Hybrid car cost controversy: You can save money
Edmunds reminds me of the EPA and some Detroit auto writers. "Hybrids don't achieve their EPA numbers," they scowl. While they are right, they hardly acknowledge the fact that most vehicles don't achieve EPA numbers. In fact, EPA numbers on some vehicles can be off by as much 30 %.
The EPA, and apparently Edmunds, base fuel efficiency and driving habits off data from the 80s. For example, the Edmunds study assumes 75% of consumer transportation is highway driving, and only 25% is city driving.
How can that be possible?
Roughly 70% of the American population lives in urban areas. Between 1980 and 2000 the intensity of traffic congestion has tripled, while the extent and duration of traffic has doubled.
Not only is the majority of American transportation city driving, a significant percentage is stop-and-go city driving - the type of conditions that make many conventional vehicles 30 percent less fuel efficient, while causing significant increases in pollution. And the future promises far greater congestion, even for rural areas.
Yet, hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and even the Ford Escape hybrid, excel in these same conditions - the same conditions that cost America $100 billion dollars per year and significantly increase the need for foreign oil.
In urban areas hybrids like the Prius can save you money now and in the future they will save even more money. Just imagine if every vehicle achieved Prius efficiency, the environment would be significantly cleaner and America wouldn't need foreign oil.
How much is that worth?