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Discussion Starter #1
We are on the market for a new car for my wife. With the gas prices near $3 here in Bay Area, we'd like to have something, you know... that will keep our gas receipts as low as possible. So, the Prius seems to be the choice...

However, with all that availability problems, wait times, and prices over MSRP made me wondered whether that purchase will justify my savings on gas.

I decided to make a simple research. The easiest way would be comparing Prius with a similar non-hybrid car ideally by the same make.

So what would be a suitable car from Toyota to compare? Corolla? Well, Prius is a hatchback and it seems more spacious, so Corolla does not look like a god candidate.

What else. Matrix? Matrix seems to be more versatile but I think is ok to use it is as a comparison tool. This fact that it is a little more functional car will make it easier later to come up with the final decision if the cars will appear so-so at the end of the research.

Now, it is obvious that to simplify calculation of price difference, it is enough to compare basic packages assuming they have the same features. All extras and options should be excluded since they will add similar premium amounts but keep the same difference.

It looks like Matrix XR shares the same set of basic features with Prius. According to Edmunds the TMV prices are the following:

Prius: $21,929 (MSRP +$400)
Matrix XR: $16,550 (MSRP -$1000)

Prius gives $2000 tax deduction I may end up saving around $600 in cash.
Matrix has currently $500 rebate from the manufacturer.

Finally we have:
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Prius: $21.3K
Matrix XR: $16K
Difference: $5.3K

Average MPG (optimistic estimate):
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Prius: 50
Matrix: 30
Difference: 20

Let's assume the gas prices will stay at $3 level and we drive 10K miles annually:

Annual gas cost:
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Prius: $600 (10,000 / 50 * $3)
Matrix: $1000 (10,000 / 30 * $3)
Difference: $400

Time to pay off the price difference:
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~ 13 year (5,300 / 400)
or
~130K miles

Are we going to keep Prius for that long? Not likely.

Even if an average price of gas will be $6 per gallon it will still require more than 6 years of savings to justify the cost.

And again, Matrix is a more functional and powerful car.
So, the decision seems very simple on the paper...

Now, is there any flaw in my logic? Should I still buy Prius to save the Earth and PAY the premium out of my pocket for saving the Earth?
 

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If oil goes up to $80 per barrel in the next to years as some opec guy recently claimed, you can kiss $3.00 / gallon good-bye.

Also the average # of miles/year put on a car is usually stated as 12k.

Interior space of the Prius is supposedly same as a Camry so that might be a better choice to compare.

Are you assuming the same dealership that's marking up a Prius at MSRP +400 is going to mark down a Matrix $1000 ... If you can go to another dealer to get a Matrix, you can also do the same for the Prius. That would eliminate (potentially) $1400 of your difference.

But your argument is true... If you buy a Prius instead of a Matrix, and never drive either one, you will never make up the difference in price via fuel savings.
 

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justin98 said:
Now, is there any flaw in my logic? Should I still buy Prius to save the Earth and PAY the premium out of my pocket for saving the Earth?
Isn't that a good enough reason? It's your call. Some people do active stuff to try to get a better environment for us. They do voluntary work for greenpeace or other organizations.
Some others, where I include myself, are too lazy for that. So I just do what I don't mind to afford. Like separating my garbage for recycling and choosing an environmental friendly car that may cost a little more, but it pays out in conscience. It's not all about money.
 

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Will it pay for itself in gas? Depends on how high the price per gallon goes. But, if all you want to do is save money, there are other less expensive vehicles out there with excellent gas mileage. You've named at least one.

It's really about emissions and environmental responsibility in the development of the vehicle. Toyota has used low VOC (volatile organic compounds) coatings, and materials in manufacture. You may notice (or NOT notice) that there's very little "new car" odor (the smell of VOCs offgasing). Also, the car emits quite a low amount of greenhouse gases/ozone precursors when the gas engine is running.

Really, it boils down to who is going to pay the cost? Are you paying it by buying a somewhat more expensive car? Or are everyone else and the environment paying it when you pay less for a car that pollutes more.

Your choice. We made ours.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
spacejazz said:
Isn't that a good enough reason? It's your call. Some people do active stuff to try to get a better environment for us. They do voluntary work for greenpeace or other organizations.
Some others, where I include myself, are too lazy for that. So I just do what I don't mind to afford. Like separating my garbage for recycling and choosing an environmental friendly car that may cost a little more, but it pays out in conscience. It's not all about money.
I agree it is my call. And if everyone does it, we would make a better world... But the fact that the government will give me only a few hundreds back for keeping the air of this country cleaner in the same time allowing $38,000 deduction to the Hummer buyers makes me absolutely sick:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/104 ... er17.shtml
 

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justin98 said:
...But the fact that the government will give me only a few hundreds back for keeping the air of this country cleaner in the same time allowing $38,000 deduction to the Hummer buyers makes me absolutely sick...
That isn't really a reason not to buy the car, is it? I'm not going to buy the environmentally responsible car, since Uncle Sam will give Johnny $38,000 to drive a gas hog. That's like saying "I'm going to eat worms, and then they'll be sorry!" Step on the head of your legislator, but I wouldn't base a car buying decision on it.
 

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No car purchase can be totally justified by price comparisons alone. The Prius is special in many ways, low emissions, highly improved fuel economy, size, features, and technology. Sure, you are going to pay more for a Prius, but there is more, much more. Is auto climate even offered on the Matrix? Standard on the Prius. How about passenger space? I bet the Matrix is smaller in terms of passenger space. I can't speak to cargo area, but the Matrix's cargo area with the rear seats up is going to be more useful because of the lack of a rear slope.

As you can see, I'm going to advocate for the Prius on many dimensions, however you have to come to a conclusion about how these two vehicles compare. Don't just look at the numbers, but look at the features.
 

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Justin88,

Don't forget to add in the savings from those every 2 year CA smog checks you will not need anymore.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/online/vrir/vrfaqsmain.htm

Do I need a smog certification? What if I haven't had my vehicle smog checked?

Currently, smog inspections are required for all vehicles except diesel powered vehicles, electric and natural gas powered vehicles, hybrids, motorcycles, trailers, or vehicles 30 model years old or older. Starting April 1, 2005, all 1975 and older vehicles will be exempt from smog certification requirements
 

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Buying a Prius to save money on gas is like buying a cow to save money on milk... think about it! :idea:
 

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It's a personal thing.

You've done all the research.

You know about the mileage, the $2,000 rebate this year and the low emissions.

Have you done a test drive?

These were my considerations. My Saturn was 9 years old and it was time to buy a car. I wanted something comperable. In other words I didn't want anything smaller, cheaper or with less amenities than my previous car. My Saturn cost about $20,000 9 years ago, the Prius was $22,000. The Prius has a CD player, the Saturn had a tape deck. The Saturn had leather but the Prius is bigger and has a hatchback.

The Prius gets double the mileage the Saturn got and the Saturn was consistently over 20 mpg.

The Prius has really low emissions and I like that. Yes, I do put my money where my mouth is and now I can justify mocking SUVs and Hummers.

I didn't know about the smog thing but am really pleased about it. I used to hate having to do that before I could renew my registration.

And soon I'll be able to drive in the HOV lanes. I believe they already can in Virginia.

So test drive all the cars on your list, eliminate the ones that don't fulfill your requirements. But in the end buy the car you LIKE, not the one that makes the most sense fiscally.
 

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Here is something else to think about: I could sell my 1 year old Prius for MORE than I paid for it. This won't last, but how many cars do you know of that don't depreciate the instant they are driven off the lot?

I purchased my Prius for the overall package:

- Low emissions
- High Millage
- Lots of interior room
- Plenty of power (remember, it has a motor AND and engine)
- Comfortable ride

After getting the car, I'm even more happy with my decision. I can honestly say it's the best car I've ever owned.

BTW, don't forget the "geek" and "wow" factors of this car! I love it when I drive people places and the car goes into stealth mode. Every time, the people in the car say, "Wow, your car is so quiet!" Or when people see the energy screen and notice I'm getting 100MPG!

I never purchased this car thinking it will pay for itself in gas savings. That's silly. I purchased it because I feel good driving it. Good about my self and what I'm doing for the environment.
 

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Yarok said:
Buying a Prius to save money on gas is like buying a cow to save money on milk... think about it! :idea:
Only if you are already required to own at least 1 mid-sized four legged herbivore. It's not like he's going to go w/o a car if he doesn't buy a Prius.
 

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When we compared cost, we used the Camry. And in reality, the Prius comes with more standard items than the Camry, and the base is like 2k apart. I could never only drive a car 10k a year... I'm guessing we'll drive our car 16k a year or more even.
I also don't like dependence on foreign oil at all!
As another poster said, the Prius has been retaining it's value VERY well!

Also I wouldn't pay over MSRP for the Prius.


PLEASE tell me gas won't go over $3/gallon!!! I don't care if I hybrid or not! I just HATE putting pas in the car!
 

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As for number 1, if you watched the president on national news tonight it isn't the cost of a barrel of oil that is both raising gas prices and lowering his popularity but the lack of supply. This caused by enviremental laws restricting the construction of more refineries. His solution is to construct new refineries on closed military bases, government owned and so not under restrictions.
2nd, he says it is time to remove the wall of constrictions on the construction of Nuclear power plants as they have done in Europe since they are clean burning pollution free. (his words) and a lot less expensive for producing electric power. And last, he says it's time to give tax incentives to people who buy clean burning diesel cars. (no mention of hybrids from the "oil man")
3rd and back to the thread, Have you checked out the cost difference between the Prius and the smaller of the Dodge Caravans which now get about 25 MPG and come with all the goodies for about $18,000, including seats which fold into the floor and give you almost all the advantages of a pick-up when you have need of one. Any new vehicle will get you through California's smog checks for at least the next eight years/
And lastly, you get to the point whether you are more interested in the envirement or the US economy? As long as you meet California smog standards, the envirement will be fine. As for the tax write-off. To save $500.00 your income would have to exceed $100,000.00 ($50,000. saves you about $250.00)
 

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Here's a couple of other ideas about purchasing the Prius that I rolled around in my head. Not only did I compare a Matrix but also a Rav4 (2wd) and even a Highlander (2wd), mainly for the practicality and room. The problem with all the other cars is they weren't even as advanced as a Prius. If I put my money into a car, was I getting the best technology there was? Why did I think like that? Because basically the other vehicles were just cars. The Prius above all the others, is a heck of readily recognized technologically advanced automobile. It has the same esoteric recognition as a Hummer or a Corvette for their unique values. All without spending $30K+. It's also a heck of a conversation starter.

P.S. I didn't spend over MSRP either.
 

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I bought it (2004) because compared to other sedans its approximate size & price range it had a very good set of overall characteristics:

Reliability, safety features (multiple air bags), fuel efficiency, clean air, handling, maneuverability, performance, interior space, CVT, great convenience features (such as smart key, smart start, and others).

I have driven it 22K+ miles and am delighted with my choice. I love the mpg. I paid MSRP & feel it was priced well for its overall value.
 

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If you've decided to buy a new car, then you've already decided that money is not the most important consideration. It's even more expensive if you borrow money to buy a new car. Much, much cheaper to buy something two to four years old for cash and then drive it into the ground.
 

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buying tips...

There's a 'zen' about the Prius that NO other car can give you. Not tangible, not your pocketbook. It always feels right when I'm in my Prius. Just knowing what it is NOT doing to the environment for our future generations, NOT doing to the gas supplies for future generations...it's a forward thinking car that is here now. Have you hugged your Prius today?
 

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Re: buying tips...

finman said:
There's a 'zen' about the Prius that NO other car can give you. Not tangible, not your pocketbook. It always feels right when I'm in my Prius. Just knowing what it is NOT doing to the environment for our future generations, NOT doing to the gas supplies for future generations...it's a forward thinking car that is here now. Have you hugged your Prius today?
EXACTLY!

And what seems to be ignored so much is the emissions of this car. Forget that it gets great gas millage, which helps reduce emissions; it is designed to reduce emissions even more than a "Dodge that gets 25 MPG". I almost fell out of my chair when I read that one.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see the number of Prius owners on the road go up. When I first purchased mine, I would see maybe 2 during my commute. Now I don't even count; there are too many.

I was passed by an H2 this morning and thought to myself, "With the emissions that pig is putting out, I hope my near zero is making a differance!!".
 
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