Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One Prius, Two Prii?

Before the accident, we were talking about selling my beloved Jetta and leasing a new car. A new car with payments preferably close to what we are paying for Jetta, but without the headaches of a five year old car, and with better gas mileage since I only use it for work. Now the accident has delayed these plans for a bit, but I've nonetheless been noticing what's out there on the road.

I've been seeing a lot of those Prius cars. Sleek, kinda weird hind end, but the whole hybrid thing is really attractive. I would love to own a hybrid - not only is it good for the environment, (which I have to admit, I'm not exactly the "greenest" person in the world, but if it's convenient, why not?), but it is also super fuel-efficient thus less cost to the owner. Too bad the cost of this car is like twice the monthly payment for other compacts.

For example, I was looking at the Yaris (two Yarii? Okay, enough). The website lists the monthly lease, including taxes, with all the options I want, for like $340/month. The Prius, base model, is listed at $670/month!!!! Obviously some people who have the money for it, and are into the novelty of it are willing to pay that. But what kind of incentive is there for people like me, who would love to drive something socially responsible, since I do have to drive for my job, but can't afford the equivalent of a rent payment to do so?

I wish the government would step in and offer a special tax benefit, or a rebate, or maybe free gas for a certain term. I can understand that right now it costs more to manufacture these cars, therefore they must cost more, but in order to get the cost down, more people need to be able to purchase the cars so they can produce them in larger numbers. (Impressed by my analysis of this economic situation? Probably not, right?) So if the government offered some kind of benefit, people might be more apt to buy them, and before long, the benefit could be abolished, or maintained for a certain percentage of the purchase price, and more people would buy them and soon the whole world would be driving ecologically friendlier vehicles.

The chances of that happening are between 0 and 0.5, so I will maybe get a Yaris, because they are cute, small, fuel-efficient, and cute. And small, for parking. But mostly cute.

But first Jetta needs to go to the car doctor for a little reconstructive surgery, and maybe a boob job since she'll be there anyway.


Ahuva said...

I don't know about renting, but there's a $3,100 tax credit for buying a Prius. Leasing is usually only a good deal if you are planning on getting a new car every two years so you can always drive the latest and greatest. I only got $500 for my trade-in and the payments on my 96 Prius (with all the options short of the nav system and leather seats) are under $500/month.

Jules said...

But I'm in Canada. We have free healthcare, but alas, no tax benefit for enviro friendly cars. I guess it's worth the trade-off, but still sucky. Also, car prices are higher here because of the exchange rate. :( But thanks for the info - I'm glad to hear that these things are catching on enough for one government to notice, and maybe ours will soon too!