No. of Recommendations: 2

You wrote, Hybrid's values rise and drop with gas prices and recalls.

For myself, I wouldn't care too much about the resale value of the vehicle given the assumption that I would drive it for a very long time. I will probably never consider buying a used hybrid for the same reason I never buy used batteries or used hard drives. The battery is probably one of the most expensive items on a hybrid and at some point you have to replace it.

Also, I have mixed feeling about buying a used hybrid. The battery technology is improving. The cost of replacing batteries is decreasing, but probably will remain higher for older models.

Actually I wonder about the battery technology. I'm a pretty strong believer in (older) NiMH batteries. They don't seem to suffer from recharge degradation as much as other battery technologies, so they tend to last longer, and they have energy densities similar to newer Li-ion batteries. They do have some serious drawbacks - they're relatively heavy and they tend to self-discharge more when hot (part of the reason my girlfriend's hybrid gets better gas mileage here vs. Texas).

Admittedly Li-ion batteries are state of the art. But they're not perfect and they really only offer one serious improvement over NiMH batteries: weight. Li-ion batteries hold a good deal more energy per ounce. But I've seen several Li-ion batteries fail in consumer electronic devices after only a year or so, and I've not been overly impressed with their shelf life or self-discharge rate and when they fail, they can fail catastrophically. So a car with a Li-ion battery is cool, but also a bit worrisome - mainly because we don't have as much experience with Li-ion as other technologies.

As for the car I'd buy? Probably a Civic Hybrid. (Which I believe switched to a Li-ion in 2012.) I figure the difference in purchase price is between $3,500 to $4,000 for the hybrid vs. a comparable Civic EX. (Though the Hybrid and EX don't compare precisely.) Assuming a $4K delta and only $500/yr in fuel savings (and ignoring differences is resale value), I'm looking at 8 years to break-even - not counting the frictional costs of buying/selling a car early. So break-even is at least 8 years for me ... unless I change jobs again and have to drive a lot more. Looking at it that way, it's a tough sell.

Oh well, maybe when my Accord is a little longer in the tooth. Or when gas prices go up another couple dollars/gallon?

- Joel
Print the post  


UGC Disclosure Notice Regarding Credit Card Posts
Community board discussions about credit cards are not provided or commissioned by banks who may have advertising relationships with The Motley Fool. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
TMF Credit Center
The Motley Fool Credit Center arms you with real tools and simple messages, that will help you in every credit situation.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.