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)