Save money, reduce greenhouse gases, restore the Gulf of Mexico, eliminate the need to import oil and save the planet.
These are hot topics right now and popular reasons people buy a hybrid or, even more extreme, a fully electric vehicle.
Hybrids might look good on the surface, but I think they’re all hogwash. Yeah, these modern autos will save on your monthly gas bill and reduce the pollutants pouring from your tailpipe, but at the end of the day, they are designed to line the pockets of the companies that build them. If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint and save wheelbarrows full of cash, buy a used car. But not just any used car.
Buy a new Toyota Prius, or any hybrid for that matter, and you might feel good about yourself for doing your part to save the environment. But you might also hear allegations that your new car is actually depleting the earth of precious minerals that are used to build its batteries. An article I wrote here discusses that in more detail.
Buy a used Corolla instead, say a 1998 model, and according to the CarGurus DealFinder, you’ll spend somewhere around $3,000-$4,000 and enjoy highway miles per gallon in the mid-30s. That Prius you were considering would have to drive a long way to make up for the 20-grand price difference! Plus, you might save a perfectly fine car from the crusher and keep it out of the landfill, something any true environmentalist would appreciate.
Not convinced? Honda has a perfect example, too. The new CR-Z hybrid five-speed will get 37 highway miles per gallon. You have to go back a ways, but the ubercool Honda Civic CRX five-speed returns the exact same number. Plus, it’s more fun to drive and doesn’t have any natural-resource-depleting batteries to weigh it down. Finding one will be a challenge, since Honda enthusiasts are well aware of how great the CRX was and are buying them up as soon as they hit the market.
A full list of hybrid-beating used cars would go on forever and include most of the compact fuel-misers from the 1980s and 1990s. Even later models like the Toyota Echo and Honda Civic can offer supreme fuel efficiency and reliability to rival their newer, but lesser, hybrid competitors.
What used cars can you find on DealFinder that someone might consider instead of a hybrid?