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  1. #1
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    I bought a nice Prius and I don't drive it

    My car got crushed in a hit-n-run 6 weeks ago and I finally bought a new vehicle. Got a Prius. I'm not all eco-crazy or anything like that - just seemed like a solid, reliable vehicle that would serve as good insurance in the likely scenario that gas prices will significantly escalate in the next decade.

    I bike commuted even before I got my previous car totaled, but in the interim, I've easily adapted to "life on the bike." Meaning completely car-free for 6 weeks, no problem. Groceries, errands, etc. - I'm fortunate to live in an urban area where things are close (but car traffic is nasty!)

    So I've now got this brand-new shiny car (that I had to buy since I sporadically work in a hospital 30+ miles away) that I don't drive. And I don't really plan on driving it as well. Too bad I couldn't just go completely car-free - I really tried going that route, but alas, I'm not quite there yet.

    Everyone asks me "how's the new car?" and I say, "biking's great - I get better mileage than my new Prius!"
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Kojak's Avatar
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    I had a really nice Honda Element that I sold about a year ago. It sat in the driveway for 6 months without being driven. At times I miss having my own car, but the cost of keeping a car sitting in the driveway was too high a price to pay for that once every 6 month whim of wanting to drive somewhere.

    As for your situation with regard to the sporadic trips to the far-away hospital, do you know if there is a Flex Car (Zip Car) program in you town?

    http://www.zipcar.com/
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  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I still like to pop in my car at 5am on nice weekends and drive 200 miles away from the City either to bike or to hike. I could get there by train but It'd take a lot longer and I'd have to come to Manhattan which I don't like to do on weekends. I did 36k miles in 5 years, that includes a few trips to Florida, South Carolina, Vermont. During Winter I fill up like once a month if even. I've been thinking about living car free though. It would be entirely possible, but I can't give up the convenience yet.

    Adam

  4. #4
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    A fellow Prius owner / cyclist!

    You should do what I do. Put a hitch on your Prius so you can drive to different places to ride. The best of both worlds.

    Just riding near home gets me into a boring rut. I like expanding my horizons-- With my Prius I've taken my bike to places from Cape Cod to Cape May and done some amazing day tour rides.

    Interesting piece of info BTW... The Power Split Device transmission in the Prius is like a bigger version of the 3-speed Sturmy-Archer Internal Gear Hub used on some bikes-- They are both planetary gearsets.

    Photo of my two babies: '07 Prius with the Curt Hitch installed, and my '06 Sirrus LTD.

    Last edited by LongIslandTom; 01-08-10 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Added Photo

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    The more you don't drive it, the longer it stays in like-new condition.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  6. #6
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    You should give it to lucky poster #6. Hey that's me. I won, I won!

    Or I can trade you my 96 Corsica. My bike gets better mileage anyway.
    lil brown bat wrote:
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    A fellow Prius owner / cyclist!

    You should do what I do. Put a hitch on your Prius so you can drive to different places to ride. The best of both worlds.

    Just riding near home gets me into a boring rut. I like expanding my horizons-- With my Prius I've taken my bike to places from Cape Cod to Cape May and done some amazing day tour rides.

    Interesting piece of info BTW... The Power Split Device transmission in the Prius is like a bigger version of the 3-speed Sturmy-Archer Internal Gear Hub used on some bikes-- They are both planetary gearsets.

    Photo of my two babies: '07 Prius with the Curt Hitch installed, and my '06 Sirrus LTD.

    I was just going to throw the bike into the hatchback. Any reason you don't? (My bike is a small 51cm)
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  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    The more you don't drive it, the longer it stays in like-new condition.
    uh, sort of. Some gaskets and seals need to be splashed with lubricant from time to time...

  9. #9
    Determined Survivor ejbarnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    You should give it to lucky poster #6. Hey that's me. I won, I won!

    Or I can trade you my 96 Corsica. My bike gets better mileage anyway.
    Keep the Corsica. Less pollution. More energy goes into building a car and shipping it over. Than you will ever put through it in fuel.
    You also are not responsible for all the pollution that goes into making batteries not to mention disposing of the old batteries. Nasty stuff.

    Why not burn e85? That just recycles the carbon back to the next plant used to make fuel.
    How much coal does it take to recharge an electric car????

    Just think, most of the income tax and other taxes from the Corsica went back into your economy, or alt least to a country that buys what you export.
    Keep your money close to home. Not only does it help your friends but in a way it will help you and the environment too.
    Life is short. Enjoy the ride.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    I was just going to throw the bike into the hatchback. Any reason you don't? (My bike is a small 51cm)
    The reason why I got the hitch was because sometimes I haul more than 1 bike.. Lots of times I got friends and family coming along on my day-tour rides, and it's always great to have company on these trips.

    On the occasions when I'm only hauling my own bike, I use the hitch for convenience-- It's quicker and easier to just throw the bike on the rack rather than manhandle it into the hatch. It's also nice that I can open the hatch while the bike is on the rack, and the rack holds the bike a foot away from the back of my car so I don't ding my car with scratches from the bike.

    That hitch is the best piece of aftermarket accessory I've ever bought for my car.

  11. #11
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Gas prices will have to go up a lot to make a Prius make sense from a purely economical point of view. Some friends and I ran the numbers a couple of years ago when gas was around $4/gallon, and at that price you only broke even on the Prius versus buying a non-hybrid similar vehicle at something like 230,000 miles. If you don't drive the car that far, unless gas gets really quite expensive, you'd be better off buying a non-hybrid.

    I have hopes that someday this type of car will be reasonably priced, but not yet. Even the Chevy Volt that's due out, which looked really good on paper, is going to cost > $40,000, and it's essentially a chevy sedan; in a standard car you wouldn't even want to pay $20K for it.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejbarnes View Post
    Why not burn e85? That just recycles the carbon back to the next plant used to make fuel.
    Maybe because e85 uses more petroleum per mile than standard unleaded, due to the fertilizer/production/transport/refining of the corn they use to make it?
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  13. #13
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    I didn't buy my Prius to save gas. People who think that's the only reason don't know jack crap about the Prius.

    I bought the Prius for its low-maintenance technologies. The less I have to bring a car in for servicing and wait for hours for the servicing to get done, the better.

    - The Prius uses regenerative braking, which saves brake pad wear tremendously-- It needs NO brake pad replacement until well after 100,000 miles. Try that in a Corsica and see what happens.

    - The Prius uses a Power Split Device transmission, which is MUCH SIMPLER and MUCH MORE RELIABLE than a regular car transmission. It has NO clutch, no hot-running torque converter that can leak fluid, no gear-shifting wear-and-tear. It only has one permanently-engaged planetary gearset. How the Power Split Device transmission works: http://www.eahart.com/prius/psd The PSD is a simple planetary gearset, just like the Sturmy Archer 3-speed Internal Gear Hub you see on some bikes.

    - Since the gasoline engine does not run all the time the car is in operation, it does not require oil changes as frequently as a regular car.

    - The Prius has no timing belt, no alternator, no starter solenoid or motor to wear out and cause trouble.

    And that myth about disposing used Prius batteries is bunk. It is FULLY RECYCLABLE. Toyota pays a $200 bounty to return the battery pack for recycling. And I'm not worried about its lifespan either-- Mine has a New York State-mandated 10-year / 150,000-mile warranty on it.

    Thing is, Toyota isn't the only car maker that uses this awesomely low-maintenance PSD drive system. Ford does too, with the Fusion Hybrid and the Escape Hybrid. You can almost say the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrids are essentially Prius on steroids. You can buy American and still enjoy the same benefits.

    I would have bought a Fusion Hybrid, but it didn't come out until 2009 (I bought my car in 2007).

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    - Since the gasoline engine does not run all the time the car is in operation, it does not require oil changes as frequently as a regular car.
    That never occurred to me, but I believe it. Do you still gauge time between oil changes by mileage, or is there something else?

    I'm an unabashed Honda fanboy, so I'd lean towards the new Insight, or even the upcoming CR-Z, to replace my '02 Civic Si. I really want to be able to own an FCX Clarity, though.

  15. #15
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    Prius owner here too. Prefer the bike over the Prius any day. The wife does use the Prius plenty, though. We do have another "car", a Ford Ranger which is driven a few hundred miles a year. Too bad we don't have ZipCar or the like here, because that would work very well for me. For now, I'd be pretty happy with the justice that Pay-As-You-Drive auto insurance would be.

    If I "needed" another car today I'd be looking for a reliable used car, and save big bucks vs. buying new.

  16. #16
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    I'm fully aware that the Prius isn't an all-win proposition in terms of cost, fuel efficiency, and environmental impact. If gas prices are low (<$2/gallon), it is likely that most economy cars will be cheaper to buy than the Prius. Plus, you definitely pay a premium to drive the very in-demand Prius.

    I bought the car because I plan to drive it until it dies, and it's upscale enough to drive even at a significantly higher income bracket without sticking out like a sore thumb (as opposed to my other 2 oldie budget vehicles) - this was actually perhaps the most important reason I bought it. I like the "green" motivation as well - even though it's debateable how green the Prius is, supporting cars and technology that move in this direction is a way I'd rather spend my dollars rather than buying more features that I don't really use in a regular vehicle.

    Ironically, much less justification and criticism gets sent toward folks who drive $40k+ luxury and sports cars, even though with those vehicles you're really paying tens of thousands for style points alone. I find it ironic that folks who criticize the Prius as being expensive often have very little to say about Infinitis BMWs and Mercedes, all of which are fine,but expensive cars $10k+ over the Prius, and offer mostly luxury nonessential features at a huge premium.

    I actually looked at ZipCars here as well - but they're really expensive! It was actually significantly less expensive to just do a standard car rental for a full day than to try to rent by the hour with Zipcar.

    But despite not caring much about the long-term economic sense of it in my case, I would definitely bet that in the upcoming decade, you can expect significant increases in gas prices. To $4 and well beyond that. With China & India's rise, increasingly limited world fuel resources, and more power-hungry technologies, even political pressure won't be enough to continue to subsidize our US cheap oil habit. Keep in mind that European gas, which is more fairly priced than ours, is well over $6 per gallon in many countries - our prices are artificially low because of the political danger of being thought of as supporting a gasoline tax. In a sense, buying a Prius can also be thought of as "insurance" against these big (inevitable) price increases, and will thus make the car's relative value increase as gas prices go up. That's also a pretty compelling reason for me as well to justify paying a premium on for a car I intend to drive for 7-10+ years.

    Also - used Priuses here in SoCal are expensive. 2006 models were going at only $3000 less than a brand new similarly equipped 2010 model. These cars are in-demand, and hold their value extremely well. I was hoping to see some of those 20% off the new price for a 2008 model, but there were no such deals whatsoever that I could easily find. 2009 models were selling at 90-95% of similar 2010 models.

    But still - like I said - I ride my bike more than I drive my car. That's a complete win-win situation for everyone. By a LOT. I hope it stays that way!
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  17. #17
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    I was just going to throw the bike into the hatchback. Any reason you don't? (My bike is a small 51cm)
    Sooner or later you will mess up the interior, no matter how careful you are. I have a minivan (Mazda MPV) and I drive with all second and third row seats removed so I can fit two bikes standing up easily plus other cargo and I still messed up but I don't care that much. You will also scratch your bumper, so might consider a rubber protector on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post

    You should do what I do. Put a hitch on your Prius so you can drive to different places to ride. The best of both worlds.
    Funny you mentioned that. I lived without a car for several years before I returned to biking. After taking trains and renting cars for a while to get out of the City to go mountain biking, to join organized rides , etc. I decided I needed a car Some nice places are 100+ miles away from NYC and riding out of the City on a bike isn't fun. So I got a car I can fit 3 people, 3 bikes and all luggage inside my minivan. I did many biking trips this way with my clubmates.

    Adam
    Last edited by AdamDZ; 01-09-10 at 07:29 AM.

  18. #18
    Bike Collector Bioflamingo's Avatar
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    I bought an 05 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE a year and a half ago that had 49,000 miles on it. Currently it has 51,000. Probably 3/4 of those miles were from going on biking/camping trips with friends and the rest were either to pick up new bikes, groceries(no safe place to lock a bike up at any of the grocery stores), or other random errands. I'm fairly certain that's all a car's good for.
    700 bikes and counting

  19. #19
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    - The Prius uses regenerative braking, which saves brake pad wear tremendously-- It needs NO brake pad replacement until well after 100,000 miles. Try that in a Corsica and see what happens
    Try braking a 2010 Prius for that matter, seems they don't do that well anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    - Since the gasoline engine does not run all the time the car is in operation, it does not require oil changes as frequently as a regular car
    Only if you're changing by mileage. If your car is sitting long periods you should be changing by time, which may or may not be equal


    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    - The Prius has no timing belt, no alternator, no starter solenoid or motor to wear out and cause trouble
    Sure, a zero maintenance gasoline engine. Want some beachfront in Arizona too?


    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    And that myth about disposing used Prius batteries is bunk. It is FULLY RECYCLABLE. Toyota pays a $200 bounty to return the battery pack for recycling. And I'm not worried about its lifespan either-- Mine has a New York State-mandated 10-year / 150,000-mile warranty on it
    You need to do some research on the impact to the planet for what it took to mine the materials for those batteries, not just recycle

    I'm happy with my little ford Focus thanks. 1/3 the cost of a Prius, 35mpg, and in 86k miles it's cost me two sets of tires and a set of front brakes.

  20. #20
    Back in the Saddle
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    lowest cost of ownership is in a car that is paid for. Even with very poor mpg, not having the car payment more than makes up for it. It also means you aren't using the resources to manufacture a new car, have it shipped, etc.

    To CCrew's point - i read somewhere last year that the environmental impact of a Prius is higher than a traditional car. The manufacturing process of the batteries which use minerals from Canada, shipping the batteries to Japan, then the car back to the US all uses up more than the car saves. And as stated, the research shows the payout isn't there unless you are going to keep the car a long time, which most people don't do.

    E85 is inefficient, unless your vehicle is pure e85. the flex fuel set up causes a higher cost per mile when using e85 ( i have a flex fuel and lose 25% mpg when using e85)

    I wish I could bike to work. Is 25 miles across a big city with no bike lanes to speak of. My Tundra serves my camping/towing and bike hauling needs well, and will last long beyond the payments.
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  21. #21
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    I bought a 600 dollar Geo Metro, gets 50mpg and I don't drive it. Beat that HYBRID!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Gas prices will have to go up a lot to make a Prius make sense from a purely economical point of view. Some friends and I ran the numbers a couple of years ago when gas was around $4/gallon, and at that price you only broke even on the Prius versus buying a non-hybrid similar vehicle at something like 230,000 miles. If you don't drive the car that far, unless gas gets really quite expensive, you'd be better off buying a non-hybrid.

    I have hopes that someday this type of car will be reasonably priced, but not yet. Even the Chevy Volt that's due out, which looked really good on paper, is going to cost > $40,000, and it's essentially a chevy sedan; in a standard car you wouldn't even want to pay $20K for it.
    And then add in the brick like depreciation when you drove it off the lot. MASSIVE extra expense when you have to replace that battery at 100k. Buying a brand new car (especial these gas electric hybrids) makes almost no sense financial sense when you get down to it unless you plan to drive it till it is used up ate 250-300k.

    Buy a older low mile used car that gets good MPG is the best financial thing to do. I just bought a 96 Previa for $1400. Put about $400 in it fixing a few things (shocks and stuts and coupler that goes bad on these). Motor has 120k on it. It loaded and everything including the dual A/C works, just had the brakes done. Gets 25mpg on the hwy (4cyl with super charger) can carry bikes IN it with the wheels on. Can camp with it using it as a tent when I want a break from the cold and I head to FL.
    You cant have a signature unless it fits in this box

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    Try braking a 2010 Prius for that matter, seems they don't do that well anymore
    So? Get a Ford Fusion Hybrid instead. It uses the same kind of regenerative braking too, but Ford programmed it differently so it doesn't have as big a lag in transitioning from regen to hydraulic.

    Sure, a zero maintenance gasoline engine. Want some beachfront in Arizona too?
    Why do you think it's impossible to have an engine that has no alternator, timing belt or starter motor?

    Tell you what, open up the hood on a Fusion Hybrid or Prius and see if you can find those components. Bet you $1000 that you won't be able to.

    You need to do some research on the impact to the planet for what it took to mine the materials for those batteries, not just recycle
    Blah blah. Lead-acid batteries are far nastier.

    I'm happy with my little ford Focus thanks. 1/3 the cost of a Prius, 35mpg, and in 86k miles it's cost me two sets of tires and a set of front brakes.
    I don't expect my car's upkeep to cost more than yours, and I'm just as happy with that.

  24. #24
    Senior Member poopisnotfood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    .



    Why do you think it's impossible to have an engine that has no alternator, timing belt or starter motor?

    Tell you what, open up the hood on a Fusion Hybrid or Prius and see if you can find those components. Bet you $1000 that you won't be able to.



    Blah blah. Lead-acid batteries are far nastier.
    He was stating that you will still have maintenance costs associated with your car. You will, even if it is not an alternator, timing belt, etc. Although those are a few things you won't have to worry about, but you will have maintenance. Also, I don't think anyone was comparing the batteries in your Prius to the lead-acid batteries, I believe they were talking about what it took to produce the Prius battery. They mine the materials in Canada, ship those materials to China to make the batteries, then ship those batteries to Japan for the car, then ship everything back over to the US.

    The person that bought an old Geo, or any other car and the true friends to the enviornment, they bought a vehicle that is still usable, hence not wasting the resources to produce new vehicles when we have plenty of serviceable, running vehicles here already. We then use even more resources in their destruction, when with a few hundred dollars in repairs would be perfectly fine for another 100k miles, then when it is completely worn out, replace it with another for $1500. Rinse and repeat.

    Now, in posting this I am a hypocrite, because I have not done that. I own a newer model vehicle, so I am certainly not judging you based on your Prius purchase, what you do with your hard earned money is NONE of my business, I am just saying that people that buy hybrids thinking they are some kind of saint are far from it. I did not get that from your tone in your posts, but many people that drive them do.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Man, the URL says bikeforums.net but this thread looks it's really at caranddriver.com.

    As long as everybody is sounding off of what car they have- '05 Hyundai Elantra (4cyl/AT) and 1999 GMC Suburban (8cyl/AT, RWD). This is what I want (though have not seen one in person).
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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