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Prius Isn't the Cheapest Way to Cut Energy Bills

April 21 (Bloomberg) -- With the price of oil and gasoline hitting record highs, it's time to wake up and face the crude truth on how you can save money on energy costs.

As commodity traders push oil prices ever higher as the dollar recedes, there's little, if any, relief in sight at the fuel pump or from soaring utility bills.

Yet the deer-in-the-headlights attitude that most investors, vehicle owners and homeowners adopt is misguided. There are quite a few actions you can take to beat the escalating cost of energy.

The most-common response to high gasoline prices is to go out and purchase a high-mileage vehicle. This reaction certainly hasn't hurt the sales of companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which offer several fuel-stingy cars, trucks and vans.

If you have a long commute or simply drive a lot, you'll immediately see the savings. There will be longer times between fill-ups. It may not make sense to pay a premium for these cars, though. The top two highest-mileage cars -- the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid -- carry retail prices of more than $20,000.

Let's say you bought a stripped-down Toyota Prius for $22,000, received a $4,000 trade-in allowance and put $2,000 down. You also paid about $1,300 in sales tax. You then finance the balance, $17,300, at 6 percent annual interest for five years, resulting in a payment of $334 a month. You will eventually pay about $2,800 in interest on the loan. If you save $1,000 a year in gasoline costs, it will take you almost three years to recoup your investment.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=a39oaLm7LOBU&refer=home
 

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Always knew a prius was a waste of money.
Silly comment because you didn't understand what the writer was saying. This paragraph from the article has always been true and always will be true.

The single-best strategy is to take public transportation or car pool and delay your new-car purchase. If you invested a $479 monthly loan payment, according to the newsletter Fidelity Investor's Quarterly, in a portfolio earning 7 percent a year, you could turn a year's worth of car payments into almost $200,000 over 35 years. That's the miracle of compound interest -- if you keep your savings invested.
Basically what his point is ... don't buy any new vehicle. Take public transportation or carpool or bike or walk to work. No new vehicle purchase can overcome spending nothing.

However.... if you are going to buy a new vehicle ( note the emphasis because it's always smarter to buy a used one ) then it just depends on what you want from your vehicle. You want 4 wheels and 4 doors get a KIA. They're about as cheap as they come with decent fuel economy.
 

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A Cobalt would provide a good cost versus benefit ratio versus the Prius (and that's what my mom figured)
 

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Silly comment because you didn't understand what the writer was saying. This paragraph from the article has always been true and always will be true.



Basically what his point is ... don't buy any new vehicle. Take public transportation or carpool or bike or walk to work. No new vehicle purchase can overcome spending nothing.

However.... if you are going to buy a new vehicle ( note the emphasis because it's always smarter to buy a used one ) then it just depends on what you want from your vehicle. You want 4 wheels and 4 doors get a KIA. They're about as cheap as they come with decent fuel economy.
agreed on all points, but I would suggest an Aveo rather than a Kia.
 

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A Cobalt would provide a good cost versus benefit ratio versus the Prius (and that's what my mom figured)
Yes in general every lesser vehicle ( lesser content ) always will be the better choice. A good 2 y.o. used vehicle is an even better choice. A solid 8 y.o. used vehicle is even better yet. And as the writer noted spending nothing is the best choice.

While the article is accurate the title is all wrong. In fact by definition the Prius has to be the best way to cut energy costs simply because it has the best fuel economy rating. The less fuel used the lower the energy cost.

What he meant to say, or his editor screwed up, is that 'The Prius isn't the cheapest way to cut the total cost of transportation' This is the actual point he made correctly in his article.
 

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Prius Isn't the Cheapest Way to Cut Energy Bills
Well duh...

I own an 06 Mustang GT. One of my neighbors owns a Prius. Guess who the gas hog is? My neighbor is.

This is because I telecommute EVERYDAY. I love picking on him about his gas hog that he has to gas up every two weeks. Me, I gas up once a month (if that)

I didn't have to buy a new car. My company pays for the internet connection that I already have as well as my cell phone.

I know that telecommuting isn't an option in many industries but I bet we could get 10% of commuters off the road if companies made some serious efforts at it. I actually wrote a couple of white papers on the subject at my last company. Every time I ran into one single roadblock. Managers and Executives that were too short sighted to see the gains because they wanted to actually keep an eye on their people. So I quit and went to a company that actively supports telecommuting.

And check this. Even though I'm goofing off at this very moment, I actually get a ton more done. For instance, I'm not engaged in the normal chit chat that happens at an office. I'm not spending two hours a day driving. I have a lot fewer interruptions. I have only one meeting scheduled for today. While I'm in that meeting (done over a skype phone call) I will be working on designs for a new datacenter.

Oh, and did I mention that I save well over $5000 a year on tolls and gas? I added that number up when gas was selling for around $2.00 a gallon. May savings are much higher now. I should go run the numbers again. I've had several companies ask me to come and work for them. Some paying a lot more money. But none of them allow telecommuting. I've turned them all down. Life is too damn good and stress free. I'm even losing weight.

My wife does drive to work everyday. Her HHR gets 28mpg but next month she is becoming a stay at home wife. I ran those numbers all I need to do is cut back on a few things to make it happen. Because she will be home, we only need one car (Mustang does up for sale next year) Because she's not tired with work, we won't be getting carry out anymore. I think we spent over $300 a month on eating out. Of course we won't be spending nearly as much on gas or tolls. I'm also going to shop our insurance out to see if I can get a good deal because we don't commute anymore...

BTW, my wife is becoming a stay at home wife because we are about to adopt a kid.
 

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Yes in general every lesser vehicle ( lesser content ) always will be the better choice. A good 2 y.o. used vehicle is an even better choice. A solid 8 y.o. used vehicle is even better yet. And as the writer noted spending nothing is the best choice.
She actually bought a GM company Cobalt with 3400 miles :D. Though I agree, older/cheaper as better as long as the repair/maintenance budget and mileage doesn't start cutting into the main idea of saving fuel
 

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yes, i read the entire article and understood it very well. his title is inconsistent with the rest of the article.
the title makes sense in that im gonna assume that most people buy a prius to lower their energy costs- because they feel, for whatever reason, that less gas used = more money. he wants to prove that wrong, which he does a good job of doing.

this is why if i need to i will be buying a geo metro- or equivalent- for my commute, unles i have public transport, but even the cost of that is going up. the volt changes things entirely though.
 

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Smarter for who? and how?
its financially smarter. example, i bought my truck used for 22.5k- it was 40k brand new. i bought it in 2005. i got basically a brand new truck for half price. im STILL ahead of the curve on people who bought a brand new one in 2004/2005, and probably always will be.

another example, we'll talk commuter cars this time, a geo metro (or daewoo, or kia, or huyndai, or w/e) will cost you what, 3-5k at most? and its gets better mpg than a prius. a prius is 22k at least. you already save 17-19k from the get go. now add on any gas savings (or even if there is a gas loss, it wont be that much of a difference), not having a car payment savings, insurance savings, and it all adds up. granted, as long as you dont run into any huge repair costs with the used car.
 

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its financially smarter. example, i bought my truck used for 22.5k- it was 40k brand new. i bought it in 2005. i got basically a brand new truck for half price. im STILL ahead of the curve on people who bought a brand new one in 2004/2005, and probably always will be.
Only if you don't find use condoms in the back seat. I don't even want the techs and the service depot from the dealership to drive my car, let alone peel of the plastic protecting the sensitive bits on my new car.
 

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Sometimes your car IS part of your work.
No amount of public transportation is going to help you there...
So owning a vehicle that is fuel efficient is the way to go.
 
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