It has been a year since I purchased a Honda Hybrid back in July, 2008 and this entry is the annual report of that experience.
In a year of commuting, the car has clocked around 440 miles (~700 km) per week during the commute. The conditions have changed steadily over the course of the year with gasoline prices moving in a range of $2.80-$5.08/gallon (weighted average of $3.25/gallon) and gas mileage hitting a range of 43-49 mpg depending upon driving conditions and approach. Again, a weighted average is 44.7 mpg for the entire time period.
As a reminder, the hybrid replaced an 18 mpg vehicle with this one, not so much for fuel, but for access to the carpool lane which saves around 15 minutes per day, or a hour and a quarter per week.
Given the parameters above and the total mileage of 19,382 elapsed during the period, the gas savings has been about $2100. This is like being paid nearly $90/month to drive the car in cold, hard cash. The time savings is even more dramatic, over the year I calculate it to be about $8000, or being paid $650/month for driving this car. Finally, around 12,000 lbs of CO2 wasn’t emitted for this vehicle vs. the alternative, or around 630 tree-years worth of greenhouse gas reduction.
Even with all this goodness, I have to admit, I still like my other vehicles better. But the benefits of this vehicle are hard to ignore – driving another year effectively means the car was “free” relative to the benefits accrued vs. the purchase price. That it still has residual value is a bonus! But, the fit and finish are not great. The geometry of the vehicle is odd, and I’m relatively speaking, a small human. It feels like a tin can to drive. The acceleration is miserable and the creature comforts are lacking. Oh well, you have to give something to get something and that’s the price of the benefits.
Despite the drawbacks, I’ll drive the car for another year and reassess the situation then. For now, it does the trick.