35 MPG Gas the same as 35 MPG Hybrid?


#1

I’ve been trying to get an answer to this question to no avail. Let me phrase it like this:

2 cars: 1 hybrid, 1 gas–both rated at 35 mpg. The logic of the mpg ratings tell me that, all things being equal, if I put a gallon of gas into each of these cars, I can travel 35 miles. If this is true, what is the point of a hybrid that can be matched by a gas only engine? Am I not still burning a gallon of gas to travel the same distance in each car?

Everyone I talk to about this seems confused, and website searches are no help. I’m looking at a 2013 Prius because I’m attracted to the high mpg and I do the kind of driving that will benefit from it. But, while considering it and looking at other car model hybrids, I got to thinking about what is the point of low mileage hybrids. I’ve even seen large SUV type hybrids with 25 mpg ratings. Considering the added upfront expense, what’s the advantage? At least when considering a used Prius, I’m avoiding the initial high cost of a new vehicle, and I can have confidence that it is a highly rated, long lasting used car.


#2

35 MPG will get you 35 miles on 1 gallon, hybrid or not :slight_smile:

my coworker runs Prius for 100K miles and tells he averages around 40 actually - highway or city.

My wife’s 2013 Nissan Sentra averages 33-34 with similar distance to drive daily in city/suburb, I drove it from Northern Virginia to Boston and back having real 40 MPG highway - exactly as rated by Nissan.

Yes, indeed you can get quite close MPG-wise in late-model gas cars to compare to older hybrids.

Consider this: batteries are wearable items.
Prius actually is very good about battery longevity (unless you carry hairy dog on backseat and it plugs battery fan with hair: very strange to draw air for cooling right from backseat folds), less luck with Honda hybrids from what I’ve heard.

If you are to get into a battery replacement, probably all the fuel savings will be eaten, and then more, so I would be careful about used hybrids, unless you have a skilled mechanic to guide you.


#3

What is the mileage equivalent of a non-hybrid SUV? Actually, fuel-saving accessories typically make MORE sense on a vehicle, the more fuel it burns to begin with. A truck getting 13MPG costs 20c to travel a mile ($2,60 gas); up that 2MPG, and it costs 17.3c, savings of 2.7c/mi.

OTOH, a 40MPG economy car only costs 6.5c/mi to operate, and you’d have to improve economy to 68MPG to save the same amount of money!


#4

true, at the current gas prices, break-even for adding hybrid technology into a small car is way too long time to justify, unless it is a taxi-car


#5

I suppose the 25 mpg hybrid SUV might outperform the non hybrid 25 mpg SUV. Better 0-60 acceleration and the like.
The original concept of the hybrid was to use electric power help the engine during acceleration or passing situations, so you could have an engine more optimally sized for cruising power where the vehicle spends most of its time instead of having an engine sized for passing power where the car spends very little of its time… That’s basically how the original Honda Insight was designed. The electric boost allowed the car to have a one liter three cylinder engine like a Geo Metro, but due to the electric motor boost, still had decent acceleration and passing power.


#6

Wrong, you are looking at a 4 year old vehicle that is just like any other used vehicle. It may run trouble free for a long time or cost you buckets of money in repair.

If long term usage is important then new with warranty and staying on course with scheduled maintenance is the best way to go.

There are charts you can find online that will have you answer questions to help you decide if you really should purchase a hybrid.


#7

MPGs are MPGs for any vehicle that does not have batteries charged from a plug. But a good hybrid will always get better mpgs than the equivalent non-hybrid for in-town driving. How much better, and how much it’s worth, is the question. The new Prius averages over 50 mpg. The Rav4 hybrid, 34 mpg. Both better than the equivalent non-hybrid. But if miles are highway-only, the advantage pretty much disappears.


#8

The electic boost is half the equation
The other is using the motor as a generator to recharge the batteries.

To answer the original question. A 35 mpg hybrid and a 35 mpg regular car only compare for mpg. In comparable size and performance (0 to 60 mph times) cars the hybrid gets better mpg. There is no reason for the added expense of a hybrid if the mpg is not better all other things considered


#9

The difference between a 35 MPG hybrid and non hybrid is the class and size of car available.

The only cars rated at 35 MPG city or greater is the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Scion IQ (discontinued).

There are many hybrids available with better MPG ratings. The midsized Lexus ES300h is rated at 40 MPG city, has pleasing acceleration and is far more comfortable than the other two mentioned.


#10

Miles per gallon is just that. I understand the premise that there are hybrid vehicles that have a rating and real world performance that some other vehicles without electric assist can match. However, modern hybrids from the best automakers (at making hybrids) blow away similarly sized, non-hybrid vehicles in terms of miles per gallon. The current Prius Eco is rated at 56 MPG Combined. There is no 2017 model year non-hybrid, non-electric vehicle in that car’s size that can come anywhere close to that rating. One outlet I work at did an extensive test on the highway, in high heat conditions,(the worst combination for hybrids to use their special abilities) and the Prius Eco dramatically exceeded that rating. I recently tested a Lexus RX 450h midsize hybrid crossover myself. It was the third in a string of premium midsized crossovers I had tested. It returned 50% better fuel efficiency than a slightly smaller, slightly lighter Jaguar F-Pace. It returned about 60% better fuel economy than a Grand Cherokee about the same size. It was also quieter, smoother, and had just as much real-world performance capabilities as the Jeep and Jag. The Lexus RX 450h has over 300 hp, so it is certainly not a vehicle that lacks get up and go.


#11

Is that the overall fuel economy, the highway fuel economy, or the city fuel economy?

Here is my take: If you drive a lot of miles (more than the national average of 12,000 miles/year) in mixed or city traffic, get a Prius. If you drive less than 12,000 miles/year, or you mostly drive at constant highway speeds, get a conventional non-hybrid car.

When it comes to overall fuel economy, 35 MPG is 35 MPG. When you break it down to city vs. highway fuel economy, results will vary.


#12

I haven’t seen similar sized vehicles with one being hybrid and the other is a gas fired ICE that have same overall mpg.

I have seen them where their highway mileage is very similar, but the hybrid has much better numbers for city and combined.

Hybrids are GREATif you have the right commute.


#13

Nearly 100% of the people that live in the major metropolitan areas of the country have “the right commute” for hybrids.


#14

And a lot of those people have good public transportation. I have several relatives in NYC who don’t drive…don’t even have a drivers license. No need.


#15

I disagree. A lot of people who live in major metropolitan areas have commutes for which mass transit, a bicycle, or the availability to park-and-ride using mass transit make a hybrid a poor choice. For example, my brother has a 41 mile commute from Columbia, MD to Washington, DC. He drives to the train station, takes the train into Washington, and then uses a bicycle sharing service (that costs $5/month) to get from the train to work. For that kind of commute, a hybrid would be a terrible choice.

In order for a hybrid to be the right choice, you’d pretty much have to live in the suburbs, have a long commute, and lack alternatives. That might apply to a large portion of urbanites, but not near 100 percent.

On a related note, I’ve started doing my 8 mile commute on bicycle, so I might not be very sympathetic to those who don’t consider non-driving alternatives. When I was a child, I often commuted to school in Buffalo winters on a mountain bike.


#16

I guess I don’t get this busses and bikes discussion. That applies, hybrid or regular car. Do we have to add “if you’re driving a car” to everything to make that clear?


#17

30 years ago I would agree but not anymore. Most large cities with good public transport designed with a “wheel and spoke model” no longer serve their residents. The “model” used to be living in the suburbs and commuting to jobs in the city. These days those jobs moved out to the suburbs for various reasons so the commute is a suburb to suburb model that is not supported by the “wheel and spoke” public transport model anymore. A hybrid would be the highest MPG solution to that stop-and-go suburb to suburb commute.


#18

You’re right. I just never equate city living with driving a car. If I lived in a big city I’d probably wouldn’t drive.

You don’t have to live in a big city to have the perfect commute for a hybrid. Wifes commute is excellent for owning a hybrid. Almost bought one back in 07. But they were using the larger batteries back then and the battery pack took up over half the trunk. You could barely put one suitcase in there. That is the main reason we didn’t buy one in 07.


#19

I was responding to a generalization regarding people who live in metropolitan areas and their commutes, and I think a discussion about commuting alternatives should include all of those alternatives, even if it’s a side discussion.


#20

There’s more than saving gas. I have heard of taxi fleets reporting that switching to hybrids was worth it just for the extended brake life alone.
So, perhaps the way to tell if hybrids are perfect for you is to see how far you go between brake jobs. If the guy behind the front desk of Just Brakes knows you by name, perhaps a hybrid is the perfect car for you.
On the other hand, if you put over 180,000 miles on a set of brake pads before needing to replace them, maybe you don’t need a hybrid…