Dust to Dust: Hybrids Aren't So Hot

Looking for an energy-efficient vehicle? The hybrids may not be the best bet. With gas prices soaring at $3 per gallon and higher, many people are turning to hybrid vehicles to help with the energy crunch. If we can all do our part to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil….

CNY Marketing Research, a quirky research company in the northwest, undertook a long range "Dust to Dust" study to look at the average cost per mile for every vehicle sold in the United States in 2005. They included design and development costs, manufacturing and delivery costs, vehicle operation and maintenance costs, and disposal costs. When taken within the context of the average number of miles each vehicle is expected to last, they have been able to compute an average cost per mile for every vehicle.

The winner? The Scion xB, at 48 cents per mile. The Ford Escort, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Tracker, and Toyota Echo round out the top 5. A total of 26 vehicles cost less than $1 per mile. The industry average is $2.48 per mile.

As a group, the hybrids averaged $3.22 per mile, mostly due to high development, manufacturing, and disposal costs. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was the least expensive, with an average cost of $2.74 per mile.

My car, the Acura TSX, costs $1.73 per mile, while my only blog reader’s car, the Honda Odyssey, costs 2.27 per mile.

This reminds me of the debate over ethanol. If we have to produce six gallons of ethanol to save one gallon of gasoline, how are subsidies for ethanol going to solve the energy problem?