The Prius Mania
I was amazed and pleased to see how many Californians drive the Prius (the wonderful hybrid gas/electric car by Toyota). Two or three years ago, there were a few of them on the roads. Now you can easily see four in an hour. The Czech Republic has a ways to go in this department. I think I have only seen the Prius – or any hybrid for that matter – on a total of three occasions in Prague since 2004.
Well. What a surprise! Prius costs 22 grand in US of A, that is some 490 000 CZK. In Czech Republic, it will set you back 870 000 CZK (or 731 000 exc. vat to compare apples to apples) Plus in US you may get federal tax breaks for hybrid car, while in CZ, you’ll get nada, nichts, nicevo, nothing!
Still surprised people here will not go for Prius? Especially with average income being fraction of US!!! Anyway average european non-hybrid card (Compact VW, Renault, Peugeot etc – one you can actually buy here for 490 000 CZK) has about the same or at most 20% higher fuel consumption as Prius!!!!
So to hell with Prius and other hybrids, they are overpriced here – even more than other cars.
Oooh, seems that I made someone angry!
Can you point out the part where I wrote that I was surprised Czechs don’t buy the Prius? I’m not surprised in the least. Like you said, the Prius is very expensive here and I understand that those Czechs who have the money will rather show it off on the latest model of Mercedes, which is much more recognizable as a status symbol. That’s just the Czech nature – my car is better than your car.
Anyway, I wasn’t comparing car prices and I wasn’t trying to figure out why I don’t see hybrids on Czech roads. I simply made an observation. The difference in the popularity of the Prius in the S.F. Bay Area compared to just two years ago was striking and I was pleased (and yes, surprised) to see that some Americans obviously think about how much crap their cars leave behind. That’s of course aside from the fact that many must be switching to the hybrid simply to save on gas. The prices of gas in California have been growing steadily in the last three or so years and are now at a “whopping” 80 cents (17 CZK) per litre! Come to think of it, why wouldn’t Czechs want to save on gas by switching to the hybrid as well?
Cars and gas cost less in the U.S. in general, that’s a known fact. Americans depend on cars. They wouldn’t get anywhere without them. The oil companies sure have succeeded in helping create the American car culture and they’ve been making big bucks on it for decades now. More power to them, right?
This new mania is nothing but the repeat of the 1972 oil crisis rip off, where a VW Bug price jumped from $1.200.00 to $9,000.00 due to the MPG. Hence, to amortize the price of a hybird (they still use mainly 85% gasoline for locomotion). Hence to amortize the “extra cost” you’ll have to drive it 40 to 45K miles just to “break even” with a conventional car (that is if you paid cash for the vehicle — if you finance you’ll have to go 70 to 100K miles( depending on how they stiff you with the interest rate) to reach the “break even” point. That is at least 4 to 6 years down the road and by then the vehicle is ready for the junk yard. The Czech consumer is smarter than the American (Californians). They do not fall for the “marketing” ploy/scam as easily, that is why you do not see too many hybrds in CR…
Ok, buying the Prius may not save you money, at least not at the prices it currently goes for. As with anything new on the market however, there’s a good chance that as more and more hybrids are purchased, the cost of production will go down and the price of the cars will drop as well.
I checked on the cost of owning the Prius and your post confirms what I hear. It seems that your overall cost of driving a hybrid in the U.S. eventually comes close to the cost of driving a conventional car thanks to the better MPG rate and the subsidies you get from the U.S. government. So in the end, what you’re doing by buying a hybrid is you’re POLLUTING LESS. I might be naive, but I hope that the reason why so many Californians buy the Prius is not because they’re stupid unlike us, “smart” Czech consumers, but because they care about the air. In my opinion, Lukas was right in saying that Czechs don’t buy the Prius because the car itself is very expensive here and the Czech government doesn’t provide any financial incentives related to driving a “cleaner” car. Plus of course, the issue of pollution caused by fuel emmissions isn’t as pressing in the Czech Republic as it is in the U.S., so hybrid cars are not even on people’s minds here. I don’t know what the traffic situation is like where you live, but if you’ve ever experienced commute traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll have to agree that it’s pure madness. Thank God for those hybrids that let out ZERO emmisions at the crawling speeds of traffic that fills four freeway lanes for dozens of miles twice a day, Monday to Friday, all year long.
I don’t own a car at the moment and if I buy one in the future, I would like to get a hybrid, even if it costs me more. For me, the primary reason wouldn’t be to save money but to cause less pollution. And no, I’m not one of those save-the-earth activists, I don’t send money to Green Peace and I don’t vote for the Green Party. I’m just irritated by the fact that so many people don’t give a damn about how much damage their actions, laziness and wastefulness cause to the environment.
The point indeed, is the govenment’s pretending to care about the enviornment– more cash for the corporate!Actualy the damage to the enviorment -not that cars do no contribue only about 1/3–is done by:Over 3200 Jet airliners in the US skys daily withpoout cathalitic converters– collectively there aricraft produce more than 1 million cars (1/3)do, and then the hidden polluter, COWS in the US that produce more methane that deplete the ozone (passing bodily gases= the other third). As you I also gave up the car in 1997 and have been getting around on a “elelctified” tricycle that gives me 20 mile range @20MPH. I did no do this to save the world, but rather got tired of supporting the auto, oil and insurance industry(es). Since a car in the US costs an average of $5,000.00 annualy (depreciation, insurance & gas)and my Social Security does not keep up withese “luxury” expences.. That is why I was considering moving to CZ for my retirement– the woundefull public tranposrtation system — but then discovered, that the cost of living is much higher in CZ than the US ( excluding CA & NYC)!
That’s cool that you don’t have a car. It’s not easy to get around without one in the U.S. I feel the same as you about driving. I don’t think I’m saving the world by not owning a car (I really don’t need one in Prague) but I too am tired of supporting the oil industry. In addition, I believe that if everyone incorporated at least one habit into their lives that has a positive effect on the environment (taking public transport, recycling waste, conserving water, reusing shopping bags), it would make a difference. Of course there’s still a huge amount of pollution caused by aircraft, factories, etc., but those things are harder to influence on a personal level.
Here’s a thought: What if man could capture the methane produced by cows and use it to power cars and planes? 😉 San Francisco is already planning to do something along those lines with dog poop.
Methane conversion technology has been here for decades –many/most large cattle, pig & chicken operations in the US have been using methane to supplement their power requirements– The problem with methane is the “transport”, for it is not too suitable for the existing pipe line system, Thus methane is only usable “locally!”
The interesting point is that the State of Montana has enough surface coal to eliminate the US oil dependency for more than 200 years — The state has been trying for over 10 years to secure federal money to set up a Coal Ligufication Operation– However, Washington is “against” the project, staing: “We do not want to use technology that was invented and created by the “Evil Nazi Empire!”– for your information, Hitler’s war machine was run on mostly on “liguified coal diesel”, even used in aviation –Matter of fact, in 1976, in response to the Arab oil embargo, Exxon completed construction of a “coal liquification plant” in Baytown, TX, thay ran a test batch, and then paddlocked the facility (federal money paid for the project)…It’s all politics and $$$$$. Perhaps now people undertand why Gore lost the election. The Bush Gurus have an ace in the hole:”Hydrogen”, but agian, not by “cracking” hydrogen from H20, but rather “refining” it from crude oil!The oil cartel’s greed is everywhere….Global warming is now a reality, and very close to the point of no return within 1 or 2 decades. I just tuned 64, so I only have 10 years +/-, but the younger generation worldwide needs to get involved, for Mother Earth will shake humanity off the planet like a wet dog does water!Energy conservation only “prolongs” the inevitable(we need renuable sources other then oil), but as long money is here to be made from waste and pollution, this will go on. Ain’t greed wounderfull. I just wonder, where to and how will they take all their huge fortunes. Spacestaions????