August 9, 2005
Math Is Hard
I'm starting to think about buying a new car, mostly because the current car doesn't have air conditioning. Even though my now-13-year-old car has caused me some problems, I'm still pretty happy with Hondas. So I decided to see if a hybrid would be worth it.
First off, Accord V-6s. The hybrids don't come with manual transmissions, according to NADA. Thanks for playing.
OK, move on to the Civics. I compared the PZEV manual transmission with the regular version's EX model. As best as I can tell, those are comparable cars except for the hybrid engine.
NADA says the MSRPs are $20,050 for the hybrid and $17,510 for the normal one. Difference is $2,540. Assuming I want the hybrid to pay for itself in four years, that's 40,000 miles I need to travel. Now for the fun part.
I'm going to say ¼ of my miles are highway miles, going to and from work or to and from the doctor. That means I'll do 10,000 on the highway and 30,000 in the city. I'll use a total of 806 gallons of gas in the hybrid and 1,124 in the regular. That's a difference of 318 gallons.
So now I have a cost and a number of gallons. $2,540 divided by 318 gallons is $7.98/gal. That's how expensive gas will have to get before a hybrid is worth it to me.
Now, as part of the energy bill the first 60,000 vehicles any manufacturer sells in any year (I think it's a calendar year) gets the buyer a tax break. I think it works out that $3,500 of the price doesn't count at all as far as income tax is concerned. So if I don't have to pay income tax on that $3,500, that means I'll avoid paying about $1,100 in taxes.
Deducting that from the cost difference leaves me with $1,440 to make up. That brings the cost of gas down to $4.53/gal. Still not worth it, but getting closer. So it looks like the next car will either be a few years down the road, or a normal manual transmission. I'll decide once I get my credit cards paid off.