Earth Day Disclosure

On the environment issue, I'm in the Glenn Reynolds camp. Our best hope for improving the environment is through technological advancement, not by telling the world not to develop or to reduce consumption.

I definitely do my share of consumption, but I've always attempted to use the most efficient technology I could afford to lessen my impact. I am a long time Energy Star buyer (I even have an Energy Star certified house, which you can get through local Grand Rapids area builder Eastbrook Homes).

I am a fan of small cars. I've been a major supporter of hybrids and went to great lengths to publicize the Prius when I was a reporter at the Grand Haven Tribune when the car debuted. However, despite this, I have a Corolla. Even with gas prices at $3.69 a gallon, it is still a better buy over the Prius. Just today, I was wondering how high gas would have to go before the Prius would be a better buy than the Corolla. I did some quick calculations for 100,000 miles. Even at $5.00 per gallon, the Corolla was cheaper.

Coincidentally, AutoGreenBlog tackled the same issue, examining cost of hybrids versus conventional engines. They directly compare the Prius and Corolla. The Corolla wins. At $3.50 per gallon, you need to drive the Prius a total of 310,000 miles before you make up for the upfront investment (a difference of $6,000). Of course, gas will continue to rise. Still, my Corolla is over three years old, when gas was between $2.00 and $3.00 per gallon. This scenario only applies if I buy the Prius at today's gas prices.

One day the Prius may make more economic sense due to gas costs, or hybrids may come down in price. At this rate, that day may arrive very quickly. Right now, you may still be better off with a Corolla.

No comments: