Why I’m Not Buying a Hybrid Ever Again

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

There are five big disadvantages of buying a hybrid automobile. If you’re thinking about buying a hybrid car, do yourself a favor and stop thinking about it. Unless you have a very unique situation, it’s not a good deal for you or our planet.

1. Politics

I want to deal with this issue head-on. Some people argue that by buying a hybrid car, they are supporting clean technology. As a result, they feel they are doing humankind a solid. There is logic here, but it’s not a complete picture. Here’s why:

buying a hybridA “good” hybrid these days still gets about 50 miles to a gallon of gasoline. Are those car companies joking? They should get 150 miles to the gallon. Vote with your dollars. Send a message to car manufacturers. Only buy the car that gets over 100 miles to the gallon. Do Mother Nature a favor and don’t sell out. Force “the man” to provide truly environmentally friendly cars.

Also, hybrids devour rare earth metals that are…well…rare. And as long as we’re on the political end of things, as we gobble up rare earth metals, we strengthen China’s economy because they are the world’s leader in rare-earth metal production. The Chinese are notorious for their mistreatment of workers. Don’t be a part of that if you can help it.

And what are we going to do with all those expensive batteries when they die? If you want to invest in green technology, buy good green mutual funds instead.

I’m not an economist, world leader (yet), biologist or environmentalist. I’m simply saying there are plenty of compelling reasons to view this technology as being hurtful to our environment and business climate.

2. Mileage

As I write this, I can see that most of the arguments are interrelated. As I said above, the best hybrid gets about 50 MPG. I did a quick search and found that regular cars like the Yaris (Japanese version) deliver better than 55 MPG already. In your face, Prius!

3. Cost

Hybrids are very PC right now, and as a result you’re going to pay through the nose for them – if you are lucky enough to find someone kind enough to sell one to you. Even if you compare a Prius to a Corolla, the Prius doesn’t make sense.

The Prius gets about 30% better gas mileage, but it costs $10,000 more to buy a Prius than a Corolla. So, the question is, how long will it take you to make up for that $10,000 premium? To calculate that, let’s assume gasoline is $3 a gallon and the Prius gets 50 MPG while the Corolla gets 36 MPG. So if you travel 360,000 miles using a Prius you’ll pay $21,600 for fuel. If you travel 360,000 miles using your Corolla you’ll pay $30,000. In short, even if you drive 360,000 miles in your Prius, you still haven’t justified the premium you paid for the hybrid. In fact, it might be cheaper at $3 a gallon to drive a huge and cheap Suburban than a Prius. More on this below.

Now, the cost issue doesn’t stop here. You see, the hybrids are made with very light materials. That means, every time you look at it funny, it’s going to crumple and cost you $500 or more to get it fixed. I know this for a fact because I owned a Prius. Every time I nicked a post, it crumpled like a cheap suit. This made it difficult to keep my low car insurance premiums low.

4. Size

I also don’t like the small hybrids because they are just too small. I’m 6’2” and I could barely fit in a Prius. Try it yourself. It won’t be comfortable.

5. Dangerous

Before you buy one of these tin cans, test drive it. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll feel very unsafe. Again, this might be a question of height and size, but it was really tough to see. As a matter of fact, per capita, hybrid car owners get more tickets and more accidents than non-hybrid car drivers. You can’t see out of the cars and nobody hears you coming. Not a good combo. I hate to say it, but if you insist on buying one of these cars, you better load up on  life insurance too (just in case).

Ultimately, this was the reason I sold my Prius and bought a nice, big, gas guzzling Lexus. Of course I bought my 2005 beauty in 2007 – just old enough to buy at a steep discount, but young enough to look feel and drive like new. Oh…and by the way…I have great visibility with my Lexus. As a result, I haven’t had a fender bender yet.

Where do you stand on the hybrid car issue?

 

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