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paying up

...Better still, check out Edmunds' total cost of ownership (TCO) page for 2006 Prius. There you will see some whooping big annual depreciation numbers. Then look at Edmunds' true market value (TMV) for 2004 and 2005 Prius, and decide for yourselves if the depreciation numbers on the TCO page make any sense during years 1 and 2. Then, look at the 5-yr depreciation for 2001 Prius (it is about $9k), and decide for yourself if the 5-yr depreciation for 2006 Prius (it is about $14.7k) is really our best guess in a world where fuel costs have nowhere to go but up.

I am entirely pleased to see all this media attention drawn to Edmunds' TCO calculations, but cannot help noticing that the depreciation numbers there are much higher than what we can easily determine from their TMV section. I recently sent an email to Edmunds describing exactly this internal disparity, and eagerly await their reply.

But perhaps they won't bother. Consumer Reports (remember the May 06 issue?) did not, when I tried to help them with the same numbers. At times I wonder if I am alone in being able to discern Prius real TCO.

I drive a 2001 Prius. My TCO is in the low to mid 20s cents per mile. I do DIY maintenance, but even those who frequent the Toyota shops ought to be around 30. There are few if any non-hybrids purchased new that can reach down so low.

If you own a Prius or other hybrid, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you don't, I'd like to suggest that even these semi-glowing assessments still don't have it right. Choose well!

DAS
 

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I did lots of research while deciding what to buy and also found the depreciation high, especially since on Edmunds, kbb.com, et al I had found the used Prius models to be no cheaper than the new ones.
Despite this problem, the Prius still compare favorably in TCO to cars much cheaper and/or smaller (Scion, Civic, Yaris, etc.). I felt great knowing I was buying a car that was larger, nicer, getting better mpg, less polluting, getting a tax credit, AND has a lower TCO as I plan to drive it for several years.
 

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Someone educate me!

What is all this depreciation talk? I guarantee that with gas at $3.00/gal. or more, our Prius' will hold their value extremely well for the next 5 years. Are the reports saying something different?
 

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Gas has been over the $3.00 mark for a long time now and although my friends, neighbors, and relatives find my car very interesting, not one is interested in owning one.
They sort of put them in a class as cheap transportation but not really genuine cars.
Maybe if Toyota builds more of them or gas gets to $10.00 a gallon!
However any political party that wants to retain or insure power will never let the price get higher in the near future.
It might help if we found more serious speech on the Leno, Letterman, and John Stewert shows who just seem to treat the Prius and it's owners in the humourous vein.
However there is the old saying, "I don't care what they say about me, as long as they keep me in print."
As far as comedians are concerned, they get a lot of "milage" out of Prius and Hummer drivers.
 

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If Toyota comes out with a major change, like plug in option, then we may find the Gen2 resale value drop a bit, just as the classic dropped when Gen2 came out.

So far my cost per mile excluding insurance but including everything else is about 32 cents/mile at 63K miles.

Too bad my friend's wife wants a seaside pearl. If she wanted a salsa red, and I didn't put so many miles on my car, I could have sold her mine when she is ready and I get a new seaside. And at or below MSRP this time.
 

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hyperion said:
...Maybe if Toyota builds more of them or gas gets to $10.00 a gallon!
However any political party that wants to retain or insure power will never let the price get higher in the near future.
Administrations can have immense power and influence, as witnessed by the current one, but the power to control the price of a barrel of oil is very much out of their control.

The Prius will no doubt continue to be in an advantageous depreciation position with the inevitable rise of gas prices.
 

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So you think an administration that can dump a million bucks a day in Iraq, Afganistan can't come up with a subsidy for fuel oil to protect it's power structure?
Actually Toyota might just create a better market and the ability to supply same by the simple modification of putting in a standard gear type of selector as Honda has done with the Civic and Accord hybrid and I believe Toyota with the Camry hybrid automatics. In those cars once you are in the interior you have no idea you are driving a hybrid and all problems with "rent a cars," valet parking ect; would be solved, and a car market might be created.
Oh and I also would sacrifice three more inches in the trunk for a standard $57.00 12 volt battery.
 

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in response to Alphawolf, I think people don't realize how nice the Prius is inside. They think only green freaks willing to sacrifice anything for the environment buy it. Most people really have no understanding of how the car works, or what a good comparison vehicle is.
 

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hyperion said:
However any political party that wants to retain or insure power will never let the price get higher in the near future.
You could have said the exact same thing when gas was $1.00/gal, $1.50/gal, or $2.00/gal.

The same will be said when gas is $5.00/gal.
 

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This topic got me to wondering about the cost per mile on my recently sold '04 Prius, so I went through all my records and came up with the following figures. I save all receipts, so it was just a matter of adding them all up.
Bought new on Oct. 29, 2003. Sold July 4, 2006. Odometer read 70,633mi

Purchase price, excluding tax and license $22,052
Sold, not traded in, to original dealer for 16,000 (a $4000 hit on mi)
Depreciation of approx. 28% $6252.00

Fuel (1291.772 gals) $2987.26 (lifetime avg 54.5 mpg)

Service and parts (air filters,etc) $721.53

Replacement tires @ 63,000mi $325.19

Taxes and yearly license fees $2123.00

Insurance in So. California $2624.00

Total costs as listed above $15,032.98 spread over 70,633 miles

My costs per mile are a shade over 21 cents. Of course, taxes and insurance costs vary by location. I don't think that the depreciation in my case was bad at all. My average cost per gallon on gas was $2.31. In So. Cal. gas hit $2 in August '04, and $3 in April '06, for regular grade. My high miles have added to my costs, of course. However, I think it would be hard to argue that I could have run any comparable car for less money.
 

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Did you pay cash for the car? If not, you may not have accounted for interest.

I calculated capital costs by adding my car payments/downpayments, then subtracting equity (which is car value minus loan balance) which right now is an additional cost since I am upside down at the moment.
 

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Yes, I paid cash. I suppose there is a way to figure the cost of money, even paying cash, but since I was just looking for comparison costs, it didn't occur to me. Even some of the expenses on my list, such as taxes, license and insurance, would be about the same for different cars in the same price range. However, they are out of pocket expenses related to owning a car, so I included them. I haven't looked at Edmunds' report, so I don't know what they include. I was able to use my '04 because I had a hard cash figure on the resale value. Otherwise, you have to pretty much rely on estimated value from Edmunds or KBB. I do know, as I mentioned, that the extra miles (normal was 38,000) dropped those book values by $4,000. The other thing that helps me in defraying vehicle related costs is that I am able to deduct business mileage, which accounts for roughly 80% of my miles. That would also apply to any vehicle, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I forgot about this thread that I started yesterday! How sad is that?

The biggest reason I stared this thread after reading the CNN article was because of all the people who have gone out of their way to tell me my car will not pay for itself. Like I purchased it for that reason. It's almost the first thing everone says when they hear I drive a Prius.

"Oh, you drive a Prius? It won't pay for itself."

My typical responce: "I didn't buy it so it could pay for itself, I baught it becasue it's a great car for the price I paid. I wouldn't trade it for any other car out there."
 

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WHY do they always seem to ask that question about hybrids??? They dont ask that about other cars......... Actually, I've never in my life gone to a car lot and said "HMmmmm, very nice truck there, but will it ever pay for itself?"

No vehicle (except maybe now our Pruii) has EVER paid for itself, and I really dont think I know anyone who has ever purchased one for that reason. Sorry, I just dont know why they even did that study, but thats just IMHO.... :lol:
 

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My company reimburses me $.44 per mile. So on a 500 mile trip in a week, I spend about $30.00 on gas and get over $200.00 in mileage reimbursement. The "extra" $170.00 goes in the bank, collecting interest, until I need it for mods, and repairs or replacement parts/labor. So far, even with all of the mods I have done, I am way ahead. I paid cash for the car.

I am no econ major, but from my limited knowledge point of view, it has been a good buy...but what do I know!
 

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If you paid cash, then your method of calculation is valid.

When people talk about paying for itself, they are referring to the extra cost of the hybrid drivetrain.

I was mulling over my calculation of 32 cents/mile (not including insurance and subsequent registration fees), and hadn't considered that I bought a totally new car rather than a used economy car like I normally do. Even the 88 Honda Accord I bought used in 92 was at an economy car price (took over my boss's lease purchase option).
 

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For the Prius, I think the statement "you paid extra for the hybrid technology" is bogus. I'm sure there is extra cost involved for the extra equipment. The problem I have with the "staters" of the above is there is no way they could prove it. You can't buy a non-hybrid Prius to compare it to.

Lets see:
Interior space - about the same as regular Camry (about the same cost).
Luggage space - about the same as regular Camry (about the same cost).
What exactly are they "comparing" it to?
The Prius gets much better mileage than the Camry (if that is what we use for comparison). I would estimate operating costs to be about the same over long periods (allowing for the extra cost of a new "traction battery" - if they ever do start failing). Over the short term (3-5 years) the costs for the Prius would be lower.

I think it's time to start stomping on these quoters of unproven statements!
 
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