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Consumer Reports Corrects Findings on Prius, Civic Hybrid

March 09, 2006

YONKERS, N.Y. --- Consumer Reports admitted the magazine erred in an April issue article that concluded none of the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. would save owners enough money in five years of use to compensate for the higher prices. The magazine acknowledged a calculation error involving the depreciation for the six hybrid vehicles that the story compared to their conventionally powered counterparts. The error led the publication to overstate how much extra money the hybrids will cost owners during the first five years.CR's revised analysis shows that two of the six hybrids recovered their price premium in the first five years and 75,000 miles of ownership. The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid provide a savings of about $400 and $300, respectively, when compared with their all-gas counterparts -- as long as federal tax credits apply. But extra ownership costs during the first five years and 75,000 miles for the other four hybrids ranged from an estimated $1,900 to $5,500, compared to similar all-gas models.Previously, Consumer Reports had reported that its analysis showed that none of the six hybrids it had tested recovered its price premium in the first five years and 75,000 miles of ownership.The error does not affect the main message of the story, the magazine said, which is that most hybrids do not save their owners money in the first few years, and that the benefits and costs of hybrids vary significantly, depending on the model. Because of the wide range of hybrid vehicles available, it's especially important for consumers to look carefully at all aspects of a vehicle before buying."In maintaining our commitment to the highest levels of accuracy and credibility, Consumer Reports is posting a revised version of the report on its Web site as quickly as possible," said CR's Automotive Editor Rik Paul. "We deeply regret the error."
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