The 11 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrids

A hybrid vehicle might be more fuel efficient than the non-hybrid version of the same car, but some hybrid vehicles can get as few as 19mpg. Check out this list of the least fuel efficient hybrid vehicles before you head out to the dealership.

11 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrid Vehicles

1-2) (tie) Chrysler Aspen Hybrid & Dodge Durango Hybrid 19 MPG

3-5) (tie) Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Lexus LS 600h L, GMC Yukon Hybrid 21 MPG

6) Lexus GS 450h 23 MPG

7-8) (tie) Lexus RX 400h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid 26 MPG

9-11) (tie) Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 32 MPG

Hybrid Cars [HybridCars]

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  1. copious28 says:

    yeah, but what were they before? the “experts” say that improving the fuel efficiency of the least efficient cars (SUVs, etc) save more oil than small cars, as the % difference is greater. I think people have a reason to buy those big monstroseties regardless of what fuel costs are (small business tax loopholes for one example), might as well get a more fuel efficient model while they are at it. my car already gets 28 on the highway and is nearly paid for :)

  2. BrianDaBrain says:

    I’ve never quite gotten the point of a hybrid SUV. Is a vehicle that big really necessary? Besides, the hybrid versions of these don’t have the power to really even haul the vehicles weight around. I’m no expert on the matter, but they felt awfully sluggish when I was test driving them (more out of curiosity than an actual interest in purchasing one).

    I ended up buying a smaller, more fuel-efficient car for less money.

  3. shadowkahn says:

    19MPG for the durango hybrid? What the hell does the standard model get?

    -looks that up-

    Oh.

    16MPG.

    Well .. .that’s worth the giant replacement cost for the batteries, isn’t it.

  4. Truthie says:

    I want a Hummer H1 byprid! 12 MPG for the win, suckas!

    Seriously, why even bother with these. But then again I guess if you have your heart set on one of these vehicles having the “hybrid” moniker attached might do something to assuage your guilt even if it won’t really do anything for your pocketbook or the environment.

  5. zigziggityzoo says:

    Proof that Hybrid is just a buzz word to the car companies.

  6. howie_in_az says:

    @shadowkahn: Is that in the city, on the highway, or combined average?

  7. howie_in_az says:

    There’s also a nifty Gas2.org article about GM and their desire to keep selling high-profit SUVs. Check [gas2.org] for the full details.

    The fuel economy was increased 50% up to 20 mpg city and 21 mpg highway from 12 and 15 respectively, no small feat for a vehicle that large!

    Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about my future E46 BMW M3 coupe getting ‘only’ ~27mpg on the highway.

  8. sleze69 says:

    “1-2) (tie) Chrysler Aspen Hybrid & Dodge Durango Hybrid 19 MPG”

    …and yet somehow these vehicles are granted access to HOV lanes when my 40 MPG TDI Passat (or the 50-60 MPG golfs/jettas) is told to suck it.

    Shame.

  9. sjaguar says:

    @shadowkahn: I have a 2002 Dodge Durango (non-hybrid). I do about 90% highway driving and get about 21 MPG.

  10. nataku8_e30 says:

    The 11 most efficient hybrids:

    Toyota Prius: 46 mpg
    Honda Civic: 42 mpg
    Toyota Camry: 34 mpg
    Nissan Altima: 34 mpg
    Ford Escape / Mercury Mariner / Mazda Tribute (2wd): 32 mpg

    Uh, maybe they should have made their list a little shorter when the 3-way tie for 9-11th least efficient hybrid is also a 3 way tie for 5-7th most efficient hybrid…

    source: fueleconomy.gov, 2008 hybrid vehicles

  11. neilb says:

    This is the direction we need to go with hybridization. Actually, work trucks and vans are needed even more. Plumbers aren’t exactly able to cut back on their mileage OR drive one of these things.

  12. MercuryPDX says:

    @copious28: My dad had the Ford Escape hybrid. He feels “safer” in a bigger car and 4WD is a necessity in snow.

    I drove it around when I went to visit and didn’t like it. It definitely did NOT have the same “pick up and go”. I also felt like I had more leg/head room in my Wrangler.

  13. springboks says:

    These are big SUV’s what were you expecting 40-50mpg. A Toyota Highlander is not the same size as a Prius or a Honda InSight

  14. springboks says:

    @shadowkahn: ..and we all know the numbers they post for the so called MPG on vehicles aren’t true for real life use anyway, those mpg figures are measured with a tail wind with a high octane blend of gas, on a smooth road with no stop lights, on a clear sunny day.

  15. allnitecp says:

    I had a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid 4×4 for about 10 months before I claimed Lemon Law on it.

    I NEVER got better than 17MPG City in the entire 10 months that I had it. Also, they don’t tell you that if you run the A/C, it will NEVER go into Hybrid mode.

    I was basically told that my driving habits (short distance back and forth to work and highway trips on weekends, lots of stop and go traffic) didn’t warrant the best fuel economy for hybrids.

    So I have a V6 now and I am getting better than 25 MPG average with the same driving habits.

    Hybrid is just another way of saying ‘Gimmick to sell more cars’.

  16. Orv says:

    @shadowkahn: Actually, a 20% improvement in economy is pretty impressive. It just doesn’t seem that way because the numbers are low, so it’s “only” 3 mpg, but it’s the same as boosting a small car from 35 mpg to 42 mpg. Looked at another way, it’s like hacking $0.80 off each gallon of gas.

  17. e.varden says:

    @Mercury POX:

    “4wd a “necessity” in snow? H.S.! You and I have gone through deep winters without starvation, without amputated limbs nor frozen noses. And without 4wd. As a matter of fact we did it quite compforably, even with a little more shovel-heft required.

    - The Escape was not “peppy” enough for you?

    Poor spoiled baby. And you “felt like” you had more body-room in your Wrangler (which has a fuel-line the size of a garden-hose)…stop it! Yer breakin’ me heart!

    Feh.

  18. Harlan says:

    There was a recent suggestion to replace mpg with gphm (gallons per hundred miles). The Durango hybrid takes 5.3 gphm, compared to the non-hybrid which takes 6.3 gphm. So, it saves 1 gphm. By comparison, the Camry hybrid gets about 34 mpg = 2.9 gphm, compared to the non-hybrid which gets something like 26 mpg = 3.8 gphm, so it saves a similar 0.9 gphm. It seems like, based on exactly two data points, that you save the same amount of gas regardless what kind of vehicle you were going to buy…

  19. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @e.varden: I’m hoping your post is tongue in cheek.

    If not, your driveway is not as long as mine :)

  20. Steeb2er says:

    Can I get a comparison of cubic storage space vs. MPG?

    Its all well and good that a Civic and a Prius get 40+ MPGs hybrid, but can they haul DJ equipment that I need to cart around?

  21. Sanveann says:

    @BrianDaBrain: Well, for some people, yeah, it is necessary. One of my good friends has a Mariner hybrid because she and her husband have a baby and two Great Danes. There just isn’t any way you’re getting everybody in a sedan! And 32 mpg, compared to 19 for their previous car, a Honda Pilot, is really NOT bad.

    I have the same issue — my husband and I have a toddler, a baby on the way, and an 85-pound German shepherd. It would be hard enough to fit the dog and one car seat in the back seat of a regular car (assuming the dog wouldn’t drool all over the kid and lick him half to death, which he would), but it would be completely impossible to fit the dog and TWO car seats. Plus, having a large dog sitting right next to my kids seems like a big hazard in the event that there was an accident.

    I suppose a station wagon is another option, but most of them don’t have significantly better mileage than my small SUV.

  22. Orv says:

    @Steeb2er: If you want cargo hauling space, you’re probably going to be looking at something like a minivan, or maybe a “tall wagon” type vehicle like a Scion xB. SUVs don’t tend to have a lot of cargo space for their size, because the high ground clearance and 4WD systems result in a high load floor that eats up space.

  23. atrixe says:

    I didn’t even know there were that many hybrids on the market to begin with.

  24. ne1butu says:

    The Escape Hybrid is actually a very effecient SUV. In NYC, where they are used as taxis, there is no other alternative other than the Crown Vic or Sienna minivan. I always try to get one of the hybrid taxis because, as a driver told me once, they only have to fill up three or four times per week. Versus a Crown Vic taxi which needs a fuel-up once or twice per day.

  25. Orv says:

    @ne1butu: City traffic is idea for hybrids and the worst for regular cars, so that doesn’t surprise me. Crown Vics are heavy and kind of archaic. They’re lucky to get much over 15 mpg in stop-and-go-traffic. Even on the highway I only get 20 mpg in mine.

  26. balthisar says:

    Most of those “gas wasting hybrids” get better mpg than I get in my perfectly acceptable car!

    I’ve driven the Escape Hybrid quite a few times. It’s not true that it won’t go into “hybrid mode” when the A/C is on; it’s always in hybrid mode. Maybe you just mean that the engine won’t cut off. Most other hybrids do that same thing. It’s not consuming that much while idling under no load. Just turn off your compressor and let the residual cold blow in if you think your comfort isn’t worth the price of gas. You probably don’t like climate control either, because you never know if the compressor is running or not.

    The oomph isn’t quite the same as the 6 cylinder, but it’s quicker than the 4 cylinder.

    Also, it’s more of a “crossover” than SUV — it’s unibody. It’s certainly not massive, either! If I were in the market for an SUV, I’d certainly be looking at an Explorer or Expedition if I needed serious space or passenger capacity. It’s better than either of those as a daily driver, though.

  27. nova3930 says:

    @nataku83:

    The Altima hybrid only gets 34? My wife’s 2008 straight gas 4 cylinder Altima gets 31+…

  28. fuzzymuffins says:

    @copious28:

    wait… so substituting a crappy MPG for a slightly less crappier MPG is ‘commendable’?

    car x = 10mpg
    switching to
    car x hybrid 15mpg

    is STILL WORSE THAN

    car x = 10mpg
    switching to
    car y (non hybrid) = 30mpg

    these companies need to stop justifying inefficiency period. no car should be even produced for the masses under 15mpg.

  29. @BrianDaBrain: Yes. Some of us take 5-9 kids camping every month in the spring/summer and snowboarding in the winter. ;-)

  30. boogermike says:

    1) There is more to it than just gas mileage. My wife’s hybrid SUV is a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle). Thus better for the environment.

    2) My wife wanted a SUV. That is what she wanted to drive (regardless of how much she is hauling on a daily basis, she is entitled to drive the type of vehicle she prefers).

    Granted, we could be driving a more efficient vehicle (smaller sedan, etc), but since we want to drive an SUV, we can opt for a hybrid, which is certainly more efficient than its gas-only counterpart. We are making an effort to drive the most efficient vehicle we can – in the class of vehicles that meets our needs and desires.

    3) I wanted to buy a vehicle that would support R&D towards alternative fuel vehicles. If more consumers purchased more efficient vehicles, the manufactures would meet the demand.

  31. @allnitecp: Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing. City miles, the hybrid-ness doesn’t kick in, but long distances it’s a great buy. I’m curious to know if the sucky part is more Ford than Hybrid.

  32. Canino says:

    Sometimes it isn’t a matter of efficiency or inefficiency. Power, torque, towing capacity, etc. are all important.

    While I would love to get as much MPG as possible, I’m only going to own one vehicle and that vehicle has to be able to pull a bass boat up a steep wet ramp and tow it home. That means my daily driver is a 4×4 pickup. Would I like to get better MPG? Of course, but for many people like me it isn’t the primary concern or even the secondary concern.

    When someone produces a hybrid/green/fuel efficient/whatever vehicle I can afford that does what I need, I’ll buy one and so will a lot of other people. Until then it’s 16MPG city and I’m not going to regret it.

  33. boogermike says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee:

    Actually hybrids are more efficient in the city. On the highway, the gas engine runs more (you want to run electric more, which happens more in the city).

    We had a conventional Ford Escape, which wasn’t a good car. I would suspect that the Ford part is the origin of the “suckiness”.

  34. mmathers says:

    Uhm, howie_in_az, what planet do you drive on in which you can achieve ~27MPG on the hwy with an E46 M3?

    Was the engine swapped out with for an E36′s 318ti’s power plant?

    While the E46 M3 is a brilliant car to drive, you are looking at significantly less than that. According to the EPA, you should expect closer to 21MPG and most of my E46 driving friends see way less than that.
    MPG (city) 15
    MPG (highway) 21
    MPG (combined) 17

  35. veryape says:

    these things are a joke to say the least

  36. TechnoDestructo says:

    @MercuryPDX:
    4WD is not a necessity, it is a substitute for driver skill…and even then only when accelerating, or in the case of road-oriented AWD (Subaru, for example), cornering. It doesn’t help you slow down or stop. That’s the thing that actually gets people in trouble in snow.

    Good (preferably studded) snow tires will do more for a car’s capability in the snow than 4WD will, and a driver who knows what they are doing and has a sense for what the car is doing will do even more than that.

    @ne1butu:
    I’ve never really comprehended the Crown Vic as a taxi. Great for the highway patrol…and the ruggedness is justifiable for the police. But I found the purpose-built 4 cylinder taxis in Japan just as comfortable as the off-the-shelf 8 cylinders in the US. V8 city fuel economy just does not make sense.

    Hey, in Alaska, there is at least one company that was running Kia Rios a few years ago.

    @mmathers:
    That’s only 3 MPG above the old EPA fuel economy estimate. That’s not hard to do in most cars. Your E46-driving friends just have lead feet. Tell them to buy Scangauges.

    @ceejeemcbeegee:
    You have that backwards. It’s on the highway that the “hybridness” (regenerative braking, running at low speed with the engine off, the elimination of idling) doesn’t kick in.

    And yeah, there had to have been something wrong with that guy’s Escape, and that is what Lemon Laws are for.

  37. trekwars2000 says:

    @balthisar: Actually the combined Horsepower of the ICE and the Electric Engine in the FEH is 155 HP, which is more than the 4 cylinder and the same as the V6. That said, the FEH weights about 300 lbs more so that is where the oomph difference might be.

    FWIW, I have a 08 FEH with just under 3K miles on the clock. My lifetime MPG is 34 and my last two tanks has been 550+ miles (or 38 mpg).

  38. Lucho says:

    I’m averaging 35MPG (sometimes more) on my 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. It’s all in how you drive it. If you’re flooring it to a redlight, you’re never going to reach those advertised MPG ratings.

  39. PDX909 says:

    So why do they list the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute as ‘tied’ for 9-10 place. They’re the same vehicle with different badges on.. Same for the Highlander and Lexus RX400. They should have excluded one of the models and opened up the field to more cars.

  40. Orv says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I think Crown Vics get used as taxis because they’re roomy and because heavy-duty fleet versions are readily available cheaply at police auctions. There aren’t a lot of 4-cyl cars that can seat two adults in the back and hold all their luggage in the trunk.

  41. ludwigk says:

    @e.varden: I had a 2-WD vehicle, and lived in Maine for two winters where we had record-breaking precipitation. I had my fair share of sliding down hills, getting stuck in local minima, and got pretty good at pushing my car out of small patches of slush while my girlfriend tapped the gas pedal.

    Sometimes, however, an onslaught of 4 inches of snow in 10 minutes would make the roads just about undrivable for a 2WD vehicle

    Once, after pushing up, then sliding down a hill in a local minima for about 45 minutes, a salt truck driver pulled over, and, through a combination of salt, sand, and him pushing along with me (not only was he friendly, but the guy was built like an ox), I was able to escape the trap. If not for his intervention, we probably would have been stuck over night. In some environments, I can totally understand wanting a 4WD for safety and convenience. Of course, Mainers all drive Subarus for that reason.

    I did the next most sensible thing, and moved to San Francisco, where we haven’t seen snow since.

  42. BrianDaBrain says:

    @Sanveann & ceejeemcbeegee: I stand corrected!! :D Still not for me though.

  43. stevegoz says:

    @PDX909: If they had done that, then the list of 11 least fuel efficient hybrids would’ve included every hybrid sold here but the Prius!

  44. dopplerd says:

    Hybrids are suppose to get better mileage in the city due to increased use or the regenerative braking (using energy from braking the charge the battery). Of course if you are someone who has to race up to the next red light the hybrid will not do much for your improved MPG.

    @nataku83: Interesting perspective on most vs. least fuel efficient vehicles.

    Off to ride my BIKE home from work.

  45. howie_in_az says:

    @mmathers: According to various people that have E46 M3s (at m3forum.com or .net, I forget), they get “north of 27mpg” on long highway cruises. The original EPA estimates were 24mpg/highway, recently ‘devalued’ to 21mpg. The EPA also estimates that my 2003 E46 330i sedan is only good for 28mpg (previously 30mpg) on the highway, yet I routinely get 33-34mpg at 75mph. In fact, just this morning on my 35-mile drive in I got 33.5mpg with an avg speed of 70mph.

    I’ll let you know for sure when I actually own a grey over black M3 coupe (6-speed, no flappy paddles for me) in about a year :)

  46. MercuryPDX says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I know. I’m not in the “I have 4WD, so that means I can drive like normal in winter conditions” crowd. My dad finds it necessary, I think it’s nice to have but not required, and by no means a “Get out of snow free” pass.

  47. starbreiz says:

    @MercuryPDX: I’m sorry, but folks who feel safer in large vehicles? It’s only because their large vehicles crush us in our small vehicles. But that’s a whole other rant.

    I really don’t like this trend towards overly large vehicles. England gets along just fine with tinier vehicles, their smaller roads and high petrol costs force them to. Why can’t we?

  48. starbreiz says:

    @MercuryPDX: *grin* i got my drivers license in a blizzard. it’s all about how you learn. i’ve never had 4wd, and i’ve driven in some baaad conditions. it cracks me up to now live in CA where folks freak out about driving when they see a tiny bit of rain.

  49. battra92 says:

    @Steeb2er: I think you might be better off with a wagon or a hatch with the back seats taken out. Depending on what your DJ equipment is. My old Cavalier could actually even haul 2 x 4s with the back seat down but all the new cars (including my Elantra) have less and less cargo space.

    I’m SUV neutral. If you want one, have fun with it, just you have officially taken away EVERY right to bitch about gas prices unless you can justify it more than “I want to sit up high” or “I need 4WD” or “I gotta haul the kids and our pet cow to Walmart* and soccer practice.”

    My dad has a double cab Tacoma pickup truck and 90% of the time it’s just a people hauler (or a person hauler.) At 20MPG it’s better than the Jimmy he was driving (at 15mpg) but he refuses to let me drive him around in my sedan. He used to have an excuse for the Jimmy by the way (hauling around a wheelchair for my late grandmother) but right now he might haul the occasional lawn mower or something but nothing that couldn’t fit in a more efficient vehicle.

    Gas isn’t at the point where it makes sense to have a second car for more efficiency.

  50. varro says:

    A Durango (or Tahoe/Hummer H2) hybrid is the diet pop after the Baconator and Biggie Fries…

  51. godlyfrog says:

    @TechnoDestructo: You’re correct in a lot of ways about 4WD, but not entirely. For the most part, mechanically speaking, the greatest benefit is indeed while accelerating, but it helps in turning and control as well. Take your standard 4WD vehicle nowadays; most have a limited slip rear, putting power to both wheels when one is slipping, and add 4WD to that. That means that in a slippery situation, you have 3 wheels all looking for grip, and when one finds purchase, the other 3 slow to the same speed, meaning that none of them are a detriment to you if one can be of use. In your standard front-wheel drive vehicle, you have one wheel that you depend on to provide power to control the vehicle, and if it starts losing its grip, it’s as good as an ice-skate, and now you can only hope that one wheel finds something to hang on to, or that you’re skilled enough to maneuver your vehicle. 4WD offers better control to the skilled driver, much like a manual transmission.

    In practice, however, most 4WD vehicles are driven by soccer moms who have trouble controlling it when it’s 80 degrees, dry and sunny. So for them, 4WD can often offer more trouble when, in their overconfidence with 4WD, they try to speed past the slow snowplow in front of them, and all 3 of their powered wheels begin spinning and they lose control. All of the most dramatic snow related accidents I have seen have been the result of someone in a 4WD vehicle thinking the system is more than it is.

    I personally find 4WD to be especially useful in the winter for not getting stuck in the snow, not having to worry about whether or not I can get going again at a slippery intersection after being fully stopped, and as I mentioned earlier, better control when individual wheels slip. Much like your comment, however, I also believe that it needs to be in the hands of a skilled driver to see any real benefit.

  52. golfinggiraffe says:

    part of the reason why there are hybrid trucks and such is because some of them also have 110v outlets that the entire hybrid system makes a lot easier. i mean, hey, you’re burning gas for electricity anyways.

    @fuzzymuffins: dude, if someone REALLY needs an SUV/truck to haul stuff around, then yes, an SUV/truck with a not as crappy MPG is better than an SUV/truck with a crappy MPG.

  53. pallendo says:

    @Canino: 4×4 is NOT needed for towing a bassboat. My parents tow a professional style ski-boat. Close to 2x the weight of a bassboat. They tow it with a ’96 Chevy Impala SS. Big RWD sedans can tow your boat just fine, AND make it up a wet ramp. And old Crown Vic or Chevy Caprice or Buick Roadmaster would be a better car for around town driving AND be big/bad enough to tow your bassboat.

  54. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I live way the heck out in the middle of nowhere on a New England dirt road, and at the end of that I have a 700 foot upwardly sloping driveway that’s quite frequently covered with ice. I like having 4WD on my S-10, thank you very much. Yes, you can do a lot with FWD and studded snows, but there is a limit to traction…FWD with the two front wheels on glare ice doesn’t work..nothing like getting 2/3 of the way up the driveway, hitting ice, and then sliding backwards into the ditch and having to call a wrecker to haul you out of your own driveway. I also find that 4WD also considerably improves general stability in severe conditions when there’s 5″ of snow on the road on top of a layer of ice (not terribly uncommon where I live).

    So yes, Virginia, there *ARE* people for whom 4WD is more than just a fashion statement. There are also people that need big vehicles…though I’m guessing that *maybe* that amounts to 10% or 15% of the population.

    As to putting hybrid drivetrains in large vehicles…is it worth the extra $10,000 to get 18 MPG as opposed to 15 MPG? No, I don’t think so. The Ford Escape…well…that almost begins to look worthwhile…32 MPG for a small SUV isn’t bad and might be worth the effort…maybe.

    When you get down to the Yukon, Durango, and Lexus, it really seems like a marketing sham. The words “hybrid” and “hemi” don’t belong on the same nameplate. Maybe having “hybrid” on the nameplate makes some people feel better about buying an inefficient vehicle that’s three times as big as they really need (to commute to work by themselves), but if you really want to do some good, buy a reasonably efficient vehicle to begin with.

    Please GM…no Hummer hybrids..okay?

  55. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oh, and just for the record, I drive a normal 25 MPG car for commuting purposes….4WD is reserved for snow, ice, and hauling lumber or hay.

  56. dumanue says:

    Hybrid shmybrid, why not go full electric?

  57. dumanue says:

    or Hydrogen?

  58. TechnoDestructo says:

    @godlyfrog:

    Yeah, that’s why I mentioned Subaru. That kind of AWD (and Subaru has pretty much the best, outside of high-end sports cars…and I’m not sure how well those would do on snow) can help you corner.

    Offroad-oriented 4WD as found in many trucks and large SUVs doesn’t. In fact it’s more likely to hurt cornering. (A point lost on the poor misguided morons whose trucks litter the ditches every October in Alaska).

    Oh, and the rear wheels finding grip (at least, grip that isn’t controlled by an electronic stability program), particularly if the front wheels have lost it, isn’t going to help most people to steer. In fact, for the sort of person who would actually REQUIRE any help, it’s only going to hurt.

    @Grrrrrrrrr:

    I learned to drive in winter in interior Alaska in a 1977 Nova with bald tires. FWD, hell. You can get through just about anything with enough momentum, a light touch on everything, and nerves of steel.

  59. TechnoDestructo says:

    @dumanue:

    Quick, give me directions to the nearest hydrogen filling station.

  60. hapless says:

    @pallendo: A Crown Vic is rated for 1,500 lbs tow capacity. To put that into perspective, a Hyundai Elantra is rated for about 3,000 lbs. A light-duty truck with tow packages can hit 10,000 lbs.

  61. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    wow. i would have purchased a hybrid highlander a few weeks ago when my previous car’s repair estimate exceeded the value of the vehicle by 3x. but in my city [raleigh, nc] there’s apparently an 8 month waiting list for the hybrid version. so i got a regular, used, 2007 highlander. i’m still getting 25mpg highway and 21mpg average.

    considering the age and engine problems with my old mazda, it’s actually about the same as what i was getting before.

    yes, i need a bigger car. my 80 dog could barely squeeze into my old compact car, and once in it, couldn’t turn around.

  62. orielbean says:

    Maybe it would be worth the lower emissions, but the impact from battery disposal might offset that. I’m no chemist though.

  63. facingtraffic says:

    @starbreiz: People even drive like idiots in Philly when it rains. It’s freaking PA, we have a real EVERY YEAR.

    Too many people think that 4wd is the cure-all for bad weather. As someone mentioned before, it does nothing for you under braking, and as most 4wd vehicles are heavier, is actually a burden. I’ll take my light, easy to maneuver Corolla over anything larger than a first-gen CRV in inclement weather any day.

  64. ne1butu says:

    I just want to clarify some things about hybrids. If I’m incorrect in my assumptions, please weigh-in.
    There is a difference between a car getting good mileage, saving money and being “green.” From my understanding, hybrid vehicles are terrible for the environment.

    • You only see a mileage benefit if you spend the majority of the time in slow stop-and-go traffic. If you see the full EPA estimate, the best case scenario is that it will take 2-11 years to break even with most hybrids.
    • The resources necessary to develop two separate mechanical systems in a vehicle creates a huge “carbon footprint,” more harmful than any full sized SUV. To mine for the minerals (nickel) has had terrible ecological effects on the Canadian town where the quarry is located and the manufacturing process of the components is very involved.
    • From North America, the nickel is shipped to China, where it is turned into a putty material. A toxic process with significant waste. Then it is again shipped to Japan where the material is turned into cells, shipped to the manufacturer, installed in the vehicles. Then the vehicles are shipped all over the world. All of this is a soot spewing, fuel propelled process, outside the scope of US environmental standards.
    • Then after the lifecycle of the vehicle has ended, the batteries have to be disposed of. They aren’t recycled because the recovery amount is too low to warrant it. I haven’t heard anything negative about the proper disposal methods of hybrid vehicle batteries. But with such materials, I don’t know how it could possibly be a green process.

    I don’t mean to be anti-hybrid. I think they’re a great stop-gap idea. But they don’t appear to be green at all. Because they require so much to manufacture, they don’t save fuel or reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It even appears that it further increases our dependence on Chinese components.
    For taxis that can quickly accumulate 300,000 miles in urban traffic, a hybrid makes a lot of sense. But for a family vehicle to really be green, it appears that it needs to be an efficient all-gas drivetrain, or an all electric drivetrain. But not both.

  65. Taed says:

    @sleze69: …and yet somehow these vehicles are granted access to HOV lanes when my 40 MPG TDI Passat (or the 50-60 MPG golfs/jettas) is told to suck it.

    Really? Where? I know in California, they won’t, since the basic rule is that it must be a hybrid or alternate fuel getting at least 45 MPG. (See details here [[www.arb.ca.gov]].)

  66. balthisar says:

    @Taed: I’m too lazy to read the rules, but diesel isn’t really an “alternative fuel” — it’s been around spanning two millennia!

    @sleze69: It’s okay, the HOV lanes are clogged by hybrids driving 5 below the speed limit.

  67. eekfuh says:

    Honestly, I think this should be judged as a percentage of the increase of fuel efficiency in comparison to other vehicles of the same class, not just total MPG.

  68. trekwars2000 says:

    @ne1butu: You only see a mileage benefit if you spend the majority of the time in slow stop-and-go traffic. If you see the full EPA estimate, the best case scenario is that it will take 2-11 years to break even with most hybrids.

    I beg to differ on the 2-11 year break even point. The difference between a fully loaded Ford Escape Limited with leather/Nav and a FE Hybrid with premimum/Nav (leather) is only about 4200 bucks. Subtract the 3000 for a federal tax rebate and I only need to make up 1200 dollars. In my state there is no state tax, therefore no state tax credit, but some states will make up the difference rigth there.

    In the FEH my oil changes are 1/2 as frequent and I get 38 MPG (vs say 22 in the FE). If I drive just 10K miles in a year I put in about 260 gallons in the FEH versus 454. Difference is 200 gallons or $800. I’ll make up that 1200 difference pretty quick.

    That said, if the vehichle doesn’t have a Tax Credit then I can see it taking much longer, but with the 3K tax rebate the 08 FEH/MMH had it makes it a no brainer.

  69. CarMaxChris says:

    On Friday, CarMax launched vehicle searches by MPG on [www.carmax.com.] Also, there are “quick links” that allow you to shop all the cars rated above 30mpg as well as all cars under 12K.

  70. Firethorn says:

    @orielbean:

    The batteries are fully recyclable. They’re actually one of those things where they’ll pay to get them back. Check out ‘core charge’ if you’re buying one to replace your old one.

    The only real reason they don’t do this for portable equipment batteries(AAA-D cells) is that they’re too small to be normally worth the hassle. When you get up to a car battery, even the lead-acid in normal cars, it’s worth it.

    The way I look at it, the best thing to do is to offer hybrids in ALL vehicle lines – don’t let the cloud of smug blind you. Increasing the mileage of SUVs and trucks can save a heck of a lot of gas/oil. An extra 10mpg for a SUV will eclipse the savings an extra 10mpg for a small/mid sized sedan would.

    By the way, the NYC Crown Vic taxis are NOT former police vehicles – they’re actually custom models, even LONGER than normal vics. When the taxi authority decided to allow the escape hybrid to be used there were fears of not enough legroom(not borne out thus far, but the tall leggy types might simply be selecting vics).

    Hybrids make sense in some situations – like city taxi. Enough in city use to slaughter the non-hybrid alternatives in gas savings, enough usage in a short period of time to make the capital cost worth it.

    Also, I figure the technology scales up well – a hybrid system for a vehicle of twice the weight and half the gas mileage won’t cost twice as much. So it becomes easier to justy to those that like spreadsheets. Look at locomotives – they’ve been diesel-electric for a long time now.

    As for why not electric – electric is currently too expensive with not enough range for the average user. If some mad scientist came up with a battery/electricity storage method that stored twice the electricity for half the price, then we’d be talking. There’s some potentials – I hear EEStor a lot, but as there have been no independant laboratory tests, I currently consider them vaporware.

  71. Canino says:

    @pallendo: Not where I take it. Not all ramps are paved and not all give you nice flat ground clearance. Plus, I didn’t mention, driving out on South/North Padre Island (not with a boat, but with kayaks). I’m not going to take a Crown Vic 20 miles up the beach from the nearest paved road, but feel free to do that with your rear wheel drive sedan. Maybe I’ll stop and pull you out if you offer me beer. Lots and lots of beer.

    Besides, when towing it isn’t a good idea to max out the vehicle’s towing capacity. I don’t want to get into any jams because I’m at the limit of what I can tow.

  72. newfenoix says:

    If I want 4WD I will get a Wrangler. I don’t like 4WD SUV’s. My wife has a 2006 Durango 4.7 V8 and we get about 20mph on the highway. My next vehicle will be a Toyota Tundra 5.7. I am willing to sacrifice mph for total usefulness. As far as the statements made about Crown Vic’s, I drove one as a cop for several years in Hot Springs, AR, which is a far cry from flat land. I never had a problem with traction, even on ice.

  73. totoro says:

    I never realized that diesel engines would be more fuel efficient than hybrids. This may change my next buy.

  74. rtmccormick says:

    It’s the percent change that makes the most difference. My Tundra with a V8 gets 14 mpg; if I get 7 more mpg, I’m getting 35% better mpg. If I get 7 more mpg in my old beater Tercel that gets 40 mpg, that’s only about 20% better. A 4×4 SUV that gets 25+ mpg is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards.