After owning the Prius for a good 10 months, I figured I sit back and do a monthly cost of ownership analysis comparing the operating costs between the Prius and the RSX based on my own personal experience. The result is pretty clear that a brand new 2012 Toyota Prius not only costs less in fuel expenditure but total monthly cost of ownership is significantly less than the then 7 year old 2005 Acura RSX.
Gas Expenditure Comparison
In one year, I spent approximately $2,800 in gassing up the Acura RSX. By a 10-month comparison, the Prius only used up $1,030 – and that’s factoring over 4,500 miles worth of road trips. The RSX was mainly driven as a daily commuter and road trips were a 2-times-a-year luxury.
Doing the math, that’s a 63% drop in fuel expenditure, and we’re only tracking 10-months worth of data. Since my commute has shortened considerably since the beginning of the year, the monthly fuel expenditure will further decrease. For example, I went through all of January 2013 without gassing up. It’s now mid February and I still have about 80% gas left (for Prius owners, that’s 7 fuel bars left, counting the 2 gallons of “reserve”).
I like to point out that despite the amount of road trips I’ve taken with the Prius in addition to commute before relocation (road trips averaging 250+ miles one way, about once a week at times), the highest monthly gas expenditure of the Prius never exceeded the lowest monthly gas expenditure of the RSX that was driven solely for commuting.
Insurance Premium Expenditure
Not only does the Prius clearly beat the RSX in fuel expenditure, it also saves me over 66% in insurance premium. The RSX was insured under a much less covered policy in comparison to the Prius and still cost $150 a month to insure. When I first acquired the RSX, the monthly cost to insure it was close to $250, then it gradually decreased to $190. After some penny pinching coverage reduction and shopping for lower cost insurers, I got the premium down to $150 (without settling for minimum liability-only coverage). The Prius by comparison, under a much, much better coverage policy, costs $53 a month. In fact, to put this into perspective, insuring both my 2012 Prius Four and the lady’s 2012 Prius C Four under the same policy costs $47.00 less per month than the ill-covered 7-year old RSX!
Total Cost of Ownership
Since both cars are paid off in the date range of the tracking period, I’m counting only insurance premium and gas expenditures. Average total cost of owning the RSX was about $400 and average total cost of owning the Prius is $132. The Prius was purchased as a brand new car with upgraded safety, technology, entertainment and comfort features that the 7-year old RSX lacked and still costs 67% less than the RSX to own. In just a year, the Prius’ cost-savings already more than made up the OTD price difference between the two cars. The only tradeoff is the lack of performance which the RSX has.