
 
2012-04-05 10:43:10 PM

King Something: THE VOLT WILL BURST INTO FLAMES AND BURN YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY ALIVE THE SECOND YOU START THE ENGINE!!!1!!1111!!!one!

It's true. I read about it on the internet in a joint study published by BP and Exxon/Mobil. And they even had a special about it on Fox News!



Dickhead. :)
 
2012-04-05 10:47:53 PM

NoSugarAdded: I never would have guessed that better fuel economy couldn't make up for a $12k price difference. I wish they had compared the Yaris to the Veyron. Now I don't know which one I should buy.


While pretty much this, I do question the value of plug in hybrids. The glass just seems half empty with them. Do a mix of city and highway and long distances? A standard hybrid should work. Do mostly city driving? A full electric should meet your needs. Considering you need to both charge it and fuel it up, it seems like a stopgap.
 
2012-04-05 10:50:09 PM

prjindigo: NO battery in any of the hybrids will last more than eight years... so factor in three battery replacements on top of the "27 year" break even point and see what happens.


This is one of two factors I rarely spelled out as included in the equation. The other is the electricity cost. On the chart it says it is factored for the Leaf, but the chart sucks so who knows?
 
2012-04-05 10:54:52 PM

Hollie Maea: Thisbymaster: Does that include the cost of replacing the battery every 10 years?

No one has any idea what batteries will cost in 10 years. Plus, the lifespan of batteries will increase, so there is no "every" 10 years.

Plus, most likely the "dead" battery will be worth quite a bit as well.

But let's hear it for FUD!


FUD would be "Don't buy a Hybrid they won't make compatible packs in 8 years time".

Even you, partly admit, their will be a cost associated with a battery pack. The ones CURRENTLY installed in a Prius will last 8 - 10 years according to the people who make it, extrapolating that to the others is sensible and logical. It is also logical to assume that a dead pack won't be worth as much as a factory fresh unit, so you're not going to be offsetting the cost 100% when you resell it.

Worst case scenario is a dead pack is worth exactly $0. So {price of pack} - {resell of dead pack} = cost of replacement. As we are working on a worst case scenario and already ascertained that one value is zero, we only need to put in the cost, right now, for a specific cars battery pack which for a 2004 - current Prius is around $2588 + labour we can then get our figure. So every 8 - 10 years you'll be spending $2500+ to swap the packs as a worst case.

That still isn't FUD by the way, just math.
 
2012-04-05 11:00:18 PM
All Chevy wants to do is keep on making six-wheel drive lunar-duty supercharged trucks.

They intentionally made the Volt as crappy as possible without being blatantly obvious about it, and then didn't advertise it, so they could then turn around and tell the government "See? Nobody wants these things."
 
2012-04-05 11:01:31 PM
I considered a Jetta TDI but decided against it since the 2012 looks chintzier than prior model years. It's certainly roomier than the '03 Jetta I had and later model years I'd seen, but I was afraid it would start peeling or something on the interior. It felt that much cheaper. The Passat TDI was nicer, but we weren't sure we wanted to pay quite that much per month.

Regular old economy box four cylinder engines are creeping up on the TDI fuel economy anyhow and cost up to thousands less. At or near 40 highway mpg is becoming increasingly common for econo-boxes and things like audio ports to plug in your MP3 players and power windows are showing up even on the base trim levels. Nissan Versa hatchbacks have the rear leg room of a mid-size and 28 city 34 highway mpg. (Jetta also has mid-size leg room, but the cost cutting was pretty harsh compared to prior years). Kia Rio is 26/36, regular old Ford Focus with an auto transmission is 28/38. A Hyundai Elantra is sitting at 29/40 mpg. Variable timing transmissions like those in the Rio are also becoming more common and helping out with the fuel economy as well.

Luckily this time around with fuel economy crunch, unlike the 70's, the horsepower hasn't really suffered that much. (And the cars are also loaded with safety features, if these cars didn't require so many safety features, they probably would get even higher fuel economy. Safety features are still good though). V8s from the 70's and 80's put out horsepower similar to current four cylinder engines, sometimes even less.

Lately manufacturers have been throwing in more gears in their automatic transmissions making them more competitive fuel economy wise with their manual transmissions and even sometimes surpassing the manual transmission's economy. Still, a stick is cheaper MSRP, simpler and cheaper to repair if it breaks and I think they're a heck of a lot more fun. It's usually maybe a one mpg difference to both city and highway, but it usually costs $700+ for an automatic option in a new car. The stick probably comes out ahead for cost effectiveness for the assumed life of the vehicle.
 
2012-04-05 11:21:26 PM
I'd be happy with a NEV if they'd let me do 50kph instead of limiting them to 40. 99% of the roads in my city are 50km/h. 90% of my potential destinations are within range of an NEV.

Basically, I need a road-worthy golf cart with snow tires and a heater and I could give up one of my gas-burners, but I can't get it because I'd be holding up traffic for a measly 10km/h. It can't be safety - I could get on a motorcycle that weighs the same and would protect me less while going a hell of a lot faster.
 
2012-04-05 11:23:09 PM

Outlander Engine: Look again. The chart is showing the the time to pay the difference in cost between a hybrid and a standard version for that particular model.

So for the VW Jetta, you see a difference in model cost of around $400 between the standard and the TDI. It only takes a year for the fuel savings to pay for the difference.

For the Ford fiesta, the difference is about $600. The $23/year in fuel savings takes it a long time to pay the difference.

In short, the chart sucks.


Ah, thank you for that.

They're making the false assumption that I'm choosing between a Cruze Eco or a Volt. Maybe the only reason I'm considering a Chevy at all is I want I Volt.
 
2012-04-05 11:35:55 PM
I read this headline with Nelson's voice
 
2012-04-05 11:58:17 PM

Hollie Maea: Thisbymaster: Does that include the cost of replacing the battery every 10 years?

No one has any idea what batteries will cost in 10 years. Plus, the lifespan of batteries will increase, so there is no "every" 10 years.

Plus, most likely the "dead" battery will be worth quite a bit as well.

But let's hear it for FUD!


What does the "U" stand for in "FUD", again?
 
2012-04-06 12:15:00 AM

rhiannon: Hollie Maea: Thisbymaster: Does that include the cost of replacing the battery every 10 years?

No one has any idea what batteries will cost in 10 years. Plus, the lifespan of batteries will increase, so there is no "every" 10 years.

Plus, most likely the "dead" battery will be worth quite a bit as well.

But let's hear it for FUD!

What does the "U" stand for in "FUD", again?


Let me rephrase the parts you don't like: In 10 years, batteries will certainly be much cheaper than they are now. Also your dead battery, still containing 80 percent of its nominal capacity, will be worth quite a bit for grid stabilization arrays, to speak nothing of the large amounts of valuable Lithium that they still contain with no diminishment.
 
2012-04-06 12:47:37 AM

Rezurok: Additionally, those numbers seem to be for a relatively conservative 10,000 miles per year. Would be nice if their little chart pointed that out...


It would also be nice if they listed a source for the MPG they use.

They say the Camry gets 29.5 combined, but fueleconomy.gov says it gets 28 combined (4cyl). They say the Jetta TDI gets 35.4 combined, but fueleconomy.gov says it gets 34 combined.
 
2012-04-06 12:52:34 AM
I highly doubt gas is going to stay under 4 dollars for more than a few months much less 10-20 years.
 
2012-04-06 01:12:29 AM
and at some point they're gonna start charging you for both the mileage and the electricity you use to charge it

oh, did they mention that charging is still only about 58% efficiency?

bet they didn't!
 
2012-04-06 01:17:48 AM
Top Gear once fielded a number about how much it costs to transport a large mustache to and from work for ten years. It was probably a joke but you never know with Clarkston.

Wonder what the "difference" in efficiency would be if you considered it a fixed reduction in driver weight.

Would a 10% drop in BMI produce better efficiency than switching to a hybrid?
 
2012-04-06 01:42:04 AM

prjindigo:
Would a 10% drop in BMI produce better efficiency than switching to a hybrid?


If you drive a Lotus, then your mileage just doubled.
If you drive an American car, then the 5-ton chassis is unimpressed by your weight-loss efforts.
 
2012-04-06 02:22:32 AM

Vaneshi: The ones CURRENTLY installed in a Prius will last 8 - 10 years according to the people who make it, extrapolating that to the others is sensible and logical.


Uhh, dude. You realize that there are tens of thousands of Prii driving on the road today that are over 10 years old (with 2 million total on the road now). I've heard of the occasional person having problems with the batteries, but at most they needed to replace a half dozen or so cells and not the whole thing. Consumer Reports found that after 9 years, their Prius has nearly zero loss in battery power or mpg. (new window)
 
2012-04-06 03:32:04 AM
I used to hate GM, and I thought their cars were all crap. Mostly because of the old chevy blazers. But I bought a whole bunch of their stock last year when I realized that GM actually makes some really good vehicles, and are making a shiatload of money in spite of how much people seem to hate them.

My boss sold me his 11 year old chevy tahoe last year, and you know what? Even though the gas mileage sucks a little bit (and not any worse than what was made at the time), it is a damn good SUV. That thing hasn't has a single problem in its lifetime, apart from a seat belt that snapped off (that was my boss's fault).

I also rented a chevy cruze in seattle a few months ago. I drove around Seattle for an entire day and it used 1.5 gallons of gas. It didn't feel cheap, and it actually had quite a bit of get up and go.

I still think Ford is a better company, but GM is NOT the chrysler of 1990-2010.
 
2012-04-06 03:33:23 AM
A 2001 prius cost $20,000 new and Toyota lost money on it the first few model years.

A 2011 Chevy volt starts at $40,000.

I was going to give Chevy a break but once again they only are in it for profit, and think in terms of the next quarter and not the next five or ten years.

After the performance of my twelve year old GM with regard to the electronics car I really question buying a new electric GM car that starts at about $40k.

/fark GM in the eye socket.
 
2012-04-06 04:00:48 AM
You can make your current vehicle use half the fuel by driving it half as much.

Plan trips in advance, combine them, eliminate them.

Zero cost of investment, starts paying today.

All it takes is some forethought.
 
2012-04-06 07:16:18 AM

MrSteve007:
Uhh, dude. You realize that there are tens of thousands of Prii driving on the road today that are over 10 years ol


Then go speak to the people who make the batteries not me. They say 8 - 10 years before degradation begins but the speed that the degradation happens at is not quantified, thus when working towards the worst case scenario it is best to go with a 10 year then poof.

And again, this is not FUD. It's math. It works.
 
2012-04-06 07:20:40 AM

whatshisname: I have a VW TDI. Fill it up every 2 weeks and probably save $1600/year over my Subaru.

And it's amazing to drive.


THIS

Traded in an old Ford for an 08 GTI myself...manual six speed, premium fuel required and I still save money on gas (averaging 34mpg) and yes it is a scream to drive.
 
2012-04-06 07:31:06 AM

studebaker hoch: You can make your current vehicle use half the fuel by driving it half as much.

Plan trips in advance, combine them, eliminate them.

Zero cost of investment, starts paying today.

All it takes is some forethought.


Will I still have a job if I only show up every other day?
 
2012-04-06 08:07:01 AM
The tech that would make a Volt an emergency home power source would be a game-changer for me.
 
2012-04-06 08:14:05 AM

Vaneshi: Then go speak to the people who make the batteries not me. They say 8 - 10 years before degradation begins


Have a citation for this?

And no, the warranty period is not the same as claiming 8-10 years before degradation begins. The people who engineered the battery could claim that it would last 50+ years and the warranty might still only be 10 years. You cannot infer actual battery life from the warranty.
=Smidge=
 
2012-04-06 08:24:14 AM

Smidge204: Vaneshi: Then go speak to the people who make the batteries not me. They say 8 - 10 years before degradation begins

Have a citation for this?


the first Prius came out 12 years ago. there is not a clamor for replacement batteries. i think that is pretty telling, don't you think?
 
2012-04-06 08:41:15 AM

Enemabag Jones: A 2001 prius cost $20,000 new and Toyota lost money on it the first few model years.

A 2011 Chevy volt starts at $40,000.

I was going to give Chevy a break but once again they only are in it for profit, and think in terms of the next quarter and not the next five or ten years.

After the performance of my twelve year old GM with regard to the electronics car I really question buying a new electric GM car that starts at about $40k.

/fark GM in the eye socket.


In 2001, you could buy a loaded Hyundai Accent for about $10,000. I know this because in the first part of 2002, I found myself in need of a reliable and fuel efficient car because I got a new job 50 miles from home. I was interested in the hybrids, but it turns out that a couple of factors were working against them:

1. The get better city mileage but the highway mileage wasn't high enough to make up the 10k cost difference.

2. Even using the more optimistic city mileage for the hybrids the break even point was at the end of the expected lifetime of the car.
 
2012-04-06 09:05:55 AM
India and China, with their combined population of about 2.5 billion, are rapidly developing and their populations are buying whatever cars they can afford. There are an additional couple billion people in smaller, but still rapidly developing, countries with the same goal. All raising demand for a limited resource, and not just for gas but for all petroleum products.

In 27 years gas won't be an inflation adjusted $3.85.

Given we're coming out of a temporary dip in gas prices due to the global economic clusterfark I'll be surprised if anything resembling current gas prices exist in even 5 years.
 
2012-04-06 10:15:49 AM

OgreMagi: My Harley gets better mileage than the best car on that list, and I got to keep my penis.


And it is such a cute little penis too. Whose a cute little penis? You are, Yes you are. Don't let that inch and a half get you down little guy I'm sure you can make up for it with your motion.
 
2012-04-06 10:21:13 AM

Vaneshi: Worst case scenario is a dead pack is worth exactly $0. So {price of pack} - {resell of dead pack} = cost of replacement. As we are working on a worst case scenario and already ascertained that one value is zero, we only need to put in the cost, right now, for a specific cars battery pack which for a 2004 - current Prius is around $2588 + labour we can then get our figure. So every 8 - 10 years you'll be spending $2500+ to swap the packs as a worst case.


Except that the price of the battery packs is also dropping. When we bought our 2003 Civic Hybrid, new battery packs were $8000. When we had to change out the battery pack, the price was $2000. Now, obviously, there will be a floor to that price, but to assume that the new battery pack 8-10 years from now will also be $2000 ignores the way the market works.

When we bought our hybrid, we figured that it wouldn't pay off unless gas climbed to the astronomical price of $3.00/gal.
 
2012-04-06 10:59:11 AM
3 nitpicks with the leaf comparison -- all situational though.

1) 95% of my driving is city. The versa gets 28 city, not 34.
2) An 18k versa is missing TONS of options that come standard on the leaf. Adding those options brings the price to over $21k (almost 22). NOTE: If the options are things you would not be interested in, the $18k comparison is probably more valid - but in my case, I'd have bought the nav, backup camera, auto lights, etc. anyway.
3) most drivers, myself included, hit around 12k per year miles, so that speeds up the differences.

When you change those variables, the payback for a leaf comes in at less than 5 years, then savings come at over $1k/yr. Which is what I had come up with independently, so that gives some validation to their model - just be sure the inputs align with your situation properly.

Volt I don't know - I think their model probably doesn't work well for it.
 
2012-04-06 11:04:57 AM
www.salem-news.com

That's it, suck his cawk, Be sure to work the shaft too Subby
 
2012-04-06 11:22:41 AM
Two problems with the article -

1) You can't compare value over time without factoring interest into the equation.
2) They don't use the same yearly mileage for each of the comparisons - the highest two comparisons are over 10,000 miles per year while the lowest three are below 1,000 miles per year. The average was around 5,000 miles per year but the DOT states the average car mileage is around 13,000 miles per year.
 
2012-04-06 12:48:07 PM
Couple of points:

I work in a Chevy dealership and have yet to see a Cruze Eco with a window sticker under $23k or a Volt under $46k. Factor those numbers in and it skews things even more in the Cruzes' favor.

Repairs need to be factored in also. The Volt battery is warranted for seven years, after that it's your baby. Current replacement price is around $10k plus labor. Keep the car 26.6 years and you could be looking at two or three replacements on your tab.

My work commute alone is almost 17k miles a year and I'm not alone in having LONG commute times. That might actually help in making the hybrids pay off a little earlier. But I'd also use up the battery before I made it to work, hitting the gas engine about halfway through. If I'm not able to recharge then I'd be in the gas for the whole return trip.

All that being said, if the Volt was priced under $30k before the $7500 tax credit that wouldn't be able to make them fast enough. As it is it's more of a "Look at me, I'm being eco-friendly" status symbol.
 
2012-04-06 12:54:26 PM
The Volt numbers are bogus. It seems truecar (the chart source) thinks the MPG on a Volt is 37.1 The EPA says the mileage is 93MPG equivalent on electric, 37MPG on gas. So it seems that truecar figured if you run the car from full to empty, you go 35 miles at 93MPG and then another 344 miles at 37MPG, making the car about 37.1MPG.

But that's silly, because it is not how people drive the car. Many people will drive less than 35 miles, recharge, then drive again. If you always do that, you use no gas and have a 93MPG car, not a 37.1MPG car. Others will drive farther on some trips, so the MPG will go down as they use some gas. But no one will routinely drive all 344 miles on pure gas before charging. So the chart is way, way off when it comes to the Volt.
 
2012-04-06 02:40:34 PM
does anyone here know what the price of gas will be in 5 years? 10 years? might make a difference in those calculations if the price of gas is $15/gal in 10 years, and electricity is only double the cost it is today in 10 years.
 
2012-04-06 04:26:57 PM

Hard Nard: I work in a Chevy dealership and have yet to see a Cruze Eco with a window sticker under $23k or a Volt under $46k.


In other words, you rip off your customers.

If you add all the options available^, choose the most expensive color variant, and include destination charges and other fees, you barely make it to $46k for a Volt. If $46k is the lowest sticker price on the lot, your dealership is a den of shysters.
=Smidge=
 
2012-04-06 05:02:23 PM
"Hard Nard: I work in a Chevy dealership and have yet to see a Cruze Eco with a window sticker under $23k or a Volt under $46k.

In other words, you rip off your customers."

Two mistakes - you automatically assume I work in sales, and all dealers are shysters. The third is using Edmunds as a source for your info - they're using info that's at least eight months old.

"If you add all the options available^, choose the most expensive color variant, and include destination charges and other fees, you barely make it to $46k for a Volt. If $46k is the lowest sticker price on the lot, your dealership is a den of shysters.
=Smidge="

I just walked our lot, we have two Volts in stock - one with a $43,210 window sticker and the second with $46,175. Neither have any dealer-added "goodies", just what was out on them from the assembly plant. Both prices before tax and title, neither car is a full option unit.

Both cars have been here 90+ days with no prospects. GM has suggested/demanded dealers not inflate prices (like with some "collector" editions) so there was a better chance of the car selling, no no dealer "packs" or "bumps" ( like the $8 dollar door edge guards that a Hyundai dealer charges $1495 to the customer).

Sorry you feel like all dealers are rip-off artists. Most aren't but get painted with the same broad brush as the losers.
 
2012-04-06 05:57:51 PM

Hard Nard: "

Two mistakes - you automatically assume I work in sales, and all dealers are shysters. The third is using Edmunds as a source for your info - they're using info that's at least eight months ust walked our lot, we have two Volts in stock - one with a $43,210 window sticker and the second with $46,175. Neither have any dealer-added "goodies", just what was out on them from the assembly plant. Both prices before tax and title, neither car is a full option unit.


Straight from Chevy's website - a fully loaded Volt with every option is just shy of $46k.
 
2012-04-06 08:04:55 PM

Hard Nard: Two mistakes - you automatically assume I work in sales, and all dealers are shysters. The third is using Edmunds as a source for your info - they're using info that's at least eight months old.


I did not assume you work in sales, as I never directly called YOU a shyster. I was actually pretty careful of that. I also never said anything about other dealers, so you can't accuse me of saying all dealers are shysters.

Edmonds' data seems perfectly in line with Chevy's official site, as CtrlAltDestroy pointed out. Going there^ I have to select every premium non-dealer-installed option to get the MSRP over $46k. So either the two Volts you have on the lot just happen to be fully decked out or you guys are playing games.
=Smidge=
 
2012-04-06 10:24:45 PM
I may consider a volt or volt like vehicle after I'm done with the Cruze (currently the 2nd month of ownership)

Previously had a Le Sabre

Got it used, and managed to get a fleet version so there's less annoyances built in
 
2012-04-07 10:56:17 AM

Smidge204: Vaneshi: Then go speak to the people who make the batteries not me. They say 8 - 10 years before degradation begins

Have a citation for this?


Toyota.

As stated, don't like it, go argue with them.
 
2012-04-07 02:08:48 PM
Mayhem of the Black Underclass

studebaker hoch: You can make your current vehicle use half the fuel by driving it half as much.

Plan trips in advance, combine them, eliminate them.

Zero cost of investment, starts paying today.

All it takes is some forethought.

Will I still have a job if I only show up every other day?


Not if you worked for me.

What I'm saying is that if people planned ahead, say they were going to Home Depot but they know that route takes them right past their supermarket, do both shopping misisons on the same trip.

You just got a ride to the supermarket for free.

If we don't think so much in terms of miles per gallon, but in "missions accomplished" per gallon, you can get good economy out of a gas-guzzling car just by using it well.
 
2012-04-08 06:21:56 AM

Vaneshi: Toyota.

As stated, don't like it, go argue with them.


That's not a citation. Try harder.

Reminder: The warranty does not count.
=Smidge=
 
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