Some Gasoline-Fueled Cars Save You More Money Than Hybrids, Electrics In The Short-Term

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

The White House is working on new fuel standards with a goal of a 56.2 mile per gallon average for new cars by 2025, but some automakers are already trying to put the brakes on the plan saying it will drive up new vehicle costs by thousands of dollars and force layoffs. There are cars actually getting that mileage now which saves you a ton at the pump, but it will cost you in other ways. With gas prices nearing 4-dollars a gallon, people are finding ways to hit the road without breaking the bank.

"I was getting 90 miles to the purchased gallon with that vehicle," said Cliff Hollis of Greenville.
Hollis found a way to get 90 miles to the gallon without buying a hybrid or electric vehicle.
"I had considered a Prius, a hybrid vehicle, and then thought, 'Hey wait. OK. I want to go even more alternative than that, and waste vegetable oil was the most alternative that I could find," said Hollis.
Vegetable oil, the same kind you use in your kitchen, was the secret to Hollis' fuel savings success. He converted 3 older model diesel cars to run on vegetable oil. Only diesel models work for the conversion.

"A1983 rabbit and a Mercedes 240D and 300D both of which, all 3 were 20 to 25 years old, so I got into the vehicles for nothing," said Hollis.

The cars were cheap and the used vegetable oil was free. Hollis picked it up from 2 restaurants. Hollis said he did it to save money but also for the environment.

"I was really thinking what could I do to do my part and to be
in a situation where I could say I'm not a part of the problem," said Hollis.

Hollis sold his vegetable oil run cars, but plans to convert his 98 Jetta which he says will cost 2 to 3 thousand dollars. So maybe you don't have the time and money to dedicate to converting your car to run on vegetable oil.
Doctor Loren Limberis, a bioengineering professor at East Carolina University drives diesel vehicles and says they are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines and many are cheaper to drive than hybrids or electric cars.

"It just depends on what the economics the consumer is looking at. If they're really adamant about cleaning up the environment or maintaining a clean environment, I don't know if much is going to stop them from paying the extra money that is required for this technology," said Limberis.

Filling up your car with diesel seems painful at the pump because it costs about a quarter more a gallon than unleaded. It's about $4.00 a gallon right now. So maybe you're thinking a hybrid is a better choice. It will definitely save you money at the gas station, but experts say it could take years of driving that hybrid car to break even for what you paid for it.

"The electric hybrids they can get crazy especially if you get into the larger, luxury models it can take up to, I know this sounds weird, but if you do the math up to 150 years to pay it back," said Limberis

So, let's do the math. Let's look at 2011 model cars that get at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Based on driving 15-thousand miles a year (about half in the city and half on the highway) with gas costing an average of $3.64 cents and $3.90 for diesel, you'll pay the most at the pump with diesel models and get great mileage on the highway- about 42 miles to the gallon. Your yearly cost for gas is just over 17-hundred dollars.

Car manufacturers have churned out a few gasoline-fueled cars to compete with hybrids and diesels that get 40-miles per a gallon on the highway and you'll average about the same at the pump as a diesel that has slightly better gas mileage because you're paying less for unleaded- about $1650 a year. Plus,these models cost about $10,000 less than their diesel counterparts.

It's no surprise electric and hybrid models have the lowest fuel costs. With an average of 42-miles to the gallon for hybrids, you'll spend less on gas at as little as a thousand dollars a year. Hybrids use gas for engine start up and as a back up if you run out of a charge-.

You get a whopping average 93 miles a gallon with electric cars and you'll only spend about 600 dollars a year on electricity- that's just 50-dollars a month. Hybrids we listed cost 19 to 29-thousand dollars, and small electric models are priced between 29 and 39-thousand dollars.

So, even though you could save more than a thousand dollars a year in gas- in order to make up the extra $5,000 to $25,000 you pay for an electric or hybrid versus a gas powered car- you'd have to drive that gas-saving ride 5 -25 years to break even.

So, when it comes to newer model cars, the innovations to make gas powered engines more efficient have paid off for manufacturers. Driving a small gas powered car will save you the most money in the short run if you are buying a newer model car.

If you're wondering how the vegetable oil car matches up? It costs the same to run as an electric car. Who would have thought? We've had the secret to saving on gas in our kitchen cabinets all along.

If you're strictly choosing a car for the best gas mileage, gas powered cars with the very best gas mileage when you factor in the cost of the car. The drawback is there are only *four* 2011 model, gas-fueled-only cars sold in America that get 40 miles per gallon or better- and they are small cars. They are the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze Eco and Smart Fortwo cars.

If you're not in the market for a new car, many older, small model diesels get about 50-miles to the gallon on the highway. So even though the price of diesel is a little more- the price of the car is less and you come out saving money as long as there is no major maintenance issue.

Also, the cost of hybrids and electric cars went up this year because there is no more tax incentive to buy hybrids, and the federal incentive to buy an electric car was cut in half from 7,500 dollars to $3,750.

Accessibility to green cars is tough. You usually have to pre-order the cars, and it's tough to find a used one because they are in high demand.

You might be wondering about E-85 or ethanol fuels. They are cleaner burning and better for the environment, but they don't improve fuel efficiency.

If you can't afford to change cars right now, experts say you can save money on gas by driving efficiently, maintaining your car, and planning trips. Many short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a multi-purpose trip covering the same distance.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Really? - DC on Jul 26, 2011 at 06:03 AM
    I think I will stick with my 16 MPG Tahoe and the better assurance I will actually survive a crash. Once they make a car that comfortably fits someone over 6 feet tall and does not leave me feeling like I am packed in a can of sardines, I will look into an upgrade.
  • by Joy Location: NC on Jul 25, 2011 at 07:20 PM
    WITN what happen to the comment page and story? President Barack Obama Will Speak To Nation About Debt 1 Comment? their were about 10 a few minutes ago? To WINT Editor What happened to the news story and comments Last Updated: 5:03 PM 07/25/11 - President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation Monday at 9 p.m. about the debt deal. You can watch his speech on WITN. Did you delete it the story and comments they do not show up anymore?
    • reply
      by April Davis on Jul 25, 2011 at 07:42 PM in reply to Joy
      Now Titled : President Obama: Stop "3 Ring Circus" Debt-Limit Debate
  • by Truth Location: Reality on Jul 25, 2011 at 06:12 PM
    Here's a little food for thought re: gas engine economy 'advancements:' In 1989/90, Honda had a Civic CRX HF that got 49MPG Highway & 40 city (Something along the lines of 41MPG HWY by the new standard, but I can personally verify that the 1990 CRX I had bumped 50 ACTUAL miles per gallon. Now, tell me again why--21 YEARS LATER--with all of these 'advancements' in engine technology--manufacturers can't seem to muster a 50 MPG, economy vehicle that's not a go-cart? I can tell you , the CRX I had was slow, maxed out at about 95MPH, and was 2 passenger (with PLENTY of room).. but, it was an ECONOMY car. Why, today, is there not a similar car (or the SAME car) that can get 60-65 MPG...?
    • reply
      by Echo on Jul 25, 2011 at 08:28 PM in reply to Truth
      You can thank a combination of tougher emission and crash regulations for the death of your CRX. The Chevy Sprint was another high fuel mileage car eliminated from the market by government regulation.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2011 at 03:44 AM in reply to Echo
        You got to make a decision, whats more important, fuel mileage from the Sprint, or funerals for the ones who didn't survive the accidents.
        • reply
          by Truth on Jul 26, 2011 at 05:14 AM in reply to
          True--to a point. But, I would feel a WHOLE lot safer in my CRX than I would in one of these little SMART cars I see around. I guess they don't have to adhere to the same standards since they may fall more under golf-cart regulations. lol
      • reply
        by Truth on Jul 26, 2011 at 05:13 AM in reply to Echo
        While I do realize that crash regulations might would make for a heavier car, with the engine management advancements, one would think this would still be an achievable goal. Drats--there I go, thinking again... lol As for the emissions--fuel economy means efficiency, and efficiency--in itself--leads to reduced emissions, no?
    • reply
      by Truth on Jul 26, 2011 at 08:26 AM in reply to Truth
      *slow as in acceleration. 95MPH is more than enough top speed for the highways and byways of the US...
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Jul 26, 2011 at 04:17 PM in reply to Truth
        Thanks the federal government from protecting you for you own good. Oh, and this hybrid car thing...physics still applies regardless of politics. Yes, those CRXs were great on gas, however, politics entered. Federal regs pushed by American companies by lobbies paid to do so took care of that. Well, if you cannot beat the mileage, go after the safety. Of course they ignore the fact that some of us don't use our cell phones when driving and actually...pay attention to what goes on around us. Its still survival of the fittest....no matter what law, or car safety regs you put in. Of course the CRX is still a coveted car if you can find one. One more thing...do motorcycles have airbags yet?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2011 at 01:36 PM in reply to Truth
      I had a 1985 Honda CRX HF and it got 55 mpg on the hwy and 50 mpg in town. It didn't have fuel injection, just a regular carburetor. I wonder the same thing, why can't cars get at least 50 mpg.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jul 25, 2011 at 04:33 PM
    Funny how India solved the problem.Air powered vehicles.Yea! thats right TA TA motors a giant car maker has a 7 passenger van for around $20,000 get's around 1,000 miles on a system charged with air,think the U.S government and big oil will allow it in the U.S ? oh! you can google ta ta motors and read about it.no fosel fule,no polution,no dependency on the arabs for oil.
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