This report on KCRA confirms what all of us knew in our gut, but now we have some support from a UC Davis Transportation expert - buying a hybrid SUV is not good economics, it just feels good.
Mayor Johnson in Sacramento CA has replaced his old car with a new feel good hybrid SUV. Here is some text from the KCRA report:
Johnson said the fact that the car's a hybrid makes it worth the cost.
"It's a savings for the environment -- 100 percent," Johnson said.
UC Davis economic professor Chris Knittel is a transportation expert. He said for most drivers, the gas savings of a hybrid SUV don't justify the added cost.
"If you drive 12,000 miles a year, you're saving about 100 gallons a year in gasoline. And at $3 a gallon, that's just not going to pay off that $5,000 to $6,000 upfront cost," Knittel said.
As for the environmental impact, the Tahoe hybrid does rank well among large SUVs. But its mileage is still far below those of smaller cars, such as the Toyota Prius' 51 miles to the gallon.
Knittel said before anybody runs out to buy any new hybrid, remember this:
"About 15 percent of the greenhouse gases attributed to that vehicle come from the production and scrapping of the vehicle," Knittel said.
In other words -- in some cases -- hanging on to any older well-running non-hybrid may be the greener thing to do.
I hope that you feel better now, knowing that you were right to keep that old SUV after all, especially in California's down economy.