Corolla vs. Prius

I recently did a cost comparison between the base price of a Corolla vs. the base price of Prius and trying to determine whether the gas savings alone make it worth it.

What I found is that if you assume $3.00/gallon (it obviously may go up a bit) and 15,000 miles per year, that the Corolla is still cheaper than the Prius after 10 years of use. I think there are tax advantages for the Prius, but I’m not sure of the details. Money now is worth more than money in the future so that helps justify the Corolla. Also, my guess is that Prius repair and maintenance costs more due to less standard parts and components.

Anyway, both my Dad and my Dad-in-Law have a Prius and I don’t. Can you say, “sour grapes”?

  1. #1 by Mom on July 24, 2007 - 1:46 am

    Aunt Kathy did a similar calculation and came to your conclusion. But seeing a paleo-conservative driving a Prius is enough to make a liberal think again. Since they do so little real thinking to begin with, it’s almost worth the price of the car. Love, M

  2. #2 by Stephen Chambers on July 27, 2007 - 4:48 pm

    If Ken has a Prius, just wait a bit and he will soon be wanting to give it to you!

  3. #3 by Peter on August 6, 2007 - 6:13 am

    Standard ’08 Prius = $20,950
    Standard ’08 Corolla = $14,405

    Difference = $6,545

    ’08 Corolla Fuel Efficiency = 32/41 (EPA estimates)
    ’08 Prius Fuel Efficiency = 48/45 (EPA estimates)

    Expected gas price over the next few years = $3.00 / gallon

    So, to make up the difference in price (without adjusting for the time value of money or the tax offsets), the Prius has to save 2,182 gallons of gas.

    In city driving, one has to drive 96 miles to save one gallon of gas in the ’08 Prius compared with the ’08 Corolla. So, in city driving, you would have to drive 209,472 miles to make the cost difference pay off.

    In highway driving, however, one has to drive 461.25 miles to save one gallon of gas in the ’08 Prius compared with the ’08 Corolla. So, the distance you would have to drive is 1,006,447.5 miles to make the cost difference pay off.

    And, of course, with such huge mileages involved, one would have to take into account maintenance and insurance costs, which intuition suggests are going to disfavor the Prius.

    It might seem to make sense (based only on the information above) to buy Prius cars for a taxi-cab fleet, which will be doing a very amount of city miles in a short amount of time.


  4. #4 by Peter on August 6, 2007 - 6:19 am

    “… a very _large_ amount of city miles … ”

    and it doesn’t seem like the savings would be of much benefit to anyone else.

    The environment is not really a valid reason to drive the Prius, either. The savings in gas consumption are offset by the environmentally questionable batteries (questionable in their creation and especially their disposal).

    I suppose there are other reasons to drive a Prius (it may be easier to park, it may get you into certain restricted driving lanes, it may puzzle the liberal as he passes in his Hummer, etc), but gas and the environment are unlikely to make the list.


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