Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Think Electric Cars are Expensive? Try Ford’s F-250 Full-Sized Truck

Think paying $100,000 for an electric car is obscene? How about $100K for an F-250?

As much was we covet electric cars like the Tesla Roadster, most of us balk at the $100,000 sticker price. But with gas prices at or above $4 / gallon, the cost difference isn’t as dramatic as you might imagine.

The NYTimes reported last week that if you account for total ownership of a full-sized truck, including insurance, interest, repairs, taxes, and gasoline, a big vehicle like Ford’s F-250 will now set you back $100,000 in the first five years of ownership. Five years is the average amount of time an owner keeps one of these trucks.

Obviously, the average person and automakers alike are noticing how expensive large vehicles have become (GM just announced it would stop making trucks and SUVs at four of its North American plants). Until May, full-sized trucks accounted for 13% of the US vehicle market. They’ve now now plummeted to 9%. Ford’s F-series trucks have been the best selling vehicle annually since 1976, but for the first time in years the top selling vehicle last month was a car: the Honda Civic sedan.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great renewable energy replacement for heavy duty trucks yet, besides incorporating hybrid technology (like GM has done) which can boost fuel economy by 20%, or modifying the fuel system to accept high ethanol blends (50% of GM’s fleet will be Flex-Fuel by 2012).

One thing has been made abundantly clear: the threshold for buying a full-size truck has gone up a few notches. I was shocked earlier this month when my mechanic said he would be downsizing to a Toyota Tacoma for his daily commute. Will he keep the full-sized truck? Of course, he says, because well, he still has a boat and horse trailer to haul around.

Original here

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