I just filled up my new Hybrid Civic for the first time today. I went 400 miles (249,600 to go!) 0n 9.4 gallons, getting 42.6 mpg. And that is almost completely without highway miles! On my last post on the subject, I talked about some of the flaws with the whole hybrid vs. gas argument. Some recent articles have tried to compare conventional cars to hybrids on a cost basis. I said they missed the point. If you buy a hybrid, it's about more than just the price of gas. It's about reducing emmissions and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
The other way Edmunds and others missed the mark when they compared cars was how they drew up the comparison. They compared the hybrid models to their conventional sisters (eg. Hybrid Accords vs. standard Accords) and tried to figure out if the higher sticker price would be made up for in fuel savings. What they failed to consider however, is that most people shop for cars by price, not by model. When I was carshopping, I had a certain price range, and the base model Civic with it's $15,010 SRP simply wasn't on my radar. The Civic Hybrid has a SRP of $22,150, and it caught my eye when I saw it in the same price class of these other new cars I shopped:
Pontiac Solstice ($21,995) mpg 21/29
Mazda RX8 ($26,995) mpg 18/24
Acura RSX Type-S ($23,845) - mpg 23/31
Pontiac G6 Coupe ($22,615) - mpg 20/28
Obviously the Solstice and RX8 would have been more fun to drive, and the RSX might have had a bit more appeal in terms of status, but I chose my car based on my conscience and yes, my wallet. Consider the fuel economy of the civic hybrid (49/51) against these other gas guzzlers and it's really no contest.
By the way, the green ante was raised this week when BMW announced that they will start rolling out zero-emmission hydrogen cars next year. The car's only emmission will be water vapor. Pretty cool. But where the hell do you buy hydrogen?