Ford Escape Hybrid

Linda and I went to test drive the Ford Escape hybrid small SUV last night. It was very nice, very similar to the Mazda Tribute 4.5 passenger SUV that I test drove a couple of years ago. The driving experience was not any different from a conventional gasoline car, but the numbers don’t really add up.

1. The sales guy told us that the hybrid technology adds about $4,500 to the sticker price and even though they had two hybrids on the lot, there is a market demand surcharge of $2,500 above sticker. Plus the conventional Escape has a rebate of $2,500. That means there is a nearly $10,000 differential between the two versions. In round numbers, the market price of the hybrid is $30K and the conventional is $20K.

2. Lets make the following assumptions

  • hybrid: 33mpg
  • conventional: 20mpg
  • gas price: $2.90/gal

3. Therefore, the gasoline costs to operate each vehicle would be:

  • hybrid: $0.088 per mile
  • conventional: $0.145 per mile

4. The gas savings with the hybrid are about 5.7 cents per mile (.145 – .088) and you would therefore need to drive the hybrid over 175,000 miles to make up the $10,000 purchase differential. (10,000/0.057 = 175,066.31)

(We are also looking at the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder)

computer hygiene

Recently I made a housecall to update and cleanup the parents’ two windows computers. Here’s the (free) tools I recommend for do-it-yourselfers. All of these are download, install and run.

To find and clean out all the tracking cookies, spyware and advertising delivery bots, run some combination of the following three programs once a month. You’ll be surprised at what they find.

I recently found this general disk cleaner. It runs and cleans out all the old temp and junk files that accumulate on your hard drives. On my work PC, it took 156 seconds to scan and find over 2.5 gig’s worth of removable files. Its which stands for ‘crap cleaner’.

All these software downloads are available in one efficient site:

7/02 Update: Warning! be sure to close your browser windows (and any other programs that might be open) when running ccleaner. There is a documented bug with Firefox if it is left open.