2012 Toyota Prius C: The Payback
May 24, 2012
What I like best about the 2012 Toyota Prius C is that it pencils out.
Probably "pencils out" is not quite the right phrase for the careful calculation of the period of time that it takes to recover in fuel savings the premium cost of hybrid technology. But you get it. It's possible to think of the Prius C as a car that pays for its exotic technology in a time frame that's less than the half-life of a plutonium isotope.
Not only has Edmunds long believed in the evaluation of any fuel-efficient vehicle according to this metric with its Internet tool available here on the Edmunds.com Web site but also the federal government is now in the game with its own site found here.
The feds offer a pretty basic calculation, since only fuel costs and the vehicle's MSRP are factored into the result. There's nothing to factor buying incentives, insurance, maintenance and resale value. "Based on MSRP and fuel costs alone, hybrid vehicles can save you money versus a comparably equipped conventional vehicle," the site tells you.
All this is of real interest now that the price of gasoline seems to be declining while the availability of conventionally powered high-mpg vehicles is increasing. Here's the complete news item from Edmunds Inside Line.
I'm liking the Prius C because it brings hybrid technology to people who have been standing on the sidelines because the price of admission to the whole hybrid thing has been too much. Of course, for me, the payback that a hybrid gives you remains a statement of personal values rather than pure pocketbook economics, but I'm totally okay with that. At the same time, I figure it's smart to know the whole deal no matter what kind of Prius C shopper you might be.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 860 miles