Is there any USP of Toyota Prius?

Let us say an average American drives 15, 000 miles per year; The exact average being 16550 miles.
Let us assume the price of gasoline to be 5$ per gallon, which is much higher than current price in the current range of 4-4.50$ per gallon; a higher price should further support high mileage vehicles like Prius.
and try to compare the total gas expense of Prius, BMW, and Corolla
  1. Toyota Prius which gives ~ 40 miles per gallon [source]
    Total gas consumption = 375 gallons
    Total gasoline expense = 1775$ – let’s take this as our base fuel expense
  2. BMW 3series which gives ~ 20 miles per gallon [source]
    Total gas consumption = 750 gallons
    Total gasoline expense = 3750$
    Extra expense over Prius = 2000$. Now, I assume that most BMW owners earn more than 100K or at least pretend to do that, is 2000$ per year that big an expense to pull them away from a luxury BMW?
  3. Toyota Corolla (which gives ~ 30 miles per gallon) [source]
    Total gas consumption = 500 gallons
    Total gasoline expense = 2500$
    Extra expense over Prius = 775$
    Note: not to forget that Corolla is ~ 7000$ cheaper than Prius
    Ignoring discounted cash flow analysis, It takes roughly nine years for Prius to pay back the extra premium. If we do a discounted cash flow analysis, it will take even longer.
Clearly, at prevailing gas prices, Prius is neither an economical choice not a luxury choice.
Is Prius a choice for environmentalists?
And some who might think that its an environmental choice must realize that “most of the pollution a car generates over its lifetime is generated during the process of actually making the car” and Prius is not the most “green” car out there. EDIT: The following paragraph has been added in response to (first) comment made by Vikram.
As per HowStuffWorks, “If you drive both a conventional and hybrid car for 160,000 miles (257,495 kilometers), the conventional vehicle requires far more energy to operate and emits far more greenhouse gases over its lifetime, significantly canceling out any imbalance during the production stage”.
The ignored “cultural” aspect
Given that 76% of Americans drive alone, a simple fix of “doing carpooling to commute” will bring even a BMW at par with Prius.

4 Replies to “Is there any USP of Toyota Prius?”

  1. The ranker.com that you cite, the blogger seems to have an agenda against Prius. He makes no technical argument against Prius, and is unhappy with its ugly looks, its pretentious owners, or its weird pronunciation. Please cite more authoritative sources to justify why the lifetime pollution from car’s emissions is at least not comparable to the emissions during its making.

  2. And when all things stay the same, one can say all cars will emit similar amounts during their manufacture. Then, if you’re looking to be greener in your lifestyle choices, it really boils down to choosing a car that emits less** post-ownership that’s within your budget, and does not artificially constrain you (carpool or recharge battery every 100 mi).

    ** unless you can prove to me that the effect of car’s emission on air quality is an order of magnitude less (so statistically insignificant) that it doesn’t really matter which car you own for your air quality to improve. I don’t think you can prove this, but I like surprises.

  3. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/does-hybrid-car-production-waste-offset-hybrid-benefits.htm “If you drive both a conventional and hybrid car for 160,000 miles (257,495 kilometers), the conventional vehicle requires far more energy to operate and emits far more greenhouse gases over its lifetime, significantly canceling out any imbalance during the production stage”

  4. I agree that you have right to call ranker.com a non-authoritative source. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/does-hybrid-car-production-waste-offset-hybrid-benefits.htm “If you drive both a conventional and hybrid car for 160,000 miles (257,495 kilometers), the conventional vehicle requires far more energy to operate and emits far more greenhouse gases over its lifetime, significantly canceling out any imbalance during the production stage”

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