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njkayaker said:
For the relatively wealthy average driver, MPG is largely a non-issue! And if one is in this group (wealthy average drivers) and one buys a Prius, the reason behind the purchase isn't to save money! (One would need to be relatively wealthy and drive lots of miles to be able to afford a Prius and to justify it economically).
I think you are exactly right. I am in this category and I didn't do it to save money because I couldn't afford gas or believe I won't be able to in the future. However, I don't like spending money on gas when I don't need to, so I kind of viewed it as not wasting money on gas, rather than saving money overall. In the past few months I also installed a solar pool heater, new energy efficieint air conditioners and furnaces, and replaced over 50 65W floodlamps with 14W compact fluorescents. I did those things for similar reasons. Spending less on energy, in conjunction with using less and creating less CO2 is just kind of satisfying to me. I didn't do any real analysis to see when I would "break even", if ever.
 

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redwein said:
I think you are exactly right.
You get it.

One of the purposes of my talking about the pure economics was to show there were other reasons (even interesting ones like yours) behind many (I think) Prius purchases.

The Prius is a really odd car!

Classically, cars had value related to "power" (think BMW), "luxury" (ie, comfort) (think Cadillac), and "impracticality" (think Corvette). These parameters are all associated with the cost of the car (the more expensive, the better).

The Prius is a really odd car because it not based on these classic parameters of value and because it's relatively cheap. Because it's relatively cheap, it's also a strange equalizer of wealth. One can't buy a $50k Prius and, even if you could, doing so would contradict the "practical/economical" attributes of the Prius. The Prius is also a marker of relative wealth because poor people can't afford it.

Keep in mind that I am not saying that this stuff applies to all or most Prius owners. I do think it is a real part of the cultural aspect of the Prius.


Personally, I have a strong preference for efficient cars (and have had this preference for a long time) for many of the reasons you do. So, I'd rather see people buy Priuses (for whatever reasons they do so).

The Prius is very cool.
 
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