May 24, 2013

YOUR NEXT CAR ALREADY IS A VOLT:

Uncle Sam Embraces Hybrids (Daniel Gross, May 13, 2013, Daily Beast)

In April, the GSA announced the federal government will buy up to 10,000 new hybrid vehicles.

That's good news for tree-huggers, auto manufacturers, and deficit hawks--and given the changes in the auto manufacturing world, it's likely to raise far fewer hackles than it would have a few years ago.

Hybrid cars are hardly an embryonic technology. They're tried and tested products, with millions of units sold globally. In April, according to Hybridcars.com, more than 42,000 hybrids were sold in the U.S. alone.

The knock on hybrids has been that they tend to cost more than similar models that run only on gasoline. And even with the price of gas pushing $4.00 per gallon, it takes a long time (or a lot of driving) for a purchaser to earn back the higher price paid through lower gas consumption. Buying a hybrid may make moral and environmental sense from day one. But in order for it to produce economic benefits, you've got to hold on to the car for several years and drive it a lot. Which is why the most enthusiastic purchasers of hybrids (aside from the bienpensant of Boulder and Berkeley) have been the sort of owners who view vehicle ownership as a long-term business proposition. It's common to see hybrids in taxi and corporate delivery fleets.

By the same logic, hybrids would seem to be a no-brainer for governments, who tend to hold onto vehicles for a long time and pool them in fleets

Posted by at May 24, 2013 7:15 AM
  

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