BROWN COLUMN: Gas, hybrid, PHEV and electric powered automobiles

Published 9:30 am Friday, October 29, 2021

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Unfortunately, our 2006 SUV died a few months ago. This means my wife and I need to buy a car at about the worst time in many years to buy either a new or used car.

Our preference is to buy a mid-size SUV, assembled in the US, and it can be serviced locally.

We have owned a hybrid sedan for 7 years with over 130,000 miles on the same battery and have averaged over 40MPG for the combined city/highway. President Biden’s policies have already increased gas prices 42% since his inauguration 9 months ago. Further I would not be surprised that by the end of 2022 that a gallon of gas will cost at least $5. Therefore, we are looking for a hybrid.

Last week, we became aware of a PHEV (Plug-In, Hybrid, Electric, Vehicle) on the lot of a local dealer which if you have been shopping you know that very few new cars are available. We were initially intrigued since it appeared to be the best of both worlds with the advantages of hybrid and electric. However, the extra $3,000 to $5,000 over the cost of a hybrid — which is already at least $3,000 more than the ICE — an increase in cost per mile vs a hybrid, time and cost to charge it, and a range of only about 35 miles in an all-electric mode have significantly decreased our interest. However, the IRS $6500+ IRS tax credit for a PHEV is a temptation.

We did minimal research on all electric vehicles (EV) because of the lack of charging stations, EV taxes and no alternative if you drain the battery. In a few more years as the range increases and there are many more charging stations, there will be a lot more EVs sold.

From the research I have done, the emissions from a hybrid are much less than ICE vehicles but there are environmental issues when you need to dispose of the hybrid battery. Much the same can be said about PHEV and EV models

We did not consider a used car because of the huge increases in what it cost to buy one and minimal warranties.

I wish you well if you, like us, must buy now because you can forget negotiations and do not be surprised if you must pay a premium above list price. Therefore, if you do not have to buy now, think about waiting.