Jay crunches the numbers on the Chevrolet Volt and discovers an interesting fact:
Got that? 35 freakin’ miles on a charge. The rest of your trip takes place courtesy of a tiny gasoline motor that gets less-than-fantastic mileage, mainly because it’s trying to power a vehicle that’s too large for it. You’ll save $7,600 in fuel costs over five years! It’s right there on the sticker! Too bad it costs about $25,000 more than any other comparably sized vehicle, so it will take you more than 15 years TO BREAK EVEN.
Let me state this as clearly as I can: If you buy this car expecting to save money, you are a fucking moron.
You’re not saving any money whatsoever – at $46,000, the difference between the Volt and a Civic/Corolla/Sentra/any other comparably sized gasoline engine car in gas mileage is negligible. Even with gas at $4 a gallon and and an annual commute of 20,000 miles, the gasoline-only car getting 25 MPG would cost you $3200 for the year. Even if the Volt were 100% free, it would still take almost 10 years of driving to offset the cost differential.
People generally have a hard time calculating cost-benefit ratios. That is to say people will look at the initial numbers as see that buying a car will save them some $7,600 in fuel over five years but will then fail to crunch the numbers of the cost difference in fuel between the expensive vehicle that uses less gas and the cheaper vehicle that uses more gas.
I purchased my Ranger before fuel costs started going up and when I saw the prices jumping I calculated out how long it would take me to break even if I traded in the truck for something more fuel economical. My Ranger has a 4.0L engine and gets roughly 17.5 mpg. I compared it to something that go 30 mpg at $4.00 a gallon gas and found out I wouldn’t break even until I had driven the car about 100,000 miles. In other words the cost-benefits ratio was piss poor and therefore buying a more economical vehicle was pointless as it would take ages for me to recover my costs.
Also I wouldn’t be able to piss off the enviro-nazis if I drove an economical car and somethings are worth the additional cost.