How Much Have We Lost?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thinking About My Hybrid

Last week, my 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid, Manual 5-speed cleared 100,000 miles and it got me to thinking about the economics of buying my car.

At the time, Hybrids had just hit the market. I wanted to buy a Toyta Prius, but the waiting list was 8 months long. At the time, I was living in Hybla Valley so I ran across the street to Sheehy Honda and signed a contract on a a Honda Civic Hybrid for $19,500 in August, 2004. It cost me a couple thousand dollars more than the regular Honda Civic, but it had better gas mileage and I wanted to support the hybrid concept at the time.

In the first couple years they were on the market, the federal government offered tax deductions hybrid purchasers. The federal deduction totalled $2,000 at the time and the net dollar effect was variable value depending on your marginal tax rate, but it definitely saved me some taxes.

I've also been thinking about my gas savings. My previous car was a 1995 Honda Accord. It's gas mileage was about 27 MPG. Today, I get about 47 MPG on average through the year (a little higher in the summer, a little lower in the winter).

I did some quick math and to drive 100,000 miles at a MPG that was 20 MPG higher translates to 1,576 less gallons of gas. I pulled down the historical gas prices for the Central Atlantic Region and did a non-weighted average ($2.66/gallon) and added a dime for Northern Virginia. Turns out my gas savings were approximately $5,872 over the last 100,000 miles.

In terms of carbon footprint, 1 gallon of gasoline translates to 19.564 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Therefore, I emitted 30,833 less pounds of carbon by purchasing this vehicle.

My car is also grandfathered into Virginia HOV restrictions. That has saved me countless hours in traffic.

One thing I also noticed as soon as I bought the car was that I spent a lot less time at the gas station. By saving 1,576 gallons of gas, that equals 112 fewer fill ups (1,576 divided by 14 gal.) over the last 6 years or about 1.5-2 less trips to the gas station each month. At five minutes per fill up, that saved me about 562 minutes or about 9.38 hours.

My car has taken some dings and nicks through the years, but it's still going strong. It gets me from Point A to Point B which my main priority. Here's the bottom line:
  • $2,000 tax deduction
  • $5,872 in saved gas
  • Hours saved in traffic by using HOV lanes
  • 9.38 hours less time at gas station
  • 30,833 less pounds of carbon emitted

All-in-all, I'm feeling pretty good about my purchase.

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