+ they are about 10 thousand more and the increase gas mileage in real life is not that impressive. hubby was looking at them because of the amount of driving he does. we figured out that he'd be ready for a new car before he'd realize savings from lower fuel cost vs higher car cost.
At what fuel price?
I figured out that I could buy a prius solely with fuel savings over my current vehicle when gas prices are $5 a gallon. However, I can never recoup the purchase price if gas were to drop to $1 a gallon and stay there. Of course, I commute farther than most people, and my comparisson vehicle is a Jeep Grand Cherokee that gets around 24 mpg so my break even point may be lower than other people's. So at what guel price did you figure on since fuel savings varies greatly with fuel price? The break even fuel price a good figure to know because if and when fuel prices reach at least that price and don't show signs of dropping it can save you some money if you know when to capitalize on that.
Ecologically speaking, if you already own a working vehicle it does not make any sense to replace it with a new vehicle, regardless of the difference in fuel economy. Even if your current vehicle only gets 10 miles to the gallon, trading it for a new prius doesn't make sense until either it wears out, or you're ready to upgrade... and even then, buying a used vehicle is more ecologically sensible than buying a new vehicle. This is strictly ecologically speaking here, but the only time a person should choose to buy a new prius or other high fuel economy vehicle is if their other choice would be another new vehicle with lower fuel economy. That being said, if it makes sense financially, do it anyway.