Still enchanted with the Prius? You’ll reconsider after reading Holman Jenkins’ fine column today, which doubles as the letter from Toyota that’ll never be written:
…Let us assure you that the Prius remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. Toyota applauds your willingness to spend $9,500 over the price of any comparable vehicle for the privilege of saving, at current gasoline prices, approximately $580 a year.
And should the price of gasoline rise to $5, after 10 years and/or 130,000 miles of driving, you might even come close to breaking even on your investment in hybrid technology.
We recognize that our customers have an “emotional” relationship with their vehicles. This transcends even the regrettable truth that driving a fuel-efficient car does not yield any substantial benefits for society if it doesn’t save the owner money.
We share your belief that the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered. Further research by our economists suggests this will happen when the price of gasoline rises high enough to make alternative technologies cheaper than gasoline-powered cars.