Heres’ the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mark asks: With the onset of higher gasoline prices; with the prospect that those prices will remain high for the foreseeable future; I’ve thought about trading in my 2015 Ford Focus for a hybrid. I’ve looked at the Toyota Prius C and the Chevy Volt. Unfortunately, when I priced both on Carvana yesterday, they’re both fetching $15K-$20, sometimes more! Thanks to the high gas prices, chip shortage, and the lack of new cars, these vehicles are fetching high prices. Though either one of those vehicles would get better mileage than my Focus, I don’t know if it would make financial sense to trade in my Focus for either one of those cars. Though it gets decent gas mileage, it’s nowhere close to what a hybrid can do. OTOH, I don’t know if I could recoup the money it would cost me to buy either the Prius C or the Volt What are your thoughts?
My reply: You’ve partially answered your own question! Doing the math will help you make your decision. However, there is a variable. Gas prices could increase significantly – and probably. I think this makes the case for the hybrid more persuasive. And I specifically recommend the Volt – which is a unique hybrid.
As you know – but for the sake of those who don’t – the Volt is the only hybrid ever sold that is an electric car, without the electric car gimps. It can go 30-50 miles entirely on electric power and that power can be re-instilled without burning any gas at all (by plugging it in). But it is not tied to the cord, either – because it has a gas engine that will kick on and work like a generator, to produce electrical power which keeps you going until you want to stop for a charge.
Many Volt owners drive for weeks – months – without using any gas at all. Most use very little gas, unless their daily drive exceeds the car’s all-electric range. If you don’t usually have to drive more than 30-50 miles each day, this can save you a great deal of money on gas. And the ability to operate on gas or electricity gives you a great deal of flexibility.
How much are those attributes worth?
Another/sideways option to consider is a VW TDI diesel (unfixed). I can personally attest these cars can achieve 50-plus MPG, very close to hybrid mileage – and without the cost (except for the fuel). But even that may be compensated for by the probability of finding one of these (made through 2016) for much less than you’ll pay for a Volt or other hybrid with comparable mileage on the clock!
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