Gas/electric vehicles like the Prius make us feel good, but they don't make a lot of sense.
Let me do the politically incorrect thing and say that I think gas/electric hybrid vehicles like the Prius are kind of stupid. Or at least, they make us act stupid.
I like new technology as much as the next guy. I'm all in favor of advancing automotive technology. And I like to think I'm at least a little bit environmentally conscious, separating and recycling everything that leaves my house. But the reaction to hybrids is just... stupid.
Why are there tax breaks for buying a hybrid but not for a vehicle that gets even better gas mileage?
Federal and state governments offer tax incentives for buying a hybrid, with the purpose -- theoretically -- to encourage fuel conservation. But hybrids don't get the best gas mileage. There are plenty of cars, some diesel powered, that get better mileage than the Prius or Honda's hybrid Civic. Why don't they get tax breaks?
And then there's the economics. I've heard Prius owners brag about how much money they save on gas.
A Prius costs several thousand dollars more than its conventionally-powered twin, so you'd have to drive for something like 15 years to get back the extra money you spent. And Toyota gets to hold your cash the whole time. With inflation and the time value of money, that's not a sound investment, if you ask me. In fact, it's a pretty stupid one.
So either the hybrid-buying public is bad a math (likely) or they're buying the image more than the reality (also likely). Either way, these gas/electric hybrids are making people act stupid.