• Apr 28th 2010 at 8:27AM
  • 45
2010 Ford Fusion – Click above for to enlarge

For about the first 110 years of the automobile, the gold standard of eco-thriftiness was a car's miles-per-gallon rating. With the rise of hybrids, plug-ins, biofuels and the like, cost-per-mile might be the better measurement of road-going value. The idea is simple: if a car is powered by a Mr. Fusion or Dilithium crystals or the laughter of children and only costs $.01 per mile to operate but it carries a sticker price of $500,000, its efficiency is never going to balance out its initial cost.

Well, the San Francisco Chronicle has compiled a list of seven popular hybrids along with estimates of how long it would take for each car to pay for its higher cost compared to non-hybrid models in gasoline savings. The winner by a long shot is the Ford Fusion Hybrid at a mere 5.6 years. Which car fared worst? The Nissan Altima Hybrid at a whopping 21 years. We have to wonder, 21 years from now, will they still be making batteries for a 2010 Altima Hybrid?

In short, if you're going by gas savings alone, hybrids don't really pay in the short term. Then again, if gasoline taxes shoot up or peak oil really is right around the corner, the cost per mile of these vehicles could very quickly tip in their favor. Read the full article here.

[Source: San Francisco Chronicle]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want the VW GTD!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe it is an advertorial.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm liking the Ford more and more. Could we have a vehicle powered by the tears of children? Mine seem to spend the time crying, though, this is mainly due to my downsizing to a Kia Picanto and the fact that I threw the ninTENDO ds out the window in a fit of pique.


      • 5 Years Ago
      This is pretty weak journalism. Good idea, but ignores major issues.
      - This is only purchase and fuel costs - what about total costs? Resale anyone??? What's the life expectancy of a Prius battery pack and what's the replacement cost? I would think that an older Prius with a tapped-out battery is going to be hard to sell. If it's not a cost killer the article should still address it, but bet it is.

      Anyone know of a good cradle-to-grave cost analysis anywhere?

      - They used the national average price per gas for April - why not an average over a couple of years and biased toward the markets where most hybrids are sold? Say... LA??? Bet they'd love to average $2.86 a gallon...but then they'd buy fewer hybrids, right?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Hybrids for now are mostly to make their owners feel good about themselves, but this is still great news for Ford and for those who are looking for a hybrid but are value conscious at the same time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm calling B.S. on this article.

      Clearly Ford paid for this.

      The writer used extreme examples to skew the cost for the Prius, Civic.....

      Yet his number of $3200 is vastly different that a quick peek at Ford's website.

      The cost difference is $8255 for the Fusion Hybrid using his own methods.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Hah, the Prius is second worst at 20 years. Now I have one more reason to laugh at Prius owners.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Mike F

        It doesn't matter. Point is, hybrids are pointless. Overpriced, overweight, expensive to repair, and complex pieces of sheet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        seems like you're still in middle school or just starting high school as you missed recognizing how unfair hte comparison is.

        run your own comapro of Fusion to a base Focus adn you'll find out it's about 30 years before the payoff comes

        but even the Focus is not as small as the Yaris, so you should run it agaist the coming Fiesta
      • 5 Years Ago
      A lot has been said already about comparing the Prius to the Yaris, but I'd like to chime in. I leased a 2010 Prius IV a few weeks ago, having traded in a loaded 2006 Chrysler Pacifica Limited that stickered for $40,000 and had damn near every bell and whistle you can imagine, including suede seats, nav, power liftgate, dvd, etc etc. The Prius is in no way comparable to a Yaris OR a Corolla. The best comparison comes in the Camry, though the Prius has the benefit (for people like me) of being a nerd's delight. My Prius stickered for $32,000, or the same as a loaded accord/camry, has the same interior dimensions of a camry, gets 50+mpg city, great quality leather, voice controlled nav, sunroof, solar powered ac system, auto climate, power everything, smart key, etc etc. It doesn't have every bell and whistle that came on my $40,000 luxury crossover, but it comes damn close, along with tripple the fuel economy.

      The other great benefit of most respected hybrids like the Prius, civic, and fusion are that the resale is exceptionally high, something that both aids in resale when bought and keeps lease payments down. I have a $400/month lease for 15k/year on a $32k car, thanks to it being a Prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you do some research, I think you'll find that resale values don't always favor hybrids especially when you factor in the level of rebates, incentives, etc. that are often NOT included on hybrids e.g. the $2,000 rebate on Fusions that doesn't apply to the Fusion Hybrid.

        A heavily discounted car (like the discontinued Pacifica) may not have a very good resale value to MSRP percentage but would fare much better when comparing resale value to purchase price percentage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lease was a good choice - I think that resale is a total crapshoot - three years later, if gas is peaking, the bank is in the money. But, if gas is cheap and the battery is a couple of years away from replacement you might be very happy to walk away from it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It doesn't look like they even factored in the lower incentives typically found on hybrid versions e.g. there is currently a $2,000 rebate on Fusions but it excludes the hybrid. That would probably add another 2-3 years to the "break even" point for the Fusion.

      Bottom line, you don't buy a hybrid to "save money."
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a pathetic hatchet job on the Prius. The Prius has has 93.7 cu. ft. of passenger space and 21.6 cu. ft. of cargo space, putting it on the small end of the midsize class; the Yaris liftback the writer matches it up with is a subcompact with only 84.6 cu. ft. of passenger space and 9.32 cu. ft. of cargo space. These are far from comparable cars. Moreover, the base Prius has far more features than the base Yaris, which is about as stripped-down as you can currently buy. It doesn't even come with a radio! Give me a break. If you compare the base Prius to a Matrix (the most comparable conventional Toyota, though still a bit smaller) with the same features, the payback time would be much shorter.

      And that assumes gasoline isn't going to go up dramatically in price during the lifetime of a car bought today, which is foolish. We used the oil that was easiest to extract and process - and, therefore, cheapest - first, for obvious reasons, so what's left in the ground is going to be increasingly difficult and expensive to extract, refine, and bring to market. Moroever, the rapidly increasing oil consumption of industrializing countries like China, India, and Brazil is putting strong upward pressure on oil prices. This combination of factors plus some speculation drove the price of a barrel of oil to its all-time inflation-adjusted high of ~$147 in July 2008, just before the economic crisis became really severe. In fact, the argument has been made (most prominently by Jeff Rubin, the former Chief Economist and Chief Strategist of CIBC World Markets, in his book Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization) that rising oil prices were the primary cause of said crisis. If/when economic growth picks up again in the U.S. and other fully-industrialized nations, we'll surely see another dramatic run-up in the price of oil, which will trigger another recession at some point.

      And all the while, the inexorable depletion of the world's oil continues...

      • 5 Years Ago
      Hybrids are still in their infancy, and what you're really paying for is environmental friendliness and subsidizing future hybrid technology R&D. In the future it's almost guaranteed that a hybrid will pay off in 2-3 years or less of ownership, but for now just appreciate the fact that you're helping the environment and our foreign policy by burning less petroleum.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess you all missed the part where hybrids are MORE environmentally damaging that their oil burning counterparts (because of the batteries)

        And in the global economy we live in, the argument for "sending money abroad" also doesn't make sense. Stop drinking the cool-aid !
        • 5 Years Ago
        Finally someone that GETS IT.

        Hybrids WILL save you money in terms of gas - especially if you are in a high-mileage category (people like salesmen that have to travel all over), or if you plan on keeping you car for a long time. But the biggest deal is that with each new generation of hybrid, they become more and more efficient and their advantages improve while their costs decrease.

        And people always forget that oil imports add up to 70% of the oil we use... which is about 3.6 BILLION barrels of oil... that's 1/4 of a TRILLION dollars sent to foreign lands.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True to a degree but another factor not often addressed is poor commuting choices more than a few hybrid owners make e.g. longer commutes to live in that larger-than-necessary (and therefore energy wasting) house in the country.

        Someone driving a Fusion Hybrid 25,000 miles/year can actually be more wasteful and environmentally "offending" than someone driving a Hummer H3 only 10,000 miles/year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a big fan of the Ford Fusion hybrid, BUT, the premium you pay for it over the base model with auto transmission is over $8K, not $3200, which is highly deceptive, favorable treatment. Comparing the Prius to a Yaris is laughable. If I didn't know better I would say this article was written by the FMC marketing dept.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Fusion Hybrid with standard leather, power seats, etc. compares more closely to the Fusion SEL which is not $8,000 less. The question is how much longer will manufacturers continue to force people to buy higher level/more equipped models to get hybrid technology? You're not only paying a premium for the hybrid but may also be forced to buy features/equipment you don't want.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are exactly right, CarZ, and you made my point much better than I did.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X