Each year hybrid and electric cars become more popular. Their biggest marketing campaign is going green and saving gas. But do these cars really save the driver money, and are they really that good for the environment?
The Toyota Prius, Tesla, Chevrolet Volt and the Smart Car are all names consumers recognize. Mechanics and inventors have been experimenting with electric motors since the 1800s, but since the turn of the century, electric cars became a common reality.
Honda was the first company to release a hybrid car for sale in America. The Insight was closely followed by Toyota’s Prius, which opened the floodgates to a slew of hybrid and electric cars.
Consumers are faced with hundreds of ads trumpeting the remarkable gas mileage these hybrid and electric cars have. But with the higher cost, is it really worth it?
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that the average American drives 13,476 miles per year. The average cost of a gallon of gas in 2013 was $3.49, according to CNN.com.
The 2013 Toyota Prius Hybrid gets a combined 50 mpg and the 2013 Toyota Corolla, a non-electric equivalent has a combined 30 mpg, according to cars.com. That means that the average Prius uses 269 gallons of gas a year, costing drivers $940.62.
The average Corolla driving American uses 449 gallons of gas a year, bringing their total cost to an average $1567.70 a year.
The Prius-driving American saved themselves $627.08 a year, which is a significant savings.
However, if the average American’s both bought their cars in January of 2013, the Prius driver paid $24,200 for the most basic model available, whereas the Corolla purchaser paid $16,230 for the most basic Corolla. That’s a difference of $7,970.
The average American would have to drive the Prius for roughly 12 1/2 years before the gas savings would pay off the price of their hybrid Prius.
For some, the numbers don’t mean much. Many Prius drivers are concerned primarily about the eco-friendly benefits of the Prius. The environment friendly aspects of the Prius are controversial, and opinions vary from critic to critic.
Some claim manufacturing of the Prius has more negative impacts on the environment than a Hummer before it’s even on the road.
Others assert that these statistics are myths and despite the energy expended to create the Prius, the reduced carbon footprint Toyota advertises balances against the environmentally damaging production.
So are green cars worth it? The decision is personal, and the consumer should make sure they know the statistics, the costs and the environmental impact of any car before they choose to purchase one.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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