Friday, June 03, 2005

"Fool Efficiency"

All of a sudden, there seem to be quite a lot of articles about how Hybrid cars are not getting the miles per gallon they promised, and how EPA's test cycles can be gamed. This is not really a news to anybody who is seriously looking at the issue. The main points here are:
* EPA's test cycle does not mimic the on-road conditions all that well. As a result the actual fuel economy values for standards ICE gasoline vehicles are about 15% lower than EPA test values.
* The difference may be more for some hybrid vehicles. This is further compunded by the fact that many hybrid owners may be realizing that the benefits of a hybrid powertrain are much lower in highway driving mode than in city mode.
* Finally, even with gas prices at $2.20 a gallon, the price premium for hybrid vehicles today will not justify purchase of a hybrid vehicle on as a rational choice. Many who are buying hybrids today, I feel, are buying because they are the so called early adoptors who want to do their share in reducing fuel consumption.
Having said that, I remain bullish on hybrid vehicles. More on that later.

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