Plug-in Hybrids: The Future of Cars?
Image by Center for American Progress
U.S. reliance on oil – primarily for transportation – has many negative impacts. To pay for this oil, American consumers send billions of dollars to other countries including some that are incongruent with U.S. interests. And we are dependent on this fuel from countries rife with political instability. Conflicts there can cause the oil price to spike. In short, oil dependence threatens our economy and national security.
In addition, the combustion of oil and petroleum products – particularly gasoline – threatens our environment. Emissions of greenhouse gases from motor vehicles are the second largest source of U.S. global warming pollution.
Congress began to address these problems with the enactment of the Energy Independence and Security Act. President Bush signed it into law on December 19, 2007. It includes the first increase in fuel economy standards since 1975. It would require cars and light trucks to meet an average fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, with interim steps in the early years.
Now that the new law sets a fuel economy destination, auto companies can travel there via various routes. Some companies, such as General Motors, plan to develop "plug in hybrids" that rely on batteries recharged via AC outlets, combined with gasoline. Other companies plan to develop cars that rely on different fuels. Each system has its advantages and drawbacks.
This event will brought together leaders from General Motors and Honda to discuss their various approaches to achievement of the new fuel economy standards. An impartial automotive engineer from the Union of Concerned Scientists provided his perspective as well. The ultimate technology "winner" could affect our transportation system for years to come.
Hybrid Car Prices: Good Value For The Money
Article by Ernest Jarquio
Retail hybrid car prices as suggested by manufacturers (better known as MSRP) are decided by the car makers and advised to the car dealers to be the base price guide in dealing with public sale. Dealers providing fleet sales to corporate buyers have also the invoice price, or that amount paid by the dealers to the automakers, better used for wholesale purchases being made from the dealers.
While these two serve as guides for the car buyer, prices may increase due to additional costs for non-standard features or add-ons to the vehicles. There are also charges for delivery to move the vehicles to the final destination where buyer is situated. Thereafter, sales taxes, marketing costs, registration costs and other costs may be added by the dealership over and above the MSRP or invoice price.
As of this writing, at the bottom rung is the Toyota Prius, most reasonably priced at suggested retail of ,175, exclusive of tax incentives that come along with purchases of hybrid, environmentally-friendly units. At the high end of the spectrum will be the 2007 Honda Accord Hybrid 4-wheel drive four-door sedan, at around ,000. Both these prices do not include delivery or destination pricing.
The Array of Hybrid Car Prices
In between the Prius and the Accord, the Camry Hybrid from Toyota is priced at around ,000. The Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid starts at ,695, a highly recommended purchase by many hybrid enthusiasts. The Honda Hybrid FWD four door sedan starts at ,600 exclusive of destination costs.
To give you a gauge on SUVs, the Mercury Mariner 2008 Hybrid four-wheel drive SUV starts at the bottom with ,515, followed by the Ford Escape Hybrid 4FD SUV at .250. Packed and loaded with all amenities you can ask for, the 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid can be yours for ,500.
The brand name comes with the package. With such prestigious car makers as Toyota, Honda, Ford, Saturn, Mercury, Volkswagen, Mercedes, the name comes at a premium. Brand name notwithstanding, the full array of features and accessories not included in standard units also impact on the final price of the hybrid car you are purchasing.
Hybrid car prices are definitely higher than for conventional models. That’s because the manufacturer requires more resources to produce the hybrids with their added valuable features – these all add up to the cost. It is envisioned, though, that the fuel savings from hybrids will more than compensate for the usually higher purchase price compared to pure fossil-fuel models.
To give you an idea, take the Honda Accord as an example. While a value-packaged 4-door Accord Sedan can fetch for as low as ,450, the Hybrid Accord’s price is almost twice higher at more than ,000. While Accord’s special edition sedans and coupes range from ,350 to ,450, these prices are still a far cry from hybrid’s prices. Only the EX-L four-wheel drive 2-door Accord Coupe comes close at ,500.
The price differences among Civic models are somewhat more manageable and saleable. Take a 4-door sedan Civic EX priced at ,510 add a hybrid system and you’re ,500 poorer. But the price difference, at least, is not all that much.
Even with Toyota models, the fuel efficiency and environmental-friendliness and zero-emission tags all come at a premium. The Camry Hybrid starts at ,200 when its conventional sister is priced at only ,570. Even with the federal tax reductions for hybrid vehicles, the MSRP is still a tad higher.
With the kind of research and development, not to mention the extensive testing done on hybrid or alternative-fuel models, it’s not surprising that hybrid car prices are more expensive. And manufacturers do not stop at the hybrid or fuel-efficiency features; they also try and pack the hybrid with the latest in electronics for the interiors, dash and instrumentation and everything.
Standard or optional amenities notwithstanding, environmentalists will always say that hybrid car prices are worth every penny car buyers shed, if only to ensure a better, cleaner, safer world for tomorrow. Amen to that, say the hybrid manufacturers’ environmental drum beaters.
About the Author
Visit Green-Hybrid-Cars.com to learn more about the Saturn Vue hybrid and hybrid car prices.