Maybe it's the methane toxic-shock from all the self-inhaling that's causing the mass hysteria surrounding hybrids — because on top of the "Top 30" list (who comes up with a "Top 30" list anyway — doesn't anyone watch Letterman anymore?) JD Power & Associates also released the results of their "expectations survey" which measured consumer perception on the benefits of alternative-powertrain options like hybrids, flexible fuel vehicles and diesel engines found a very interesting result when they asked consumers considering a hybrid how much extra they expected to pay and how great of a benefit did they expect to receive in higher fuel economy:
"On average, consumers considering a hybrid expect to pay approximately $5,250 more for the powertrain option. Acknowledging the increased vehicle price, these consumers expect an average fuel economy improvement of 28 miles per gallon compared to a similar vehicle powered by a gasoline internal combustion engine..."
Well, that's certainly a high bar to meet — now let's see what consumers found once they bought the vehicle:
"...in reality...the additional price premiums associated with hybrid vehicles, which can run from $3,000 to $10,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid vehicle...hybrid owners report getting an average improvement of just 9 mpg."
But wait — what were the numbers on the other options — diesel and flexible fuel?
Consumers considering a diesel expect to pay approximately $2,800 more for the option and expect an average fuel economy improvement of 21 mpg, while diesel owners report getting a 12 mpg improvement on average. Those considering an E85 vehicle are unsure whether to expect to pay more for the option or see an improvement in fuel economy, but instead hope the use of the ethanol-based fuel blend will help reduce U.S. dependency on foreign fuels.
That makes sense, as it will cost slightly more to buy a diesel variation of a chosen vehicle — and although the average fuel economy expectations are still out of whack, it's nowhere near as whacked-out as the differential seen with hybrids. And as far as E85 is concerned, since fuel economy's like 5% lower, but emissions are like 25% lower — it's at least being marketed in a truthful manner — that is that although it may not increase your fuel economy, it will keep us able to provide for much of our energy needs from sources here in the US of A.
Now, that's not to say that the makers of hybrids are marketing them in a dishonest way, but they sure as hell aren't falling all over themselves to correct that misperception. That's one of the reasons we dug the the Today Show being called out for the comparison of one hybrid owner's old 15 mpg Toyota pickup apple to his new Toyota Prius orange. It's almost as if hybrid owners continue the hysterical love for the 'lectric n' gas engines as a way to justify in their own minds the extra $3,000 to $10,000 they've dropped on a hybrid and that they've made the right decision. Kind of like what happens when you smell your own fart.