What is the changing price of gas going to do the Cost to Own of Hybrids?

I’m looking to buy a car here and was doing the research. The Cost to Own of Hybrids was consistently more than similar (or same) model non-Hybrids. The only advantages Hybrids have is with the fuel costs over the life of the car, and the Hybrid tax credit. But, they’re at a disadvantage with almost everything else. And, they’re killed by the depreciation, due it seems to the high invoice price. (O.K. I think I just unintentionally made a really good argument for buying Hybrids Used.)

But, just to compare the two cars I’m liking, the Honda Civic super-basic trim has a CtO of ,200 and the Honda Civic Hybrid ,900. And, the Civic Hybrid is actually way more affordable and closer to the CtO of its non-Hybrid sister model than the other Hybrids I’ve been looking at.

Here’s what I’m thinking. The projected Cost to Own is based on a few guesses, like how much mileage you’re likely to have, and the price of gas pretty much staying where it is.

Now I don’t want to read doomsday predictions about how we’re going to go all Mad Max. I don’t. But, it’s natural to suppose the trend of gas prices going up is going to continue.

I mean the reason it happened in the first place is because people in developing countries have been buying cars, so the demand for gas has gone up. These countries aren’t done developing. Or, to put it another way, there’s alot of people in the world who haven’t bought a car yet.

Back to the Civic I figure with the differences in CtOs not including the cost of gas (,300), the cost of gas would pretty much have to double (,300/(,600-,200)=~1.8). And, that’s pretty much just for the Honda Civic. I’m having a real hard time imagining a horrible nightmare scenario where the Ford Fusion Hybrid New would be a better buy than the Ford Fusion New.

I guess I’ve pretty much already answered my own question. But, I have another scenario for all of you. If someone starts mass producing Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars for mass sales, what’s that going to do to the price of gas? I’d expect it to go down partly because the demand for gas would be stemmed somewhat, but mostly just because the gas companies would want to incentivise their consumers keeping combustion cars.

I guess the big question there is, how likely is that to happen in the next 5 years? Or however long? Isn’t it odd how these "alternative" cars have the potential to sabotage each other?

And, how competitive is hydrogen with gas as a fuel? Obviously, there’s the old issue that hydrogen would have to build their distribution from the ground up. But, once that’s done, how much would a mile fueled by gas cost vs. a mile fueled by hydrogen?

Gas comes out of the ground with it’s energy already in it. Petroleum pumps try to be (and are) highly energy efficient. But, pumping a liquid out of minerals… Well, isn’t that like squeezing blood from a stone?

Hydrogen you have to use up energy to electrolyze it or refine it from fossil fuels. I’m not bothered so much by the greenhouse implications. From an engineering standpoint it’s an energy storage device. What’s the cost? Electricity is cheap. Right?

Then there’s the comparative fuel economies of fuel cell and combustion cars. Hydrogen is more energy intensive than gas. A full tank is lighter. The lightening of the cars load would give it a slight advantage in fuel economy. Wouldn’t it? (Get the image of hydrogen making balloon floaty cars out of your head please. It so doesn’t work that way.) Also, since the internal drag is on a much shorter drive train, wouldn’t that give Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars a tremendous advantage in fuel economy?
So an swers, are you saying that if I asked these other questions separately you WOULD answer them? Besides I’m dubious of that on it’s own, it kind of sounds like Y!A points farming to me, at a cost to me!

Beyond that it’s occurred to me you don’t have to double the price of gas. For vocations that involve alot of driving you could easily more than double the mileage and the fuel consumption. Like I imagine Taxi companies, if they’re not using Hybrids are pretty much losing money.
From the National Hydrogen Association: "The estimated costs for producing and delivering hydrogen to the
fueling station using today’s technologies vary from .10/gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge) to .10/gge. These hydrogen costs do not include highway taxes and do include the increased fuel efficiency of fuel cell vehicles compared to gasoline-powered hybrid electric vehicles." So best case scenario hydrogen is just competitive with gas.
An swers, sorry you did write that mileage can make a Hybrid worthwhile first. But, I still don’t like the other thing you wrote, if only because that means flooding the latest question pages with spam questions. There’s enough inane crap on here as it is.

On the other side of things, saying hydrogen as a fuel isn’t going to happen in a big way tomorrow is not the same as saying it’s never going to happen. The price of gas will go up, not least of all because people consider it to be an essential consumable. People don’t just use less simply because demand outstrips supply, so the price has to go way up to be prohibitive. Next we’d need to see a big drop in the price of electricity. Maybe when they mine the moon for tritium for fusion power, though the new fusion powerplants and the power infrastructure will still cost money on top of the price tag of a commercial lunar space program. I think the big energy conglomerates like GE can afford to do it easy. But…
I’ve never been a big fan of electric cars. I don’t think the oil companies are trying to keep them buried because they threaten their monopoly. I just don’t think they’ve ever really been any good. Granted tremendous advances in battery technology have given them a huge step forward. But, even with that and regenerative braking (an old technology which has gained new interest) electric cars’ ranges just aren’t very good. I know that sound like a strawman attack, like the old one that electric cars can’t make it up hills. But, it’s true. At the least, going on a roadtrip in an electric car is out of the question. It doesn’t help there the batteries are pretty dang heavy. But again the weight is less important than internal drag on the drive train, as well as regenerative braking. (Batteries are also expensive, but not more so than engine blocks and full drive trains, and definitely not more than hydrogen tanks and fuel cells.)

3 Responses to “What is the changing price of gas going to do the Cost to Own of Hybrids?”

  1. Antswer Says:

    Either car is a great choice. Nobody is going to be mass producing hydrogen fuel cell cars in the next 5 years. They can’t get an affordable fuel tank.

    Good Luck!

  2. an swers Says:

    If money is the only factor you want to consider (which is fine) then you have to drive a lot more miles in order for the hybrid to pay for itself.

    As for your other 1000 questions, ask them separately in a non-rambling way.

  3. unplugged-Pro-Peace Says:

    well first of all, i don’t think hydrogen is the best alternative fuel and i’ll tell you why. there are many reasons that will concern both concervatives, and liberals. starting from a liberal standpoint, its just not efficient. a hydrogen fuel cell car is really an electric car with hydrogen that gets converted into electricity. there are many steps in bringing hydrogen to the pump, then when it gets to your car, there are still a couple steps it has to go through before it becomes electricity. but in an electric car with batteries, all you do is generate electricity, charge your car at home, then drive. you use less energy to get the power to your car which results in a lower co2 footprint.

    and from a concervative stand point, hydrogen cars are more expensive to buy and run than fully electric vehicles. because hydrogen is like gasoline, you can’t provide it yourself and the oil companies that provide the hydrogen still have a monopoly and can charge what they want. but for electric cars, its more convenient because you can charge it at home, and it only cost $2-5 for a full charge.

    you might say that we’re putting an extra load on the grid, but what’s $2-5 of electricity gonna do? its like if we all got a brand new plasma tv.

    it just doesn’t get more efficient than electric cars, just a 3 stage process.

    but regardless of what alternative fuel you think is best, i believe that gasoline will be phased out in a couple of decades. its just not ideal. many wars are started for oil, horrible for our air, water and wildlife, and its just more expensive. alternative fuels are the way, cleaner and cheaper, what’s not to like? it satisfies the concervatives and the liberals!