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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
click to enlarge
Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

Rising Fuel Prices:
Can Hybrids and Diesels Help You? (continued)

2004 Honda Civic Hybrid

honda hybrid

civic hybrid

honda civic hybrid

For more info see:
Ford Motor Company
Honda USA
Toyota USA
Part of the reason for the increased price of a hybrid vehicle is that a hybrid requires additional batteries, charging systems and electrical components. Not immediately obvious is the additional cost of a common thread in most hybrids - a Constant Variable Transmission (CVT). A CVT can add nearly $1000 to the bottom line of a vehicle, and a large number of consumers are (unjustifiedly) pessimistic about CVT technology.

In the early days, CVTs were known to be somewhat fraile, prone to breakage and "too weird" for most people. But, thanks to recent improvements in transmission technology, today's CVTs can handle more power, require less repair and operate seamlessly. In fact, most traditionally powered vehicles (i.e, gas motor only) will recognize increased fuel economy with a CVT versus a traditional manual or automatic transmission. The reason being due to the CVT's ability to keep the engine operating at its most fuel efficient RPM - something a traditional transmission has a harder time of doing.

But let's get down to brass tacks. Is it really less expensive to own and operate a hybrid vehicle? We'll let you be the judge. Consider these two vehicles: (cont. below ad)

Vehicle 1: 2004 Honda Civic HX, 1.7L 4-cyl gasoline motor, CVT, some options. MSRP: $15,200. Average fuel economy (EPA estimates): 36/44

Vehicle 2: 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid, 1.3L, 4-cyl, CVT, some options. MSRP: $21,140. Average fuel economy (EPA estimate): 46/51

Assuming the same, 60-month loan at 6.0% interest, without any down payments, the Civic HX would cost $293 per month. The Hybrid would cost $409 per month.

Assuming that each vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year, with fuel costs averaging $2.02 per gallon and all other factors being equal, the cost to operate the Civic HX (averaging 40 mpg) would be $757.50. Under the same conditions, the Insight (averaging 48 mpg) would be $631.25. That's a savings of $126.25 per year. Over 5 years, the total fuel cost savings would be just $631.25. Hardly enough to warrant the $5,940 increase in sticker price.

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