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Has anyone calculated the number of years it would take to recoup the price difference between the Escape Hybrid and non-Hybrid with the gas savings?
In other words, maybe I'm missing something, but by my (and my co-worker's) calculation, it would take about 7.5 years to pay off the difference from the price of the Hybrid vs. non-Hybrid. Here are the values we're using:
If you throw those values in a spreadsheet and do some simple calculations, you get the following:
Price Difference (amount to recoup) - $8,000
Years to recoup (w/o tax credit) - 10.86
Years to recoup (w/ tax credit) - 7.33
Am I completely missing something or will I not only be paying more per month for the car loan (due to it costs more) but it'll also take me over 2 years after the loan is payed off before I'll begin to see the advantage of the hybrid? Sure, I'll save roughly $61.40 per month on gas, but I'll likely pay that and then some on the car payment.
Don't get me wrong, I've only started researching hybrids very recently and I am trying to convince myself (and my coworker) why it would be beneficial...of course, other than the obvious environmental impact...but right now, that's all I have on my side.
You aren't taking into account the federal tax break or any state incentives. That can be a factor (although on the FEH it's still a big difference between the hybrid and regular models). That being said - the reason I bought my FEH is that I strongly believe in voting with your dollars. (Mine turned out to be a lemon so I don't have it any longer - but that's besides the point)
On vehicles like the Civic Hybrid - it's actually somewhat stupid not to by the hybrid (at least in my state). The price difference is about $3,200 for the same features. When you factor in the state tax break and federal refund, you are actually ahead to buy the Hybrid.
Your numbers look pretty good as a rough estimate. However I would not assume $2.75/gal flat rate for gasoline. That's going to go up, which will essentially shorten your payback period (although it does increase the overall cost of ownership...gotta love economics.) How much it will go up is anybody's guess but you could look at the rate of increase over the last few years and extrapolate, maybe even reduce it by 25-50% to add some conservatism back in.
In the end I think it's a matter of where you want to put your money. In the case of an FEH it's give Detroit your cash, or give OPEC your cash. There's also the "warm fuzzy" of knowing that you are reducing overall oil consumption with your purchase. You can't quantify either of those aspects but they are worth considering.
$2.75 a gallon!!!! Where?? Try $3.15 or more here in Cali.
Seriously, you need more reasons to by the hybrid than just cost savings IMO. As others have said, don't forget to include the tax incentives. Also, as in my case, you may be able to get 0% financing for 60 months which eliminates the additional interest. Mileage is also a factor. Though average is 29 mpg, if you learn some of the fundamentals of driving the hybrids your mileage will be better.
You should also determine how long you plan to keep the vehicle as well. If you think you will only own it a few years then you would be better off buying a different car. I've also heard that Ford is looking to bring the FEH and FE prices closer together. Now whether that means raising the FE or lowering the FEH is yet to be seen.
If you don't need the cargo capacity of an SUV - I highly recommend the Honda Civic Hybrid or the Prius. If you do need the cargo capacity - the Toyota RAV4 (and other vehicles) get almost the same fuel economy and are much cheaper than the FEH. Like I said - when I bought mine, I was voting with my dollars - but now I've realized that there are other options out there too. For me, resale value is very important because I don't keep my vehicles more than 3 years. Knowing what I know now, Ford is not a wise choice if that's important. I really would have taken a bath on mine if it hadn't been a lemon. I just assumed it would hold it's value like other hybrids (Prius, Civic) - but boy was I wrong!
Also - keep in mind that climate changes can make the fuel economy go down significantly with a hybrid - which would actually make it take longer to recoup the price difference. During the winter I would lose 4-5 mpg (because of the effect of the cold on the batteries). In the hot summer months, I would drop again because I needed to keep the AC on max (it shuts off if your ICE shuts off if you have it on any other setting).
I did a tremendous amount of research on the FEH and the "payback" before I bought it. I also used a spreadsheet to calculate to see how long it would be until I "broke even". (There's been a number of unexpected bonus' to having one, which I've mentioned in other threads.) You can do a search for why we bought a FEH, most of them explain why or how we thought it would be the better decision.
Well, my math is a bit different. I'm at the office, not at home where my spreadsheet is, but first of all, I only paid 28K for my FEH (A Plan), and so far, in terms of real miles/savings (factoring 17 MPG for the Escape [4WD], as I recall) against real FEH tank data, after 11 months, I'm $1100+ in gas savings. The pricing mock-up for the conventional Escape I would've gotten had I not been able to get the FEH was 24K (4WD, top stereo, etc.) with A plan, so I'm only working with a 4K price difference to start out with ($3800 as I recall specifically). The result with real tank data (I add it to the spreadsheet with each tank) eating away at a 4K price difference seems to be about 3 years and a few months for me, less as gas prices rise. In addition, I own my vehicle, so there's no monthly payments on it, and I intend to own it for a decade at least. (My previous vehicle, a '95 Ford Explorer was still rather functional when I traded her in.) So, not only is it only 3 years to make back the cost (All 4K going to Ford rather than OPEC), but then I'll have 7 years or so of saving at least $1100 in gas, more as prices rise. This makes it rather appealing, to have a vehicle that cost a bit more initially, but after a decade you're around $8000 ahead on? The end result is I'm actually saving more money faster than I had originally anticipated, I had figured on around 30 MPGs a year, and gas prices have shot up quite a bit from when I was studying. (That was April of last year that I was doing that.)
There's a spreadsheet program that will do the factoring for you as well, there's a link to it in the FEH FAQ as I recall. Though the math there is questionable.
Your starting price seems a little off to me. For the $30K hybrid, you're getting a fully loaded vehicle, meaning you need to compare it to a fully loaded XLT or Limited, which puts the "non-hybrid" price closer to $25K than $22K. Also keep in mind that the Hybrid, while technically having a I4, drives much more comparably to the V6 non-hybrid given the extra power from the electric motor. Alternatively, a "base" Hybrid is $27K to compare to the $22K rather than $30K. So the "starting" difference is about $5K, not $8K. Also, that assumes you can negotiate only a deal of equal monetary difference on the hybrid as on the non-hybrid.
To give you some idea of what people pay from Edmunds:
Loaded XLT V6: MSRP $27,620, TMV $23,911 (after $2K rebate, no special financing)
Loaded Hybrid: MSRP $31,510, TMV $31,016
So, comparing that, you can expect to get almost $4K off the MSRP of the non-hybrid, and nothing off of the MSRP of the hybrid. However, if you find the right dealership, this ends up not being the case. You won't be getting more than $4K off the non-hybrid, but we bought a fully loaded, brand new 05 Hybrid for $26,990 (MSRP of $30,600) this January (06). So comparing my $26,990 to the $23,911 (assuming you can bargain them that far down on the non-hybrid), it's only a $3K difference to recoup, not a $8K difference. Now factor in the $2600 tax rebate (which we'll use all of, as our tax liability is plenty high), and all of a sudden I've paid $500 more for a hybrid than a non-hybrid. With your estimated savings of $736/yr on gas at $2.75 (which we'd be ecstatic to pay at this point), the hybrid has paid itself back in less than a year.
What I'm basically saying is, it really depends on the options you want and the deal you can get. Don't assume that it's really going to take you eight years to recoup the difference (although in our case, we plan on driving it into the ground, so even eight years isn't such a bad prospect for us).
Also, some of us can save even more if we use some of the tricks we learn here. It would be hard to get less than 40mpg a tanks for me. This has helped pay even more for the hybrid system, to the point I will be saving by buying the FEH real soon now. Do the math with 21,000 miles with a average of 40mpg for one year. That's a savings of 20mpg over the 20mpg in the V6 escape. With the tax break and gas savings for me, I've almost saved the cost in one year. The best part about it, I save gas money everyday.
One other point, I'd still be driving an Explorer at 16 mpg before I would drive a 20mpg escape. The 4mpg would not make me trade down in the first place. You just can't compare the V6 escape period to the FEH in my book.
You don't buy a hybrid to save money overall (unless you plan to keep for more than 6 years minimum). I bought a hybrid for one simple reason:
My money for car+gas is going SOMEWHERE. I would rather more of it go to Ford Motor than some middle eastern country that most likely is using a portion of my money to fund... people that hate me (or hate what I represent at least).