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Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the hybrid-un-vigor dept.

Transportation 998

An anonymous reader writes "A new study has found that people who purchased a hybrid car in the past are not likely to buy a hybrid for their next car purchase. 'Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when they returned to the market in 2011, according to auto information company R.L. Polk & Co. If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.' The study also found Florida drivers to be a bit more loyal to the hybrid segment than elsewhere in the country. 'It's hard to know what's causing the low repurchase rate. One reason is that about 17,000 people purchased electric cars last year, and other data shows that many of those were trading in a hybrid vehicle. Honda has been hounded by high-profile class-action and small claims court lawsuits over fuel economy issues with older models of its Civic hybrid. ... Hybrid vehicles represent just 2.4% of the overall new vehicle market in the U.S., according to Polk, down from a high of 2.9% in 2008.'"

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998 comments

Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#39623985)

The cost difference between a regular gas sedan and a hybrid of the same size is generally not offset by the savings in fuel costs for driving it. Why do it again if it didn't work the first time?

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 2 years ago | (#39624063)

We have a couple of problems here: As you point out, hybrids are more expensive than they should be for purely cost-concious consumers. Secondly, though, with all-electric cars (or even gasoline-assisted electrics like the Volt) coming out, it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems. This means the environment-concious people are more likely to buy a Leaf or a Volt than buy another hybrid.

So, basically, hybrids aren't cost effective enough for people buying primarily on cost, and they're not green enough for people buying primarily on environmental friendliness. As all-electrics continue to improve, the age of the hybrid will come to an end.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#39624295)

Hybrids are an alternative for drivers who want to be green, think of diesel as the soot spewing lorries and buses of yesteryear, can't live with the short range and abysmal interior space of of pure electrics, and can afford the price premium.

Living in the US, gas prices is my least concern. $4.50 per gallon? That's ridiculously cheap - far less than I paid in the 90s back in Europe. So sell me a car I can like, with decent acceleration, cargo space and range. Sorry, it won't be a Prius or Volt; much as I'd love to go the green route, they are not particularly green when factoring in the factory footprint, and I can't use them for much more than commuting.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#39624705)

I remember Hot Rod magazine back in the 70's talking about rebuilding an old car being better for the environment than collecting tons of aluminum cans. They took a 4000 pound family car and built it for efficiency and power winding up with a car that could carry a family of 6, get over 25 miles to the gallon and turn 13's in the quarter mile. Not bad for 70's tech. I've thought about doing something similar with my 98 Grand Marquis. It gets 24mpg on the highway now I'd like to see if I can get it up over 30mpg. For around town though an electric vehicle might be okay if the price was reasonable. It's only a 15 mile commute so it wouldn't be a problem with the short range of those vehicles.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Informative)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 2 years ago | (#39624309)

The Volt is not really an electric car. It's better described as a plug-in hybrid -- i.e. a hybrid with a much bigger battery that can be charged from the wall. Chevy does a good job of obscuring that fact, though. My point is that the Volt would be counted as a hybrid in the referenced survey.

BTW, don't get me wrong... I don't fault Chevy in any way for their marketing. They are very clear about what the Volt is and is not. They just have purposefully avoided using the actual terms "hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid".

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624493)

I don't fault Chevy in any way for their marketing. They are very clear about what the Volt is and is not. They just have purposefully avoided using the actual terms "hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid".

I'm confused. They're refusing to use the name for it, "plug-in hybrid", and that's being very clear. It seems they refuse to give it any name.

Q. Is the Volt an electric car or a hybrid?
A. Volt is an innovative, never-been-done-before car that exists alone, in a brand-new category of cars. Volt is a fullâ"performance electric vehicle with extended range.

Really? It's a plug-in hybrid and they've been made before. Just never marketed this widely. I don't see this kind of dishonestly as good. Nor do I believe the excuse the all marketing is lies as valid.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624731)

The Volt is different because electricity alone powers the car. It carries a gas powered electric generator for the likely case that the battery runs out of power.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624525)

Considering that the Volt is an series hybrid (meaning that all energy is converted to electricity and then sent to the electric motors) you can make a solid case for calling the Volt an electric car. The reason it is a hybrid is because the electricity it uses can come from either the batteries or the generator. Calling a Volt a hybrid is the same as saying a Hydrogen/Electric car is a hybrid. Unfortunately there is no popular distinction between a parallel and series hybrid, but a plugin Prius is a world apart from a Chevy Volt.

I am just an alternative energy vehicle fan, whose claims can be validated on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_hybrid#Series_hybrid

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#39624347)

So, basically, hybrids aren't cost effective enough for people buying primarily on cost

You could also say, oil isn't expensive enough -- the gas prices don't reflect the real cost of oil.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624419)

You could, but then you'd basically be saying, "Hybrids are unpopular because the alternative isn't bad enough." Not a brilliant or persuasive argument.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624481)

>>> it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems

Yes because an electric car can really carry me 150 miles per day on my work commute. (Not.) By the way according to the GREET study performed by the government, the most efficient car would be a Hybrid diesel. The diesel provides the compact energy format (150,000BTU/gallon), the high-efficiency engine (22:1 compression), and the hybridization provides the constant power curve. Like a modern locomotive.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (5, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | about 2 years ago | (#39624583)

>>> it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems

Yes because an electric car can really carry me 150 miles per day on my work commute. (Not.) .

Even if you're not, most car manufacturers are aware that people other than you purchase automobiles.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (5, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | about 2 years ago | (#39624133)

We bought a Prius for my wife because she had to commute through downtown Los Angeles, and at the time, solo Prius drivers were allowed to use the carpool lane. It worked great, she saved many hours of driving. But now California has ended that program, so if we had to replace the car today we probably wouldn't pay the extra cost to get a hybrid drive train and battery pack.

But the Prius has been great. No regrets about that purchase.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624155)

I like to smell my own farts

frrraaappppppppppppppppppppp

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624171)

What cost difference? A Hybrid Civic is not any more expensive than a standard Civic. And with gasoline approaching $5/gallon, it won't take long to recoup costs. ~50mpg Hybrid vs. ~35mpg civic == $3600 saved during each 100,000 miles driven.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39624247)

Same price? Honda's website advertises the Civic Sedan starting at $15,995 (39mpg) and the Civic Hybrid starting at $24,200 (44mpg). A hybrid costs 50% more for a 13% mpg increase. Even the most expensive non-hybrid Civic is less expensive than the Hybrid (excluding the natural gas model). And that assumes you take the time to drive the hybrid as a hybrid, which most people won't.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624367)

I think you should recheck your math... 50 vs 35 is not a 13% increase...

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (3, Informative)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 2 years ago | (#39624451)

There's nothing wrong with his math, but there's clearly something wrong with your reading ability. The post SJHillman was responding to was wrong about the estimated MPGs as well as everything else. In fact, he has the correct estimated MPG amounts listed in his post.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39624467)

I think you should read my post, which uses the figures on Honda's website. 39mpg for the basic model and 44mpg for the hybrid.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624553)

Hmmm. Apparently the price went up since I last looked. When I was deciding between an Insight or Civic (~10 years ago), the Civic Hybrid was only $19,500 for the base model.

So yes that does change my math..... the standard civic would be cheaper. I wonder what made Honda decide to increase they hybrid's pricetag 4000 dollars. Pretty stupid move (IMHO).

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (2)

ski9826 (2541112) | about 2 years ago | (#39624299)

3600 saved per 100,000 miles? So let's say that you drive 20,000 miles per year (more than I drive) - that's only $720 saved over that year. I'd rather keep my non-hybrid vehicle.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624459)

Well, right now, there's about a $5500 difference between a Civic LX with AT and a Civic Hybrid. At $5/gal, it will take 8.75 years (at 15k miles per year, which is 2k over the current average) to reach price parity. Guess what the warranty on the Hybrid batteries are: that's right, 8 years. I'd say there's the cost difference right there.

Now, at $8 per gallon, the numbers work out much better. Only takes 3 years to reach price parity.

Re:Because Hybrids Don't Pay For Themselves (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 2 years ago | (#39624605)

Post under this title as it's appropriate.

I have a friends who wanted to do the right thing and help out where they could.
They purchased a Hybrid car, at 68K miles it needed new batteries which would of
cost over $3,000 if not for an extended warranty provided by the Government.

They will not be purchasing another hybrid, the batteries only lasted half
as long as they should have. The warranty was found/discovered by the dealership
tying to help them out.

They can (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#39624683)

Hybrids CAN pay for themselves on a couple conditions. #1 you must use the vehicle for 100K miles or more. #2 you must be able to do math #3 you probably need to be doing a lot of city driving.

Let's do some math for the 2012 Ford Fusion Over 100K miles at 26mpg you will burn 3846 gallons of gas.
At $3.50 per gallon that's $13461 in gas.
For the hybrid, it's 39mpg (combined as is the 26 figure above). so this works out to $8974 in gas.
For a savings of $4487.
If I recall correctly, the price adder for that car was higher than that, so not a win. However, the savings goes up by 50 percent if you drive it for 150K miles. The savings will also go up with gas prices. It also gets better if you do predominantly city driving (I used the generic "combined" EPA figures). At some point it will be a net savings. This trivial example also neglects some other nice things like not wearing out your brake rotors (a non-trivial cost) or reduced number of oil changes (a trivial cost). It also neglects the cost of battery replacement - something which people worry about but I have not heard being a real world issue.

A Prius OTOH can be had for much closer to $20K and is generally a winner compared to any non-hybrid car so long as you drive 100K miles. I'm not a fan of it and would not buy one.
As volumes go up we can also expect the cost differential to come down.

So there we have the reason - it's not obvious weather you save dollars. Many people actually DO save money with a hybrid - particularly Prius owners.

Diesel (5, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | about 2 years ago | (#39623997)

I'd buy a diesel again in a heart beat. I get 40 miles to the gallon city in my Volkswagen Sportswagen. And diesel is 30 cents cheaper a gallon than petrol. Plus, the technology is robust. Diesel is definite the way to go if you want high gas mileage and low costs.

Re:Diesel (2)

simcop2387 (703011) | about 2 years ago | (#39624083)

I'm likely to consider diesel myself, though in my area it's actually the other way around price wise, about 20-30 cents higher than gas but it's been far more stable and if you really do get that much better milage it'll still pay for itself given how long the engines usually last.

Re:Diesel (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 2 years ago | (#39624109)

From what I've seen, diesel prices tend to be more volatile than gasoline prices. Around here, diesel will range from around 50 cents cheaper to 50 cents more expensive than gasoline depending on a number of factors (including, as far as I can tell, a coin flip). So, the price of the fuel shouldn't be an overarching factor in deciding to go for one or the other.

Having said that, though, diesels do get good mileage, and as long as you live in a decent-sized city or near a major highway there usually isn't too much difficulty in finding gas stations that sell diesel fuel.

Re:Diesel (2)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#39624117)

I totally agree with you. Why there is not even ONE small/midsize diesel pickup on sale in the US is beyond me.

Re:Diesel (1)

CaptainLugnuts (2594663) | about 2 years ago | (#39624593)

Because it doesn't cost Ford or GM a significant amount more to make a full size pickup versus a compact pickup, assuming similar drive trains and amenities.

Don't forget the Chicken Tax [wikipedia.org] either, which keeps out small imported trucks.

Re:Diesel (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39624127)

Not around here. Gase averages around $3.90-$4.10/gal here and diesel is about $4.50-$4.60. When I was growing up, diesel was alwyas 10 cents/gal cheaper until around 2005.

Re:Diesel (0)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 2 years ago | (#39624145)

Ironically those high mpg diesels aren't available in the US due to emissions standards....

Re:Diesel (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 2 years ago | (#39624393)

Yeah, that's what turned me off to diesel: the eco ratings are all super low, and the fuel efficiency doesn't even come close to making up for it.

Re:Diesel (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about 2 years ago | (#39624475)

Yea there are.

Modern "euro" diesels are available from a number of makes including VW/Audi (Golf, Jetta, Passat, Audi A3, Tuareg/Q5 SUVs), BMW (X5 SUV), and Mercedes (several sedan models).

Re:Diesel (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624707)

>>>Ironically those high mpg diesels aren't available in the US due to emissions standards....

You couldn't be more wrong. Look-up Volkswagen TDI. Last time I checked they were available in Beetle, Golf, Jetta, and Passat models.

Re:Diesel (1)

adturner (6453) | about 2 years ago | (#39624177)

Unfortunately, here in the Bay Area, diesel is often more expensive then premium and 30-40 cents more expensive then regular. Annoying since diesel is basically a by-product of refining gasoline, but the global market for diesel is exploding (the US is the worlds largest exporter of diesel) and the newer cleaner ultra-low sulfur formulations are sending the price skyhigh compared to what it used to be.

Re:Diesel (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39624371)

I'd buy a diesel again in a heart beat. I get 40 miles to the gallon city in my Volkswagen Sportswagen. And diesel is 30 cents cheaper a gallon than petrol.

People who use the word "petrol" often have a larger size gallon [wikipedia.org] than people who say "gas."
If you are one of those people then you are getting closer to 35 miles to the gallon of most slashdot readers.

Re:Diesel (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | about 2 years ago | (#39624385)

Adding to the others' responses, in the US pacific NW, auto diesel is ,20~.40 cents MORE than super-unleaded.

Sampling bias? (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#39624005)

It seems to me the only people that would be buying a second hybrid already would be those same people that did not have a positive experience with their first.

Re:Sampling bias? (2)

eln (21727) | about 2 years ago | (#39624149)

To some degree, but the first prius went on sale in the US in 2001, which was 11 years ago. Lots of people replace their cars far more often than every 11 years.

Re:Sampling bias? (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#39624281)

It's possible that the same type of people drawn to an environment-saving car would replace their car at a lower rate than others though.

Re:Sampling bias? (1)

sysrammer (446839) | about 2 years ago | (#39624233)

Good point. Also, I think a lot of people may be buying another car for other reasons...carrying capacity, power, whatever. How many little citycars does one family need?

People who Bought Obama's Crap Won't buy again. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624015)

Obama, Hybrids, all crap.

Simple Solution: Rename the cars "iHybrid"... (1)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39624047)

...and thousands of Chinese boys will line up to sell their kidneys to get one.

expectations (5, Insightful)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about 2 years ago | (#39624053)

It could be that people had unreasonable expectations from the hybrid to begin with, if you look at the advertising they promised a green car that doesn't use fuel and has flowers grow in its wake. In reality you ended up getting something that was marginally better fuel mileage than a compact car, but costs a lot more.

I drive a prius, I am disappointed with the fact that they STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium. Afaik they also don't use any of these new awesome ultracapacitors, so what the hell are they doing? The industry's stagnation annoys me, and I doubt I am alone.

Re:expectations (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39624167)

Unreasonable expectations are most likely based on the fact you can't drive a hybrid like a traditional car and still expect to get more than minor gas savings. Even then, I mostly see hybrids advertised as 35-45mpg... not a significant improvement over traditional cars of similar size.

Re:expectations (4, Interesting)

guru42101 (851700) | about 2 years ago | (#39624253)

I get about what I expected from my wife's 2005 Hybrid Civic. Only negative really is the lifetime of the batteries. We lucked out that they failed just before the warranty ended. However, when I was looking for a new car I didn't get the hybrid as the long term cost of a Hybrid is higher and in the current market I've got to make some cuts somewhere. What I would like to see is 100% battery powered vehicles where refilling worked like propane tanks. I just stop by and they yank out the batteries and give me a fully charged set. If a battery goes bad they take care of it and the cost of replacing / recycling batteries is spread among the cost of everyone.

Re:expectations (2, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624383)

>>>STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium

Lithium-ion is explosive (see the various laptop and iPod videos). Putting that next to a gasoline-filled tank == unwise. Also NiMH is not environmentally-toxic so it is the greener choice versus lithium.

And supercaps hold very little energy. Enough for a few seconds "takeoff" and that's it. Battery makes more sense since they can hold upto 5 minutes of full acceleration (not all at once of course).

Re:expectations (3, Informative)

orzetto (545509) | about 2 years ago | (#39624509)

They STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium.

I am not sure whether it's only a cost issue, but NiMH has the big advantage of being easy to recharge. Li-ion is very sensitive about high currents, and while it has a higher capacity per kg it has a current limit during charging. If the battery is supposed only to be a buffer on a car the size of the Prius, the weight/size savings is likely not worth it. On a full-electric car, though, you do need to squeeze all the energy you can get in the smaller battery, so they use Li-ion for electric cars even if it makes them slow to charge.

they also don't use any of these new awesome ultracapacitors, so what the hell are they doing?

I guess they are doing their math. Ultracapacitors have lower energy density than batteries (NiMH too), have high self-discharge, variable voltage as they discharge (so you need variable converters: trust me, they are mean beasts). The only advantage is faster charge/discharge, but the energy would be depleted in a matter of seconds. Not a significant buffer I guess.

Diesel: The Way Forward (3, Informative)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about 2 years ago | (#39624057)

Get ride of all the complexity caused by the hybrids (battery packs, motors, etc).

Clean diesel is here today.

I drive a VW Golf TDI - It's not slow by any means (140hp, a bit below average for a hatchback, but 240ib/ft of torque, over a wide rev range, so it's very driveable, great passing power, etc), has great handling (no skinny fuel miser tires that ruin the driving experience), and gets great mileage. (30/42 EPA, but those are quite conservative. I get typically 33-35 around town, at 60mph constant speed I'm at 51-53mpg depending on how smooth the road is, dropping down to about 45 at 70, and 41 at 78-80).

It also only costs about $25k, with plenty of standard equipment.

"Clean diesel is here to stay" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624163)

Yeah, that's what people were saying when they sold all those crappy cars back in the 1990s. About the only true thing that was said about "clean diesels" is that they would last forever. Now I get to deal with increased cancer risk due to particulate emissions every time I get behind one on my bike.

Diesels are just another shitty way to burn carbon while feeling all hip and trendy about it. Ultimately you cannot sell a clean diesel in the US. Our government will never enforce the necessary fuel standards, and even if they did, diesel drivers will continue to leave their 25-year-old urea canisters in place, because hey, after all, it's not their problem.

Re:"Clean diesel is here to stay" (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about 2 years ago | (#39624515)

That's patently false. The current Volkswagen TDI's for instance, are 50 state legal (including CA), and don't require urea. The move to Ultra Low Sulfur fuel as a requirement in 2010 did a LOT to take care of the emissions.

Re:Diesel: The Way Forward (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624251)

Why do diesel fans always assume it's TDI versus Hybrid? Here's a thought experiment for you:

- 60MPG Polo TDI with 15 second 0-to-60 acceleration.
- 60MPG Polo TDI with Hybrid motor == 9 second 0-to-60 acceleration

I would choose the second over the first, because it has the same economy but much better acceleration.

Re:Diesel: The Way Forward (2)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about 2 years ago | (#39624543)

Sure, that makes sense. But personally, I don't want a frickin' battery pack in my car. Don't want the weight, don't want the replacement issues, don't want the safety issues.

Re:Diesel: The Way Forward (1)

burne (686114) | about 2 years ago | (#39624267)

It also only costs about $25k, with plenty of standard equipment.

And I was thinking my $1k folding bike was expensive.

(My daily commute consists of a mile on said bike, 40 miles in a 100-mph train and 2 miles on the same bike. You can beat that, once. After one go you'll find your license revoked and your car impounded.)

Re:Diesel: The Way Forward (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624637)

And how much does the bike cost you if you get hit by a car? (As happened with my dad, my uncle, my coworker, and one of my dad's friends.) Then you're spending close to $100,000 on broken bone repair, rehabilitation, and will likely walk with a limp the rest of your life. I'd rather have my body surrounded by the $20K of solid metal.

I would. (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39624073)

My Honda Insight has served me beautifully, with almost 90 MPG lifetime average (I drive a slow 50mph). And it wasn't any more expensive than a regular car. My only disappointment is the lack of diesel hybrids. Many of them come with small 75hp engines, so they could use the extra 15hp that a Honda-style motor provides.

The economic crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624105)

The economic crisis forces many people to choose between buying either a non-hybrid car or buying no car.
Even if a hybrid is cheaper in the long run, if you don't have the money then you can't buy one.

What? (1, Interesting)

Jethro (14165) | about 2 years ago | (#39624165)

If you factor out Prius owners? The most popular brand of hybrid? The one bought by people who like hybrids? Yeah I suppose if you don't count the people who like hybrids, then only 35% of the rest still like hybrids?...

I'm on my second hybrid. Neither has been a Prius. The next one might be. I'd love an all-electric but I'm still waiting for a practical one. Maybe if they start selling the volt up here.

Re:What? (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 2 years ago | (#39624373)

Volt is not all electric. It's a plug-in hybrid. Chevy just does a good job of avoiding that term. Starting this year, Toyota now markets a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius. They have decided to go the simple route and just call it that.

Plug-in hybrid is a hybrid with a larger battery that can be charged from the wall and provides some medium-length range (20-40 miles usually) without having to turn on the gas engine.

Re:What? (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 2 years ago | (#39624453)

I know it's not. But like I said, there aren't any decent all-electrics yet, so I'm willing to consider a volt as a stop-gap until those (hopefully) show up.

Selection critera = Lousy study... (3, Informative)

raydobbs (99133) | about 2 years ago | (#39624185)

"If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%..." the summary mentions. Would that be kind of like saying, "If you factor out the number of humans alive on Earth right now, the human population of Earth is zero." or another favorite that might ring more bells for people, "Of course it's unlimited data. We only shut it off once you exceed 2GB per month."

Re:Selection critera = Lousy study... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 years ago | (#39624575)

you know, they told you the overall rate too... it's up to you whether to think that part of the appeal of a prius is the image.

it just seems silly to me, to complain about extra information; 35% is also pretty damned low.

Re:Selection critera = Lousy study... (3, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | about 2 years ago | (#39624681)

Indeed. Another problem with drawing broad conclusions with the study is look at the years they are comparing - 2008, when gas first broke the $4 a gallon barrier (remember?), but before the economic collapse look hold, and 2011 when gas prices where still down sharply, and after a punishing two years of recession/depression. Paying more up front when the economy is bad, for the promise of future savings when gas prices are down, is not a consuming behavior many people will exhibit.

Happy Hybrid Buyers Don't Buy Cars Every Two Years (1)

hamjudo (64140) | about 2 years ago | (#39624195)

My wife is happy with her 2005 Prius. She probably won't replace it for many more years. That is because she likes it. She will probably replace it with a newer Toyota Prius. I guess that makes her a super-loyal Prius buyer.

Re:Happy Hybrid Buyers Don't Buy Cars Every Two Ye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624249)

Me too. Owning a 2011 Prius and in the future, I will likely replace it by the next generation Prius... The silicense is just too good.

Bombshell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624221)

After that bombshell, I just want to say thanks for watching and good night.

Loss of Carpool lane access (5, Informative)

MDMurphy (208495) | about 2 years ago | (#39624229)

People here in CA were nudged to get a hybrid in no small part due to the ability to get a sticker that allowed solo driver access to the HOV lanes. Once that went away, a big part of the incentive went with it. I know some people who sold their hybrids in advance of the change, anticipating that the car would sell for more while they still could use the lanes.

So while hybrid owners might be unlikely to buy another, it could be due in part that without the HOV lane access they wouldn't have bought one in the first place. The story then would be "Car buyers follow temporary gov't incentive, move on when incentive goes away"

Most hybrids didn't offer better economy in the long run, once the added cost was factored in. They relied heavily on other incentives to make them more desirable in the first place. I'm surprised that those incentives didn't show up in the survey, or at least weren't mentioned in the report.

Re:Loss of Carpool lane access (2)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 2 years ago | (#39624685)

Excellent point you brought up. I know someone that bought a hybrid specifically so he can use the carpool lane, 90 minutes vs. 15 min each way on a commute. Think of how the time he avoided sitting in a car that made it worthwhile to spend the extra money on a car (no, option to work someplace else is not an option. No high paying jobs in a residential area). But when the HOV lane access expired for hybrids, he bought an all-electric car as soon as he could to take advantage of solo driver in HOV lane.

On another note, I saw this big SUV with the familar looking decal but it said "Access Denied."

One day while toodling along in the slow traffic, I saw a CHP motor unit give three tickets in the course of 10 minutes. First was while passing him as he just finished writing a ticket. Officer starts motorcycle, looks and sees a solo driver in HOV lane, zooom! flashing lights and driver pulls over. I continued chugging along with the masses. Then later he gets back on the bike, waits for a minute then off and nailed another solo driver.

I wonder how many people bought a pickup truck (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#39624307)

Even when Hybrids save you money, it is good to have a pickup truck or van for different uses than you'd use a compact hybrid for. Maybe people like to diversify the types of car they own.

Re:I wonder how many people bought a pickup truck (1)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | about 2 years ago | (#39624473)

Likely my next vehicle will be a truck. My current old car only gets 20 mpg city/25 highway and it seems that bunch of smaller trucks have met or beat that.

Spun a Different Way (2)

jpobst (262199) | about 2 years ago | (#39624319)

You could also write this article completely the other way.

2.4% of car purchasers buy a hybrid.
35% of hybrid owners would buy another hybrid.

So the headline could be "Hybrid Owners 14 Times More Likely to Buy Another Hybrid", which is completely different than "Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid".

I have an idea! (0)

Xenkar (580240) | about 2 years ago | (#39624323)

I propose we switch from building bombs and generally shitting all over countries that don't have the capability of attacking us and instead build lots of induction coils to embed into our highways.

Then we can line our highways with liquid fluoride thorium reactors and drive to work in electric cars that have 20 mile range for traveling on roads that haven't been upgraded yet.

Add in self-driving cars and it'll become even more efficient and safe.

Unfortunately this won't happen. It is too socialist like national highways, municipal water, police, and public schooling. It involves creating rather than destroying.

Suggestions to improve situation (0)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 2 years ago | (#39624335)

1. Make hybrids whose styling evokes the steroidal puffiness of a Dodge Ram tru_u_u_ck, because we know that most males buy vehicles to increase their chances of having offspring, not to save the planet. But if they can save a few bucks in gas while still getting the muscled exoskeleton look to compensate for their shortcomings, so much the better.

2. Increase international penalties for invading small, oil-laden countries rather than living with the higher gas prices that are inevitably on their way as more countries get richer and demand more oil.

3. Set up a global trust fund for future generations to use to fight global warming impacts. Make countries contribute to it based on their per-capita GHG emissions, or face international trade sanctions.

The Environment! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624349)

Its not for costs savings, its for the enviornment! Everyone should be forced to buy one to save the environment. Why are all the hybrid drivers climate change denialists?

Its almost as if reality has an anti-liberal bias once people have been educated on the facts.

Not buying again (3, Interesting)

stupor (165265) | about 2 years ago | (#39624357)

Civic Hybrid owner:
- Great on gas mileage
- Gutless.. I have an easier time passing people in my turbo diesel truck
- Weird issues with batteries.. Leave the car for a week, batteries are dead.
- Did I mention Gutless?

Overall, I've been happy with the gas mileage but I won't buy another hybrid. The experience outside of the good gas mileage has been disappointing. I'll probably try the diesel car route like a VW Jetta the next time around.

Not a surprise (2)

MojoRilla (591502) | about 2 years ago | (#39624387)

This isn't totally surprising.

I was an early adopter of the Honda Civic Hybrid in July of 2002. I've had bad problems with the continuously variable transmission (which required multiple visits to the deader, but thankfully was fixed under warranty), hybrid battery problems (again thankfully replaced under warranty), and a bad ERG valve (which I had to pay for). And I felt I had to take it to the dealer for oil changes (since it uses synthetic oil). Compared to the Honda Accord I had for 10 years before this car, the Honda Civic Hybrid has had a lot of problems.

Also, there is a class action lawsuit from owners dissatisfied with their Honda Civic Hybrid's mileage that is close to settling [hchsettlement.com].

And, I do plan to drive this car for at least a few more years. I do think I've saved money, as well as creating less polution. And for my next car I will be considering a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an electric car.

buying pressure caused by incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624403)

Back in 2008, the gas prices jumped 1-2 bucks to almost $5 a gallon, and Toyota ran out of Priuses to sell even at the insane dealer markups they had back then.

Also back then, if you bought a hybrid you could use the carpool lane cutting commute times deeply. Those incentives are no longer available today.

Between that and the tax incentives, government interference caused a temporary jump in sales that is skewing statistics now, as the people that got the hybrids based on those incentives have no reason to pay the premium today for another one.

On "Why Florida?" as a long-time hybrid owner... (2)

davecason (598777) | about 2 years ago | (#39624455)

...the cars are so efficient, they don't make much heat. So if you live in the North, your car heater may not ever heat up your car, since it uses non-existent engine heat. The AC works much better.

Also, in snow, most of these very-low-riding vehicles bottom-out on almost no snow as they are lowered to reduce drag.

Mountain driving isn't too sweet either... nothing like hearing the gerbils scream as you go up an incline and watching your battery go dead halfway up a mountain (then you have half an engine).

Now mine is very old, so maybe the idea has gotten much better...

They didn't get enough Hippie Street Cred (0)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#39624477)

They were hoping young people would tear off their clothes and mate with them as a result. It didn't happen so the hell with all that save the earth crap.

Super loyal! (2)

XiaoMing (1574363) | about 2 years ago | (#39624491)

If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.

The numbers are interesting indeed... but factoring out "the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers" just to drop it from 35% to 25% doesn't really help the argument as much as make the reader question the research methods involved.. considering any laymen already has in the notion hiding in the back of their mind that that Pri'i make up for quite a bit of the cumulative hybrid market share (it's got ~3 generations head start on all other "mainstream" hybrids).

And when said laymen goes to google such a statistic and finds that even last year ( http://www.hybridcars.com/market-dashboard.html [hybridcars.com] ):

Regular Prius and Prius V combined [represent] 58 percent of total hybrid sales.

... Well it's like saying death rates are dropping, if we factor out the "super deadly" causes of death such as heart disease and cancer.
The super-loyal-ty-ness-ess of Pri'i owners here obviously shouldn't be considered a factor that would affect the results, as much as they are a key metric in determining such a result (loyalty begets repurchase as it is an indicator of some set of factors said survey is attempting to measure in the first place... duh?)

Why not a hybrid next time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624519)

I currently own a Fusion Hybrid which I love, great MPG and fantastically quiet. That said, my next car won't be a hybrid. It's Tesla time!

I suspect that those like myself are only a part of the answer to the question. Since hybrids' introduction, tech that they've championed like start/stop systems, all-electric A/C and cooling pumps, CVT and 7 or 8 speed automatics, and advanced engine electronics have been applied to non-hybrids. This has vaulted many non-hybrid's highway MPG into the high 30s. This has effectively negated the fuel savings for a very large swath of the American public: those not living in the highly congested mega-cities. If you drive mostly highway miles, there's now zero benefit to a buying a hybrid, thanks to tech pioneered by hybrids.

   

I have a Honda CR-Z (1)

PatTheGreat (956344) | about 2 years ago | (#39624533)

I have a Honda CR-Z. It's a hybrid, though I couldn't really care less. I bought it because I thought it was a pretty cool little car. The gas mileage was pretty sweet, but I bought it for the looks; I think it kinda looks like a spaceship escape pod. Yep.

I'm one (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 2 years ago | (#39624601)

Bought a hybrid Saturn VUE in Dec, 2006. And, when we needed a second vehicle, didn't even consider a second hybrid. Got a used minivan in Jan, 2011. Uses 30-50% more gas, but trying to get a vehicle to fit all those car seats with hybrid? Far too expensive. I'll save more by spending on gas than buying new w/hybrid.

I'm not likely to buy a hybrid again... (2)

rikkitikki (91982) | about 2 years ago | (#39624619)

I'm likely to buy an electric. My commute + daily chores are well within the range of electric vehicles. When I buy the electric, the hybrid will still be around, but only for the occasional longer trip. Hopefully, by the time the hybrid dies, electric vehicles with 200-300 mi range will cost much less.

Most hybrids are worth the extra cost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624649)

I have two identical cars a 2008 hybrid and a 2012 non hybrid. Why didn't I buy another hybrid.
The difference in cost of the two cars is $5000. The difference in gas mileage is 18 vs 22. I will recover the $5000 after about 100,000 miles.
But
What I think is the real extra cost of the hybrid is the following (never discussed).

1. All hybrids come with low rolling resistance tires. The tires on my wife's car needed to be replaced after 20,000 miles. Tires were worn down to the tread wear indicators. I replaced then with 40,000 mile + tires. Cost about $1000.
Gas mileage dropped by about 1-1.5 miles per gallon. We were getting 23.6 mpg. Now we get about 22 mpg. At an extra $1000 every 20,000 miles, I will take the loss of MPG.

2. All the reviews assume that you take your car to the dealer for its regular maintenance. Once I buy a new car it never sees the dealer again except for recalls. The hybrid is very complicated. I wanted to make sure if there were any problems they did not blame me.
Cost of oil change and checkup at local oil change place $32. At dealer $150.

I just did the 30,000 mile checkup my self. Changed oil at oil change place. Replaced air filter and cabin filter myself. Had brake fluid changed, tires rotated and a wheel alignment done at local tire store, where I bought the tires. Total cost was about $300. If I did it at the dealer, it would have been $500-600 plus another $100 for the wheel alignment.
Except for cars like the Prius where they get great gas mileage and cost the same as an equivalent car Toyota Corolla, Honda civic, Nissan Sentra, I don't think hybrids are worth it.

Everyone just looks at gas mileage and not other issues.

However, my wife loves the car. So that is all that matters. For me I just saved the $5000 and purchased the gasoline version.

I switched back (5, Informative)

GWBasic (900357) | about 2 years ago | (#39624703)

I switched back from hybrid to conventional. In 2003 I bought a Civic Hybrid, last year I considered an Insight but bought a Subaru Impreza Sport. Here's why:
  • I could only take the car to the dealer for anything more complicated then an oil change. Regular mechanics refused to look at the car. My check-engine light was on, and the dealer told me that I needed a new catalytic converter for $2-3000 dollars. (The guy who bought the car from me told me it was an inexpensive sensor that needed to be replaced.)
  • I wanted four-wheel-drive so I could go through CA chain checks when I go skiing.
  • My 7-year-old hybrid Civic was only worth about $2,000. Normally Civics hold their value.

My 2011 Impreza cost me $20,000, and is a compact car. The only 4wd hybrids are large SUVs, which cost $30,000. Even at $4.00 a gallon, $10,000 buys a lot of gas. At 21 miles a gallon, $10,000 buys over 57,000 miles worth of gas!

Furthermore, Subaru service charges a lot less money then Honda service, and their accessories cost less. Honda charged me $400 for rubber floor mats, and Subaru charged me $100 for rubber floor mats.

Now, had I not wanted 4wd, I probably would have bought the Insight. I really prefer its quietness and smoothness over the Impreza. On the other hand, given that Honda service is expensive, regular mechanics won't work on Honda hybrids, and that the Insight would probably be worthless after 7 years, I'm probably going to spend less money owning the Impreza.

Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39624719)

The reason Florida drivers may be slightly more loyal (at least for south Florida) on our express lanes with either a carpool or a hybrid you drive without paying the toll. For my dad its cheaper to be in a hybrid because he was spending $150-200/month on tolls alone. He loves his hybrid. I agree though, the cost most of the time doesn't offset the price increase.

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