Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rant #65: New Car Gets 230 Miles Per Gallon

General Motors, which is in the middle of probably the worst period in its glorious history, has come out with the news that its new Volt electric car is able to get 230 miles per gallon for city driving, which is much, much more compared with Toyota's Prius, the most popular hybrid car on the road today.

Of course, this claim, which has not been substantiated by the Environmental Protection Agency, comes with a caveat: the car costs $40,000.

Hybrid cars are a wonderful thing: they save on fuel economy by providing a gas/electric riding experience. They save users lots of money on gas, and they are better for the environment.

My beef is not with the hybrid itself or the technology; my beef is with the car companies, for pricing these vehicles way, way too high.

GM's Volt is $40,000. How is the average person going to afford this? As anyone who has recently bought a car knows, with taxes and other things added on to it, your $40,000 really is a sham amount; you will be paying lots more for your car, and if you use financing, you will be paying lots, lots more.

When my 1995 Neon died last year, I did lots of research into hybrids. I figured that it would be sensible for me to buy one. I liked what I saw, but yes, I suffered sticker shock. These cars are priced so much higher than regular cars that it really isn't cost effective for middle class drivers to purchase one. They are only for the wealthy, I'm afraid.

We are so much into greening and preserving the environment now, why are car companies pricing these cars at such a high level? I know we are being charged for the technology, but doesn't this defeat the purpose--to get these cars into widespread use?

I had high hopes when I heard that both Hyundai and Kia were planning on releasing their own hybrids, because they are lower-priced carmakers. At this moment, I haven't heard a thing about these cars--perhaps they failed in making them cost-effective enough to mass produce.

Anyway, GM can take its Volt and its supposed gas mileage--until they price these cars about half what they are charging for this vehicle, I am afraid we, as a country, will continue to spend money on traditional gas-only cars--and that's when we decide to buy new cars, which as you know, isn't happening at a rapid pace right now.

Make a hybrid that is economically priced. The first car company that does that will see a windfall!


  1. That tends to happen with any new type of technology. Expensive at first, but further developments result in lower prices. VCR's and DVD players are good examples of this. We will see.

  2. Agreed, but I have to tell you, I was very discouraged when I went car shopping in April 2008. The prices were out of this world, and I just didn't think it was worth it--how long would it take me to recoup my extra costs? Perhaps when I need another car--hopefully this one will last as long as my other car did--the technology will be there, and these cars will be affordable. Right now, as I said, they are for the wealthy.



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