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August 9, 2005

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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 ΒΌ 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.

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This page last updated Jul 19, 2019 3:34:19 PM.