USA Today Continues to Hype Hybrids and Ignores the Downsides of Ownership
Hybrid vehicles are all the rage these days.
Even Paris Hilton is out promoting hybrid vehicles. â€śTonight, Iâ€™m here,â€ť said Hilton at BPM Magazineâ€™s July party. â€śI came in a hybrid car because I think thatâ€™s the new way to go â€“ to save energy and you know, save our earth from all this â€“ you know, pollution, so, I donâ€™t know, I think if everyone just takes the steps to do it will make a big difference.â€ť
â€śThanks to (former vice president) Al Gore, people are becoming aware of this extra factor,â€ť said Dominick Infante, a spokesman for Subaru, to USA Today. â€śIt's becoming something people are wondering about.â€ť
And Woodyard also said itâ€™s not only trendy but itâ€™s practical, because government regulations are forcing automakers to â€śthink green.â€ť
â€śIt's not just good public relations,â€ť wrote Woodyard. â€śSince the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases, General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler have joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of corporate executives calling for CO2 restrictions.â€ť
But one question Woodyard and much of the media have failed to pose is: how does the cost of owning a hybrid vehicle compare to the cost of owning a non-hybrid vehicle?
According to data provided by Vicentric, a privately held automotive data compilation and analysis firm via Yahoo! Autos, over five years it is roughly 10 percent more expensive to own the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid model over a similar non-hybrid model. That includes taking into account the lower fuel costs and tax incentives related to hybrid ownership.
The hybrid versionâ€™s manufacturerâ€™s suggested retail price is $22,600, while the non-hybrid is considerably less at $15,810.
Woodyard also neglected to point out that although automakers are on the low-CO2 bandwagon, they havenâ€™t been as quick to adopt measures to ensure these vehicles can be repaired at a low cost, should the need arise.
An article posted recently on ConsumerAffairs.com pointed out that the cost to repair the Toyota Prius battery system â€“ integral to the hybrid â€“ is very high.
â€śI take it [a 2001 Toyota Prius] down and get it diagnosed, which turned out to be the main hybrid battery. Another $4,800 to get the system replaced,â€ť said a Prius owner identified as Zachery in an article by Joe Benton on ConsumerAffairs.com.
Often, many of the problems surrounding hybrid vehicles are ignored despite all the publicity theyâ€™re given. Recently the â€śNBC Nightly Newsâ€ť went as far as to suggest eco-friendly cars would be the salvation of the ailing Detroit economy.