The Economics of Green Part II

The Economics of Green Part II
by Michael Szul on 2008-05-05 07:59:54
tags: ecology, green, hybrids, myers motors

I mentioned in a previous article on the “green” fad about how environmentally friendly products aren't necessarily friendly to your wallet; and how “green” seems to be the new catch-word to milk a few more dollars out of your pocket.

A good example of the economic inefficiency of some of these green products can be seen with Myers Motors. Myers Motors offers a one passenger all-electric vehicle, which is supposed to be a dream come true for commuters… starting at $36,000.

What is amazing is that this vehicle is basically a motorcycle trike with a body, many of which hover around the $24,000 dollar range. Even if the body cost around $4,000 that's still an $8,000 dollar swing to swap out the motorcycle engine (arguably the most expensive part) with the electric parts. It would take you a good 2-3 years (depending on your commute) before the Myers Motors vehicle would begin to save you any money.

Additionally, what about maintanence? Most trikes you can take to any car garage worth its weight. Even if you take it to a motorcycle specialist, I'm sure there's one not too far. But I doubt your local mechanic is going to know how to work on a Myers Motors vehicle, nor are parts and labor going to be cheap. How much are maintanence costs going to run you in those 2-3 years? Enough to make any savings in that fourth year null and void.

The bottom line is that the Myers Motors vehicle is a novelty item; and considering that it can only seat one person, it can only be a secondary vehicle in any family. $36,000 for family unfriendly car that won't begin to save you any real cash for four years? No thank you.

This is the key problem with these “green” and hybrid vehicles. Any savings you get by eliminating gas, is wiped out by the bloated cost of the vehicle. Even the Honda Hybrids and Toyota Prius' of the world are still too expensive for the average driver to benefit from. Not everyone can afford to buy cars brand new. And if they can, their budget might not be in the $21,000 - $22,000 dollar range for the “low-end” versions.

Ultimately, electric vehicles will only be viable options if the American people don't get screwed by the vehicle makers with high costs.