Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Toyota Prius a gas guzzler against a BMW?

With gas rising well over $3 per gallon, I bet you've looked twice at that Toyota Prius hybrid that gets nearly 50 miles per gallon. It's becoming so beloved, and so economical that five states are allowing Prius drivers to roll in high occupancy lanes all by their lonesomes: Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Arizona.

But a new Sunday Times of London article indicates the Prius may get a run for its gas sipping money from a rather large BMW sedan, the 520d.

Two test drivers drove a 545-mile trek from London to Geneva in the Toyota and the Bimmer. The gas-powered Prius got 40.1 miles per galloon. The diesel-powered BMV got 41.9. And the test even included more in-city driving than usual to try to give the hybrid a chance to recharge its batteries in stop-and-go traffic.

The idea for the test came after two Times writers heard from readers who weren't getting the claimed mileage from their Priuses.

"If our readers are right and the official figure is wrong it has important implications, not least of which is that people driving frugal diesels are getting a raw deal," the paper said, since hybrids get some tax and roadway access benefits in Europe like here in the States.

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Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

6 comments:

hipQuest said...

We're still kicking ourselves for selling our turbo diesel Beetle, the best mileage I've ever seen. We drove from Matthews to Port Canaveral, FL on one tank. That's about 550 miles. I'll take a diesel over a hybrid any day.

James said...

yes, but... diesel is now over $4.00 per gallon--and going up. If you're looking at two cars, one which consumes regular unleaded ($3.50-ish) and the other burning diesel ($4-ish), and both are getting comparable mileage, you're still going to save money on the gas-powered vehicle. That, and I'm sure the BMW is twice the cost of the Toyota.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what that test proved, I rented a Prius a couple of weeks ago and drove from Charlotte to Atlanta, through Atlanta to the Speedway, and then back to Canton, Georgia (on the OTHER side of Atlanta on a little more than half a tank of gas). All in all I spent about $30.00 on gas, including filling it back up to arrive at the rental company on full.

John said...

Also, Diesel creates more noise and also higher emmissions. You have to look at the whole, not just one part. What about maintenance costs between the two? I have no idea how that plays out... anyone know?

hipQuest said...

John, all I have to go on is the TDI Beetle we owned; noise, not a problem at all and very little diesel odor; emissions-I'm no expert but the modern diesel car does not smoke and such as earlier models. As for maintenance, a diesel engine requires a lot less then gas engines but the "foreign car" factor does drive up the cost of routine maintenance on any system.

I'll take the performance of a modern diesel car over a hybrid any day. Fewer fill-ups (my time is worth something) and highway/interstate use feels much safer (the ability to accelerate should not be underestimated).

I've driven hybrids and if you're doing 80% or more for local driving I would say they are the better bet, if you're a road tripper I think the new diesels win hands down.

Anonymous said...

As far as maintnace costs, I can say in Europe, Prius has the cheapest maintain cost of all Toyotas, including the small Aygo. As far as gas milage I get twice as much as I did with my Corolla 1300 cm3. Used to do 9.8l/100Km. now I do 5l/100Km