How Come Hybrids Don’t Get Great Gas Mileage?

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Hybrids get pretty good – but far from great – gas mileage.hybrid power flow

The best of them – that would be Toyota’s Prius – manage low-mid 50s. Most average low-mid 40s. Which is good, but far from spectacular. After all, 40-something MPG is only about 8-10 MPG better than many current-era non-hybrid economy cars manage.

It’s not that big a difference – especially when you factor in the difference in price.

So – how come? Why aren’t hybrid cars more economical? How come they can’t go farther on just the batteries? Why do they need an internal combustion (IC) engine at all? Couldn’t they be made simpler? Why the need for two powertrains – the gasoline-burning engine and an electric motor?

It’s a Catch-22 situation.

Without some way to top off the battery pack “as you go,” hybrids wouldn’t be able to go very far – due to the limitations of battery capability. Hence the IC engine, which serves as an on-board generator in addition to providing propulsion. The IC engine makes hybrids practical – which is essential for them to be successful as other-than-expensive toys (see electric cars).hyrbid 2

Electric motors are in many ways superior to reciprocating, internal combustion engines. They are much simpler. They deliver immediate and abundant torque. And because there’s no need to convert up and down (reciprocating) energy into rotational energy, they can “direct drive” the wheels – without a transmission to leverage mechanical force.

But – Catch 22 – you need electricity to run the motor. Hence the battery pack. Which needs to be kept charged up.

Hence the IC engine.

This is why hybrids are more complicated than conventional cars – as well as more expensive. It’s also a big part of the reason why they’re not as gas-sippy (or even “electric easy”) as you might expect them to be.

But, there are several things that could be done to make hybrids much more efficient. Chief among these – lighten ’em up!fatty pic

Honda’s original Insight – made in the late ’90s/early 2000s – was capable of 70 MPG. It was a light two-seater. Most current hybrids are fairly large (mid-sized) sedans/hatchbacks and very heavy. An Accord hybrid weighs 3,550 pounds. The Camry hybrid, 3,435 pounds.

My 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am weighs only slighty more than they do.

Even the Prius – king of hybrids – weighs more than 3,000 pounds. This is about twice the curb weight of an original model VW Beetle.

Hybrids are heavy to a great extent because of government “safety” mandates – which of course conflict with the goal of making cars (and not just hybrid cars) more fuel efficient.

Nothing wrong with “safety” – but it’s not a freebie.hybrid 4

Also, there is conflict between consumers’ desire for performance and their desire for economy.


Even the Prius – the least quick of all hybrids – is a high-performance muscle car . . . compared with the typical IC car of my childhood back in the ’70s. Back then, a family car took around 12 seconds to hit 60. Economy cars of the period – the original VW Beetle, for instance – took 15-20 seconds to get to 60.

The Prius gets there in about 11 seconds.

It also easily cruises at 80 – and can reach speeds well over 100 MPH (trust me).

And the Prius is the slowest hybrid. The 2014 Accord hybrid I recently reviewed gets to 60 in 7.4 seconds. The Camry Accord, about the same. This is as quick (or nearly as quick) as the V-8 muscle cars of the ’70s.

It’s great – but it costs (gas/energy) to achieve.Insight pic


Mind, I’m not slamming the performance of hybrids. I’m just observing that they’d be a lot more fuel-efficient if they were around 2,200 pounds rather than 3,400-ish pounds – and could get by with 100 hp powertrains rather than 200 hp powertrains (as in the current Accord/Camry hybrids).

A 2,200 pound hybrid with a 100 hp powertrain might need 12 or so seconds to get to 60. It might have a top speed of just under 100 MPH. It might not be as “safe” – if you run it off the road and pile-drive it into an oak tree.

But I bet it would also give you 70-plus MPG all day long. Maybe more. And it would probably cost thousands less to buy than the current crop of hybrids.

So, it’s a question of priorities.catch 22 pic

The truth is, most people don’t value gas mileage uber alles. If they did, the original Insight would have sold gangbusters. It belly flopped.

Gas mileage is merely one among several other competing values – including performance, safety – etc.

There’s nothing wrong with this. Slow cars are not much fun. It’s reasonable to be concerned about a vehicle’s ability to protect the people within from impact forces in the event of a crash. A quiet cabin usually requires sound deadening, which adds weight; AC and other such amenities do the same. More weight requires more engine to maintain performance – which reduces economy.

Lesson: It’s important to not expect miracles – and to accept that conflicting wants usually results in compromises.

You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.


Throw it in the Woods?


  1. I know I’m late to the 5 O’Clock free crack giveaway, but I gotta say, it’s because of these inefficiencies and the previous administration and the globalists at large, that Diesel was crucified for a nothing crime everyone else committed

    Take away all the special body panels, the cvt’s and whatnot and their efficiency takes a nose-dive, while you can put a Turbo diesel into a Jeep or Hummer and they’re economical while also gaining power:
    “Horsepower and MPG Expectations
    The base conversion package starts out with 400 horsepower. Performance upgrades and modifications can increase the horsepower to 750. The biggest gain from the conversion is the outstanding fuel mileage from 9 to 12 MPG in a stock Hummer to 18 to 26 MPG and is capable of running on biodiesel.”-

    Averaging an impressive 30-35 miles per gallon equals direct fuel savings on a daily basis; plus you won’t need to carry a lot of extra fuel on long excursions.”-

    Plus it can be driven with a manual and you can always add more power to it, win/win, which is why it had to be taken down, for the sake of Agenda 21, so your mobility is limited

  2. Oh, there are plenty more sources of information, if the Nation doesn’t suit. Just one of many google hits I found on a quick search. Point is, all the info you are disdaining in your self-appointed role here as “keeper of the holy writ” is available in a simple search. One doesn’t need to pour through your voluminous posts and links, most of which actually lead in big circles around your swollen head.

    You ought to take a break from the internet, Tor. Eric, this grows tiresome.

    Peace, out.

    • Fitting that you chose an article from The Nation is self-described as “the flagship of the left.” It is well written and an informative read. It’s a weekly devoted to political progressivism, and 2012/08/17/social liberalism.

      Readers of thenation are often highly intelligent. But they’re like eunuchs at a 2012/08/17/gangbang.

      Able to attend and provide adept commentary while standing witness to the social phenomenon of production and wealth creation. But not properly equipped nor endowed to actually participate in anything.

  3. OK, I’ll play the link game. Here’s the ONLY (haha Tor!) link you need to understand Peak Everything.

    Take the entire Crash Course, and come back here AFTER you do. Your views on Peak Oil, and indeed many other things will most likely change. If you’re too lazy to educate yourself on the entire course, skip to Chapters 17-18 for the heart of the matter.

  4. Speaking out into the ether, as if it makes a difference, I noticed this headline alongside the bit about the cops dragging off the boys basketball hoop by the bumper of their car as if they were hooligans. Which they are, the cops, that is.

    It’s quite the same kind of overlord tone to the the world:

    Sex offenders tracked down in major joint operation

    Now, I don’t condone that shtuff of those convicted, in spite of the typical lying s.o.b. prosecutor, but,… is that Not the bringing back of the fugitive slave laws, or worse than that? Isn’t that a terrible thing?

    Either they are free to live among people, or they are not.

    Its terrible how “those who claim to be our overlords” treat these people.

    And of course, “Toledo News Now has been working alongside local law enforcement for months to help track down the most wanted sex offenders” … as if Toledo News Now were Ever independent of gunverment in the first place? They are one and the same. … And you’re next in their sights?
    They are the same as any other “news” organization in your area.
    For that garden you grow, or that dog you have, or those unruly children you have? The list is endless, and mainstream media outlets such as Toledo News Now will help to track you down and make you pay, and pay.
    Why so many people support “The List”…. and, The Bastards, I don’t get.

    Any day now I expect organizations such as the Toledo News Now to work overtime to track me down for speaking my mind, then they will work to vilify me and agitate to have me thrown in jail for speaking truth to The People.
    Bastards are like that. …They hate freedom and liberty.
    We are ruled by them.
    We are surrounded by them.
    After they come for me, you’re next. …Even if you think you’re doing nothing wrong. They Will find ways to make you pay.

    Think about this: They Will find ways to make you pay.

    Why tolerate that?

    • Whoops.


      Just Not today.
      I’m trying too hard. …And up too too late.

      I’m calling it quits for the night. Maybe for four, ….or more?
      Maybe make some perfect steaks? U2?

    • Still,… it’s not quite satisfying.
      I should have been able to do it the first time.
      The worst part is, I don’t see an 18 yr. old in the background doing it better.
      Maybe I’m not looking in the right places?

      My generation’s failure to respond reminds me of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it’s as if every One in my generation has forgotten. ? Or, sold themselves out. ?
      I’m so disappointed. I thought they’d be able to keep up with me. And, I’m not exactly fast. … Call me a sucker, but I hope they can catch up!

  5. Clover, click on my name, and you’ll be able to comment ad infinitum on this article.

    This very article is the top one, click where it says comment. I envisage your tutelage, good sir.

  6. Helot, your link worked, because it shows blue to me. It only fails to jump because you put a character after org where a space was required

    Catch 22 Cars and more by Eric Peters

    ZA href=”http://wwwXlewrockwellXcom/author/eric-peters/”YCatch 22 Cars and more by Eric PetersZ/AY

    Z=greater than
    Y=less than
    – you’ll always need a space on both sides of the lesser than/greater than bookends

  7. One last bit:
    When I – try – to debate with, ah, certain kinds of people, here and elsewhere, they Never Ever provide links to support their position. It’s always as if I should just take them at their word, as if they are a god or something. The Uber-know-it-alls?

    And God forbid they post a link to something humorous.
    Why should they, “they” are the center of the universe, right, DR?
    Something’s Only funny if they say it.
    Otherwise, we should just say, “I See Nothing” right?

    • maybe some are color blind, and don’t know how to ignore off-colored text? DR has a fair point that my TSUNAMI of linkfloods and tangentclusters are tougher to navigate than his occasional CAPSLOCK. what should the ideal site content recipe be?

      30% Eric’s posts 25% Discussion of Eric’s posts 15% Related tangents to Eric’s posts. 10% Related tangents to comments. 10% Random jokes. 5% Hot libertarian babes. (take it off, Larken!) 5% Pinup motorcycle/auto babes.

      thechive is the #350 site for good reason. as bad as reason has become, at least it makes an attempt to be graphically appealing.

  8. Tor, much as I hate to have to say it, I find your posts completely undigestible. I’m not going to follow all the little links you post. Say what you mean, and YOU say it.
    I know you’ve been around here a long time, but, frankly, if Eric put in an ignore button, you’d be the first to get the push.

    • I don’t know that it matters how long I’ve been here. I ignore people that mainly waste space gossiping about likes and dislikes, but I don’t need a button.

      There are dozens of posters here I come here for, not for wordpress’ amazing presentation abilities.

      To reiterate “my opinions”
      1 UK/OPEC have a gentleman’s arrangement
      2 Oil has a replacement rate, this has to be included in any depletion scenarios.
      3 (new point) There will always be oil, as it becomes more scarce, it’s price will increase and sales will decrease. There is no crisis.
      4 (new point) You’re the one who demanded Eric do research about Peak Oil. Those links are for him. You’re already such an expert you can’t be bothered to show us why Peak Oil is not debunked.

      • Tor I believe you do not have a clue what you are talking about. You say there will never be an oil crisis? Get real. Were you living in the 70s with the gas lines? That is what we will have in the future. It may not be in my lifetime but it is going to happen. Clover
        Oil does not replenish itself. Once it is pumped out of the ground and burned up it is gone. Millions of barrels a week go up in flames. The number of cars in the world increase daily. That is why our government started years ago with fuel efficiency standards. Without those we would already be having gas lines. If you waited to do something when the gas lines started it would be too late. We are already pumping oil from a mile under the ocean. What do you do when that runs out?
        Tell Germany that there is no crisis. Tell them they can get along without Soviet Union natural gas.

    • Dear DR,

      I feel so sorry for you. You have my pity.

      Because you have such a poor opinion of Tor’s comments.

      He is an enhancer.

      Most of us just put out whatever is twirling around in our brains.

      But not Tor.

      His elaborations of the dialog bring a broader understanding, that the topic is not to be narrowly discussed, because in doing so, you miss so much of what is truly reflected in our daily lives.

      Tor opens up possibilities that your skinny brain can’t begin to contemplate. So you write with contempt about that which you do not understand.

      This world is not black and white. There are vivid colors which enhance bouquets, as well as the colors enhance our lives.

      Try to become 3 dimensional. It will do wonders for you.

      Even a color cartoon beats the black and white version of the same humor.

      Most of the posters here thoroughly enjoy the uniqueness of Tor.

    • Dear DR,

      Tor’s posts are often highly cryptic.

      I too sometimes have trouble understanding what he’s getting at.

      But other times clicking on his links lead to some pretty damned interesting “Aha!” insights.

      I don’t see a real problem. I just read what strikes my fancy, and skip over what fails to resonate with me. No harm, no foul.

      Do we really need an “ignore button” to ignore something?

      This is very different from Clover and Gil do. What they are doing is perpetuating the Big Lie.

  9. Take a peak. ASPO

    Hunt for peak achu

    UK/OPEC are in alliance to maintain an artificial scarcity of oil. Saleable oil is left contrarily in the ground because max profit and market clearing is not the highest goal. World domination and population control is.

    Oil is finite in the sense that it is only produced at a certain rate. It’s not something created thru a big bang mechanism whereby it never replenishes itself.

  10. OK, two more words – peak oil. That’s been debunked, you say dismissively. WRONG. Do your own research. Gas can go nowhere but up. And if you don’t understand that the price is being held down here in the FUSA, you haven’t been outside its borders lately.
    Canada is around 6.00/gallon already. Hell, South Korea was nearly 8 several years ago. Great Britain is about the same. And, it’s not just taxes, or, at least, it won’t be. It will be a bona fide supply and demand equation, first put forth by Hubbert about the U.S. peak, which he correctly predicted about twenty-five years before it happened. Shale oil? Don’t make me laugh. Do your due diligence.
    Happy motoring!

    • For our purposes, lets agree it’s been debunked by the type of guys who commiserate with Fred Reed and who abjure Common Core Neo-African chanting about Climate Change and Health Care Crises.

      The common modern American has all the intellectual rigor and capacity of Prissy from Gone With the Wind, IMHO.

      Prissy – Gone With the Wind

      American Diversity Training with Scarlett Ohara

    • Why do people look at pump prices of gasoline that have lots of taxes and are measured in fiat currencies? In terms of 90% silver US coin, gasoline is as cheap or cheaper than ever with today’s higher taxes.

      Peak oil applied to one thing, US production of oil in a particular era. That’s all.

      It has become the cry of people who want our lives centrally managed via resources being centrally managed. What happens under those conditions? Resources get scarce.

      Also scaring people is what control freaks do, it’s one way they get power. Obey me, do what I say or you’ll die. The cry of control freaks for thousands of years. The hell with it. They’ve been universally wrong and they’ll continue to be wrong. The world won’t fall apart because we didn’t obey them, but it probably will if we do. When they are listened to and obeyed disaster is the common result.

    • Hi DR,

      I’ve been following this (peak oil) a long time (my adult life; I’m in my mid 40s). That’s not an argument, of course – just an observation. But, having observed (and read extensively about and followed trends and been working in an industry that is premised on the ready availability of generally affordable oil) my biological hard drive spits out the following result:

      We don’t really know.

      As Brent pointed out in an earlier post, Hubbard’s observations/calculations pertained to U.S. production – and did not take into account several critical factors, including:

      * New discoveries in previously inaccessible areas
      * New technologies for accessing oil economically in areas that were previously “off limits” for development/extraction.

      Plus, the Big One:

      Oil may be abiotic.

      It might be renewable.

      Apparently, “dry” wells have been refilling. And it appears that hydrocarbons may be the product of geothermal or other processes and not produced by the breakdown of biological material. The discovery of oceans – literally – of liquid hydrocarbons on, for example, Titan, a lifeless moon of Saturn (see provides compelling evidence of this.

      But, for me, the most compelling evidence that peak oil isn’t upon us – or even just around the corner – is the long-term commitment of industry (including the car industry) to an oil-based paradigm. It makes no sense – as a for instance – to continue manufacturing millions of cars – or large commercial airliners – if within a decade these will be rendered economically useless.

      I agree with Brent and others that – like “global warming” (now “climate change”) – this peak oil business is more about fear-mongering to justify political control than it is about anything else.

      • Eric, you must not understand the issues and the science to think that Peak Oil can be lumped in with the pseudo-science/religion of anthropogenic global warming. I can only conclude that you have not investigated the matter thoroughly, as you are not prone to self-delusion, and peak oil is not even a theory, it’s scientific fact. Please forget abiotic – totally debunked. When you have some spare time, go through the Crash Course of Chris Martenson – simply the best thing I’ve ever seen put together to explain how we got where we are, what the material inputs to civilization are, and what’s likely to be the future path for things like energy usage.
        It’s in my post at the (presently) bottom of this comment chain. Really, do it. It’s worth it. (Just google crash course – martenson, works too)

        • Peak oil isn’t bunk. It did exactly what it was supposed to. It’s bunk with regards to how it misused today. Because it is misused, like people blaming capitalism for today’s economic troubles, it points people in the wrong direction. Instead of finding a solution that benefit people we get more control that benefits the ruling class, etc.

          What we need are free markets. The so-called oil problem will be fixed. People need the courage to do nothing. To not have interventions. To not be control freaks.

        • I will check it out, DR. However, I don’t expect it’ll be a revelation as I’ve looked into this issue extensively over the years. Still, I will watch the video.

          My skepticism is based on several things, including the true cost of oil (that is, its cost sans taxes and taking account of fiat currency prices).

          If oil were being used up faster than known/projected supply, cost would go up – markedly. But when you remove taxes, unleaded regular currently sells for about $2.90 a gallon (in my area). Now, adjust for inflation – using the government’s own calculators: $2.90 works out to $1.45 in 1988 dollars (see here ).

          One must also take into account the federal mandates – such as the ethanol/oxygenated fuels mandates – that have artificially increased the price of gas by making it cost more to refine the fuel. This has probably added at least 20 cents per gallon to the cost of gas since the ’80s.

          In other words, a gallon of gas costs about the same today – in real terms – as it cost when I was in college back in the ’80s, once you account for taxes, inflation and mandates.

          We must also ask why the oil industry continues to invest heavily in capital improvements that assume “business as usual.” Ditto the airline and auto industries. Billions on the line. If these very smart people believed in Peak Oil, would they not act accordingly?

          • The beauty of Hubbert’s scholarly work was it correctly predicted the U.S. peak some decades prior. It was not commissioned by the oil industry, nor is their complicity in all the things you mentioned relevant to the peak oil science. It truly is not a theory anymore, and there are many factors in defining a peak in worldwide oil production, but the existence of said peak is not truly in question. The impacts of said peak ARE, and that’s what Chris Martenson has done such a good job putting together. One equation will define the next hundred years for this planet ERoEI. “Energy returned on energy invested.” If one takes away nothing more from the Crash Course than this solitary concept, that’s huge.
            Good luck with it – personally, I found it one of the best things I’ve ever seen put together – economics, energy, raw materials, really everything that makes up a civilization is thoroughly digested to produce more questions than answers.
            Another good read is Joseph Tainter’s “Collapse of Complex Societies.”

          • Eric,

            Predicting “running out of oil” has been going on for a long time. I can remember gloom and doom predictions from the 1950s, and the doomsayers have been going on about it much longer than that. What they fail to take into account are the discovery of new resources and the continual advancement of technology which makes previously unusable reserves economically accessible. The oil “shortages” that we have experienced have been political constructs.

            Yes, oil is a finite resource, but so is everything else that you can’t plant and grow. (What about “peak iron?” Will our civilization end when we reach “peak zinc?”) But oil is a very large resource, by the time we really have to worry about actually running out we’ll there will be many more alternatives to choose from.

          • There’s really nothing special about a production curve. It’s quite obvious. But to use it accurately requires limiting the problem. To limit it to one mine, one well, a region. But trying to get it across the world becomes practically impossible. Hubbert.s work is valid within the way he originally limited the problem. That’s why it’s correct for that time for that place. It’s not going to hold for a world where we can manufacture light sweet crude as we can today. Never mind the ability to find and get at oil that nobody knew of or thought possible at costs more profitable than imagined. Is there a peak for world production? Maybe. When? Nobody knows, nobody can know. It’s too many factors.

            The idea that the oil that has been discovered at astounding depths is biological matter crushed into oil means that there is very significant problems with prevailing theories of how this planet works. Let’s say earth doesn’t have any hydrocarbons that didn’t come from life for the sake of argument. Now we have to start accepting things like radical earth changes or a growing earth or a hollow earth or some other ‘out there’ idea of how the planet works. The idea that there are hydrocarbons that have been part of the planet since the beginning or are produced deep down is the simplest explanation that makes the most sense with observations in solar system.

  11. Wish we still had simple cheap cars, but we don’t. Safety mandates made them heavier and the trend among manufacturers has always been to complexify models year to year. Look at a ’65 Mustang next to the current model. Looks like a kayak next to a a cabin cruiser.

    The concept of the hybrid power plant is one of peak leveling, which most authors fail to grasp. At constant speed, a rather small engine purrs along without burning very much fuel. To satisfy the consumer’s demand for giddyup, the electric battery/motor kicks in to supplement the engine, then switches off once speed is achieved. And during braking, the electric motor captures about 20% of the kinetic energy and routes it back into the battery for use at the next stoplight. That’s why hybrids get about the same mileage in town as they do at constant speed.

    Bottom line for me has always been cost/mile driven. My Xterra with 70,000 miles at 21 mpg was a good, reliable car. But when I ran the numbers one Sunday morning at the ‘Yota dealer just for grins, it dawned on me that I could drive away with a brand new Prius, and at the end of 100,000 miles, would have $10,000 more in my pocket, besides the pleasure of driving a new car. So it didn’t take me very long to say, “Ok.”

    $24,000 out the door in 2008; they’re about the same now if you stay away from the fancier versions and the plug-in model. I don’t know why writers say they’re so expensive. Sure, you can pay over 30 grand for a plug-in hybrid, but do the math and there’s no way burning more grid-electricity will ever pay off over the projected lifetime of the car.

    Oh what a feeling, and all that.

  12. The Tesla Gigafactory Could Keep Model S Owners Driving For Decades

    JMHO – Tesla is emerging as the Googul of the auto industry, one manufacturer to rule them all.

    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.


  13. I’m no “greenie”, but I don’t think it’s relevant whether we get 11MPG (as my vehicles do) or 50MPG, like a VW TDI- in the scheme of things, it’s not going to make much difference.

    What WILL make a difference, is to stop wasting our time commuting 100-200 miles a day; living far away from family; etc. It seems the faster we can go and the better MPGs we can get…the faster and further we go.

    The answer is to NOT DRIVE SO MUCH. (And that includes not relying on public transport either- which is in reality VERY inefficient and VERY expensive- even for those who never use it, because we are forced to pay for it, since it can not support itself on the fares of those who use it)

    Live near where you work/work near homne or at home. The idea of houses just being placers where you eat, sleep and watch TV is the real culprit here. (And local gov’t laws which prohibit you from doing anything else at your own house…)

    75 years ago, people lived in an apartment above/house behind their business or walked/bicycled to work or the family life revolved around the small family farm. Until and if we get back to that, even 100MPG will mean nothing….we’ll just drive more and further because we can.

    I left the city years ago and got a nice little place in the country where my life revolves around my own property and home. I go to town once every few weeks. Drive less than 3000 miles a year. Life is good when it’s not flying by at 60MPH with a bunch of strangers.

    • The only solution to long commutes is voluntary housing. As long as diversity is imposed by the state, people’s only option is to flee.

      The diversity pursues the racism. The racism move farther away. Repeat.

      • People should be free to choose the “race” they’re running. Genetics and language play a part in who we are, but there’s more still.

        I would never want to live among suburban racists and their 24-hour smiley quiet time. Nor force them to pay for or endure my loud diversity decadence and disarray.

        I also don’t want to be bled dry by all the government make-work armies or the dark meat ghetto hoi polloi.

        I do think far more of us can get along than is currently the case

        R. King – Get Along

  14. The problem is easy to fix. Every car has a safety rating from 1 thru 10 with a “10” being the safest. When car shopping you only need to look at the safety rating. Want that great MPG? Don’t need AC, Auto, 400 AMP stero, Power everything, 0-60 in 3 seconds, 10 airbags, etc? To make this work the Dept of Trans needs to STOP mandating this and that causing vehicles to become the weighty overpriced behemoths they have become.

  15. I like my Camry Hybrid, but the mileage (38 mpg in winter, 44+ in summer) is secondary to 1) decent acceleration, far better than the putsy 4-cyl, and 2) range.

    I like the ability to sit in traffic and not watch the gas gauge drop. The 650 miles-per-tankful range (give or take) is relatively unaffected by sitting in traffic jams common to my area. If I lived in a hurricane zone, it would be the ideal evacuation car.

    With 44k miles on it in 18 months, I’ll “break even” on the higher purchase price in another year or two, but that’s not how I see it; I paid more for “more fun” (acceleration) and “more peace of mind” (range.)

  16. My old ’87 Honda CRX HF got 52 mpg and is probably still running somewhere. She was lightweight and carbureted. The technology exists.

  17. There are many options for servicing a battery pack that begins to announce it’s having issues. Essentially, they run from paying a robber dealer and getting raped to the tune of about 3-4K, to buying a “generic” bp for about a grand, and getting the needed help to put it in.

    As far as gasoline prices, imho they have been artificially LOW for some time in the FUSA. Since we live in the center of the kleptocratic world empire, this is one of the “bennies” tossed at us ants to keep us driving to Walmart from our suburban hovels. Anyone who’s traveled past these borders, even just to Canuckistan, can put this factum together. I expect to be paying 4-5 bucks again within a year or two, and am frankly amazed we’ve been getting under 4 bucks for so long this stretch.

    Do the math, the difference between driving 100K miles with avg. fuel price of 3.50 in a Prius, driven intelligently (53 mpg annualized), and a Camry, driven the same way (27 mpg) is about 6,600 dollars. Even if you drive the 200K that will probably required a 2-3K battery pack, you save nearly 10 grand over that time period. And, if gas goes up more????

    That’s why I own two Priuses, in addition to two V10s for other purposes…

    • I would have to disagree with you about the price of gas being too low. Understand that most of the price of gas is taxation. That kleptocratic world empire is the reason we aren’t paying less than $3/gal just from taxes alone. Then factor other regulatory costs and taxes passed on to us via corporate protectionism. Things like mandating certain percentages of ethanol which not only costs more to produce, but also does more damage to the environment. See, the hoax is that the democrats don’t really care about the environment. They care about funneling money back to their campaign contributors and away from those who tend to contribute to Republicans. And their contributors have a nasty habit of taking golden parachutes and then just closing down the business and making off like bandits. It’s just a scam they use to rob from the middle class to benefit the rich.

    • High prices cure high prices.

      Gasoline at > (some figure, I’d guess $4.50 or $5) will crush usage.

      My view is, do not expect to see gasoline above this range unless there is an overt hurricane-level shortage (which would be short-lived) or a true print-the-banknotes hyperinflation.

      I could be wrong, but there is a finite limit to gas prices. The USA, unlike Europe, lacks the alternatives to cars that allow for popular consent to extortionate taxes driving fuel costs to the moon. If taxes put people on foot in the USA, politicians would be kicked out of office en masse.

  18. Hybrids are a huge scam, I guess designed for people who are bad at math. The extra cost a hybrid almost never pays for itself in gas savings for the average driver, and that is not even the real costs. There are various manufacturer and government subsidies and tax breaks that artificially lower the sticker price of a hybrid.
    The real cost of the battery in energy – that is the energy that it takes to make the battery from the mine to the module is greater than the car ‘saves’ over its lifetime – actually several lifetimes. The technology to batteries is not yet efficient enough to compensate and it takes nearly as much to dispose as hazardous waste than it does to make it in the first place.
    I calculated one time that each hydrid car is individually responsible for over an acre of clear cut forest for the lithium mine. And if there anything more disgusting and environmentally nastier than a lithium mine it is a rare earth mine (motor magnets).
    Hybrid cars have only a small advantage in fuel mileage in the city because of the ability to recover braking energy, On the highway most people with hybrids that I have talked to barely get what my ’14 ML350 Bluetec gets on the highway – way in excess of 30 and most of the time 35mpg.

  19. In addition to the drawbacks of current hybrids listed, I’m curious about what happens when the battery packs wear down to the point that they no longer accept re-charging? When that point is reached, will the car still run & what are the battery pack R & R costs, including disposal?

    • they are classified as hazardous waste and must be properly disposed of. They could be theoretically recycled at this point it takes as much or more energy to recycle them as it takes to make them in the first place.

    • Check out Tesla. They are setting up battery swap stations all around the US so that you can just pull up and drop your used battery and pick up a fully charged one in half the time it takes to fill up your tank at the pump.

      • Hi Ryan,

        I’m extremely skeptical. It takes less than 5 minutes to fill up my gas tank. I doubt swapping a battery will take less than half an hour, minimum. And if the range is not doubled or tripled (to get close to being competitive with the range of an IC car, even a gas hog IC car) then these batteries will require swapping out constantly – a major hassle.

      • Ryan, Tesla is not setting up battery change stations. They are setting up battery charge stations. Quick charge stations. They will charge your battery to over 50% in about a half hour. I have been following Tesla because I am in effect, short the stock. I will make many thousands of dollars if the stock price does not double in the next few months.

        • 50 percent charge in only half an hour!

          Well, let’s see now. Tesla goes – maybe – 100 miles, assuming you drive at Clover Speed and assuming it’s not too cold or too hot out. So, you get 50 miles’ range – and only have to wait 30 minutes.

          Guess what, Clover? I can refuel my car in 5 minutes – and be almost 50 miles down the road before you and your Tesla are even ready to go.

          Poor ol’ Clover!

          • CloverGuess what Eric, it is not yours or my problem is it? If the car works for you and you like how it drives and can afford it then what is the problem? I can say bad things about your vehicle also. How about that motorcycle you own. Pretty hard to drive it though 6 inches of snow on the highway, right? How about the truck that you own. Costs twice the amount to drive as my car? How about that car that the guy drives, pretty hard to put a large object in the trunk right? Yes people try to buy the vehicle that works for them. If a Tesla does not work for you then you would be pretty stupid in buying one then wouldn’t you? I am short the company stock using options but it is not because it will not work for Eric.

  20. “The truth is, most people don’t value gas mileage uber alles.”
    Not yet, but they have reduced unneeded driving. If a big financial slide down, war rationing of fuels, or $6.00/ gallon price happens you can bet general interest in +40 MPG will become trendy overnight.

    Three years ago I bought a very decent ’94 Geo Metro that gets 43- 48 MPG for $1,000. The seller couldn’t attract any buyers at $1,500, so he took my low-ball offer. Fast forward 2 1/2 years and in the last 6 months I have had four requests to sell it for more then I paid.

    • Why does your Geo get such poor gas mileage? I bought one in 1990 and it got at least 60 MPG average. I put a lot of miles on that car, about 300 – 400 miles a day, and put most of my mileage compensation from the company into savings. 🙂

  21. I keep thinking about how my TDI would look with no back seat, no passenger seat, etc. Might even make enough room to put in a cot and make it a primative camper…

    • and just think, when the zombie apocalypse hits you can drain old french fry oil from the roadside fast food joints to keep going.

      • I’ve run used transmission fluid in my old 6.2 detroit diesel for years. It can be run in newer one too, just have to filter it well. Also not prone to gelling.

  22. We are, indeed, being “safetied” to death here. Driver safety, child safety, officer safety – it’s the new mantra. And, yes, the Prius is too large and heavy – but those are not the only factors influencing its (relatively) poor gas mileage.

    The main reason most Prius drivers only wrangle 48-52 averages over all driving is that they do not learn from the car HOW to drive for mileage. Driving for mileage is much easier when the driving platform (the car) returns to the user exactly the information needed to increase mileage, which the Prius does. In the Prius enthusiast world (yes! I said it!), this is called Hyper-Miling.

    Some Prius enthusiasts, often living in flatland areas, not these wunnerful mountains, Eric, routinely achieve 70 mpg on an entire tankful of gas. My personal best is around 61 for a tank, but I often hit high fifties in the summer, when gas has more energy per unit volume due to summer formulation. (As you know, winter gas truly sucks – another bow to the environmentalist religion.)

    Trust me, it’s possible to hyper-mile a great deal without inducing the ire of drivers who are in a hurry, or just out to enjoy a spirited drive. You won’t get 65-70 mpg by doing that, but you can easily achieve 50 in the cold months, and nearly 60 in the warmer ones.

    As I’ve commented here before, the Prius not only allows you to use its feedback to learn how to drive it economically, its lessons also carry over into every car you drive, when you want to drive for mileage. I’ve noticed much better tank MPG from every vehicle I own, as I’ve absorbed the lessons. Most of them are simple, like do not race up to a line of stopped traffic, especially if you’re on a slight upgrade, only to have to scrub off speed with brakes. One learns to time traffic lights to arrive when they’re just about green, and to avoid completely stopping at all, if possible. Every erg of energy is, seemingly, tracked by the Prius, and the instantaneous penalty for driving wastefully is plain to see.

    I enjoy a spirited romp through the twisties (not in the Prius) as much as the next enthusiast driver, but I reserve such moments for their right place and time, and pocket as much savings as I can from the simple movement of myself and my goods from place to place. I burn large quantities of premium fuel at VIR, usually running the full course around 2:30. I don’t mind averaging 6MPG there, because that’s what I’m about at those times.

    Once you learn to drive efficiently, you cannot help but notice the inefficient ways most people drive their vehicles. I don’t think most of them are enjoying “enthusiast” driving, they simply haven’t learned how to drive efficiently. They pay a large premium in not only fuel costs, but decreased life of wear components, especially brakes. I don’t know when my 2010 Prius will ever need a brake service – the factory pads look new at 60K, and – bonus! – there are no belts to worry about.

    Now if VA would just take their heads out of their legislative arse and repeal the “Hybrid tax” that hits us drivers with a big annual tax to make up for all the money we’re NOT paying to Leviathan at the pump – grrr!

    • All those hyper mileage tricks work equally well with a TDI without the downsides of costs and battery disposal issues. The batteries and the Achilles heel of the technology. You will never even at 60mpg return with energy savings the cost of making and disposing of that battery pack.
      If you care about the environment you would not ever buy a hybrid car.

      • CloverAlexP, hyper mileage tricks work in every car. I did a test once and was able to get 25% better mpg than the listed highway mpg for my car model. The only problem is that it only works to the maximum if you travel on back roads where there are few if any other cars. Otherwise, there is road rage displayed by certain drivers here that get furious if you are not driving at least 10 mph over the limit.

        • My name is clover. I come here to brag about my stock portfolio and investing prowess. And my penis, which is 15 inches long. I love to brag about myself here, because it’s completely unverifiable, yet totally gratifying. Oh, wait, I just remeasured, and it’s 16 inches.

          • CloverTor, I just do not sit around and make up stories and copy a dozen links and post them like you do. While you find that copying links is your thing, making money is one of mine. You all claim to know everything about cars and driving but I use my common sense and make some money with what I know just like Eric claims to. Eric claims his expertise in cars tells him that GM is going bankrupt. Well I said that Tesla was overpriced and backed it up with my pocketbook. If you are not willing to back up what you say with your pocketbook then I guess you can say anything but who really cares because you do not believe in it yourself. An expert at cars and car manufacturing should be able to pick the winning manufacturer wouldn’t you think?

        • Clover, you have stated that you have made money with your predictions. I am fairly new here. Please repost your links if you have evidence of how you did so.

          • Ha! A ‘pocketbook’. Too funny.

            And yeah, Brian. You’re not getting a reply from he/she/it on that.
            Er, I’ll be shocked if you do get one,… one that makes sense, anyway.

          • eric, I have always said clover was a two holer. Just wish I could get clover in Chuck the old KW when I’m pounding around a curve marked “60” and doing 75 and grossing 90,000 lbs. It puts “speed” into perspective.

  23. I still see an original Insight every now and again. There’s no question that Honda was ahead of their time with it.

    Also looking at their two attempts to duplicate it in a slightly larger vehicle (the Civic Hybrid and Insight #2 — both of which are now discontinued for low sales), it’s obvious that they should reintroduce it.

    Everyone I know that owns a hybrid doesn’t use them as their family car — they have an SUV or minivan for taking everyone out to the movies. If they go to Disney World, they rent something large and comfortable. What they use their hybrid for is as a commuter car – just getting to work and back, maybe running some errands in town. And a small two-seat hybrid is perfect for that.

    • IMO the main reason the Insight 1.0 flopped was that despite its great MPG the emissions were too high to qualify it for the tax breaks available at the time. (Don’t know why that was — perhaps Eric can tell us.)

      According to, the Civic hybrid and Insight 2.0 have not been discontinued. There is also a CNG version of the Civic.

      We took the wife’s Prius C on a vacation from FL to OK last year (~1300 miles each way). Enjoyed the trip immensely. The fold-down rear seat allows for plenty of cargo room. I liked her car so much I got one of my own recently (slightly used).


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