When Demand Outstrips Supply

Plug-in hybrid electric car math doesn’t add up.

I’m in the market for new wheels. I just can’t quite get used to all the attention the Prius V attracts from young women. And it’s hard to control when I punch it.

Thinking Toyota RAV4 Prime maybe. I found one in Oregon, but it’s marked up $5k over msrp. Someone will pay that, but should I?

Assume the price of gas moderates a bit, to $4/gallon. Then the mark up equates to 1,250 gallons. When using gas, the RAV4Prime gets 38 mpg. So 1,250 x 38 = 47,500 miles.

The RAV4 hybrid gets 40mpg. So if I opted for a less expensive, non-marked up RAV4 hybrid, I could drive 50,000 miles before reaching the Prime purchase price.

I also found a Prime in Sacramento that’s marked up $15,000.

Heaven help the quantitatively challenged.

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