2016 Toyota Prius Cost of Ownership Challenges EVs
The 2016 Toyota Prius is almost ready for sale. Although Toyota has not yet released official MPG estimates, the fuel economy of the 2016 Prius is easy to calculate. With the outgoing model having a 50 MPG rating, and Toyota promising a 10% increase in miles per gallon, the new vehicle will come in right around 55 MPG. Toyota promises an even more frugal Eco Prius will join the lineup. This means that the Prius will continue to be one of the lowest cost per mile vehicles to operate in the U.S. market.
2016 Toyota Prius – Cost Per Mile Calculator
Determining the cost per mile for fuel is easy. Simply divide the cost of gasoline per gallon by the MPG of the vehicle. AAA lists the daily average of gasoline in the U.S. market, and also by state. Today’s average is $2.29. Using this cost and the projected MPG of 55, the cost per mile for fuel of the upcoming Prius is projected to be about 4.2 cents per mile. In some target markets for EVs where the cost for electricity is high, for example, Massachusetts, the Prius cost per mile is lower than the cost to charge and run an electric vehicle.
EV Cost Per Mile Calculator
To calculate the cost of energy for an EV in cents per mile simply multiply the cost in cents per kWh the supplier charges times the energy used in kWh per mile of the vehicle. The EPA’s website, Fueleconomy.org, lists the kWh/mile of every EV. For the 2015 Nissan Leaf (2016 not yet listed) that number is 0.3 kWh/mile according to EPA. So for example, if the cost of electricity is 14.91 cents per kWh (as it was in Mass. the day this was written), the cost to operate the Leaf is 4.5 cents. Running the same numbers using California's average cost of gas (2.92 per gallon) and electricity (15.34 per kWh), has the Prius at 5.3 cents per mile and the Leaf at 4.6 cents per mile. Both the Leaf and Prius cost about $65 per month for energy for owners who drive 15,000 miles per year (41 miles per day).
2016 Toyota Prius – Low Cost of Ownership
There are other factors to consider concerning total cost of ownership of a vehicle. For example, the maintenance cost. The Prius has two key advantages here. First, like all Toyotas, the first two years are free to the owner and included in the car’s price. Second, the Prius has traditionally not used a timing belt that requires changing. Rather, the Prius has used a timing chain. If that continues, the Prius will remain one of the least expensive green vehicles to maintain in the U.S. market. Like EVs, The Prius also uses regenerative braking, which some say reduces brake-wear. Like all modern vehicles, the Prius also has no power steering fluid to change. Finally, the Prius has used relatively conventional tires that are made in very high volume, keeping replacement costs low.
2016 Prius – Value Retention
The Prius is the top green car in terms of value retention. Its value retention is rated about 40% higher than electric vehicles like the Leaf and Volt by NADA. Although government subsidies to EVs make the Prius more expensive to purchase than some popular EV green cars, the Prius’ much higher resale and trade-in value makes it cost competitive with electric models.