As I’ve written before, my husband owns a Prius. The funniest thing is that we didn’t actually buy a Prius to conserve gas. In 2008, my husband wanted a small SUV in order to haul around his reffing supplies and Curling gear, but then he saw a Prius in a supermarket parking lot and peeked in the back. He was surprised by the storage area and the Prius was cheaper than the Hyundai Sante Fe he had in mind. That is how we ended up choosing to buy a Prius - it ended up being $21,500 for a 2007 Toyota Prius with a ton of extras and the Sante Fe was about $30,000-$35,000 depending on what options he wanted. That said, making double the miles per gallon is pretty great too. Here are the pros and cons we see of owning a Prius:
- It makes 44-47 miles per gallon on road trips and 47-52 miles per gallon with in-city driving. Yep, that seems backwards but it isn’t since the breaking system is part of the battery re-charging process.
- It has the perfect amount of storage space in the back for all the stuff my husband takes around – reffing duffel bags, Curling broom and shoe bag, and our bowling ball bags for our bowling league.
- It is very comfortable for up to 4 adults and semi-comfortable for 5 if a couple of the adults are not large, lol.
- It drives fairly smooth – a lot smoother than my Chevy Aveo.
- It is a quiet ride since it only makes noise while it uses gas to recharge the batteries.
- It doesn’t require much maintenance at all since all of the systems are enclosed. So far, we just have its oil changed every 5000 miles and it will need a closer look when it hits 100,000 miles.
- The push button start and backup camera are great! Other cars have those too, so keep an eye out.
- There is a big blind spot thanks to the slope of the rear window area.
- It is so quiet that we’ve accidentally left it running in the garage for a few hours until we went to investigate the periodic vacuum cleaner sound.
- It seems to run through good tires every year or two and it costs about $450 to have them all replaced at Discount Tire.
- If something breaks that shouldn’t – it would be expensive to replace. The battery pack alone is $3000. So far, we haven’t had any issues at all though.
Can You Save Money in the Long Run on Gas Alone?
Before you yell at me about a Prius being a bad deal, I will beat you to the punch. It isn’t a great deal for everyone. I know. It was an awesome car for us since it saved me from owning an expensive SUV that makes 22 miles per gallon on a good day, but it isn’t the car for everyone. If you are ever in the market for a basic sedan, it would take years for the Prius to pay you back for its extra cost through gas savings alone. Here is a quick breakdown.
A Prius vs Basic Sedan Breakdown
Let’s say you drive 15,000 miles a year (like my husband). Let’s also say a Prius makes 50 miles per gallon and cost $23,000 to buy and the other car you have in mind makes 25 miles per gallon and cost $18,000 to buy (a standard sedan). That means you would need to fill up the other car twice as much but it cost $5000 less up front.
At gas being $3.00 a gallon, the Prius would cost $900 in gas and the other car would be $1800 in gas. You’d only be saving $900 a year in gas. It would take you a little more than 5 1/2 years to pay back the extra cost of the Prius in gas alone. So in our example, if you usually own your cars for 6 years or more, the Prius may make sense for you. If not, the sedan may end up being cheaper if all other things were equal.
The Gas Savings vs Bigger Prius Cost Equation
Basically, here’s how you can use to see if a Prius would save you more in the long run:
1. (Your Average Annuals Miles / Comparison Car Miles Per Gallon) * $Gas Price Per Gallon = Cost of Gas for Comparison Car (CC)
2. (Your Average Annuals Miles / 50) * $Gas Price Per Gallon = Cost of Gas for Prius (P)
3. CC – P = Gas Savings Per Year (to use below)
Extra Cost of the Prius / Gas Savings per Year = Years it Would Take to Break Even
Example – 2011 Prius at $25,000 vs 2011 Corolla at $18,000 (based on prices I found online at a nearby Toyota dealer)
1. (12,000 / 30) * $3 = $1200
2. (12,000 / 50) * $3 = $720
3. $1200 – $720 = $480
$7000 / $480 = 14.6 Years to Break Even
That number of years would go down as gas prices go up and vice versa. But in general, I wouldn’t make my car choice based on miles per gallon alone. Would I think about getting a Prius myself? Yep. But I like it because of its versatility. Keep in mind though, my other favorites are a Mazda Miata or even a Mini Coupe…cuteness can beat out usefulness, lol.
Look at me getting my math on for you.
What do you like and dislike about your vehicle? What do you like and dislike about a Prius? Any Prius owners out there with one 5 years and older? What can we expect?