# Hybrid Cars vs. Gas Cars

```ERIE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
TITLE III
Algebra Project
Interdisciplinary Course Materials
Course: MT007, MT013
Course Outline Topic: Systems of Equations
Title: Hybrid Cars vs. Gas Cars
The student will learn about Breakeven Points when working with a
system of equations that involve cost equations.
Project Description:
Things to Learn Before Starting the Project: how to compute averages, how to solve systems of
equations by graphing and at least one algebraic method.
Authors: Colleen Quinn (Mathematics)
Semester Created: Spring 2009
Resources: answer sheet, words to use in an Internet search engine, current gasoline prices:
http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/NYmetro.asp , www.honda.com
Contents:
I
Project sheet
II
Student Project Questions
III
Project Extensions
IV
V
Erie Community College
Title III Grant
Name ____________________________________________________
Hybrid Cars vs. Gas Cars
Are hybrid vehicles worth it? With record high gas prices due to the price of oil, I’m sure that
most car owners out there have major concerns over their gas usage. Over the past 10 years, the
cost of gasoline has grown 250%!
First, let’s compare a Honda Civic LX vs. Honda Civic Hybrid.
Car
Cost
Honda
Civic
Sedan
Honda
Civic
Sedan
Hybrid
\$16,305
\$23,650
Difference City
Highway Average
Cost of
in Cost
Miles/Gal Miles/Gal Miles/Gal Gas for 1
year
(12,000
miles)
( -----)
25
36
30.5
\$827
\$23,650 \$16,305 =
40
45
42.5
\$594
\$7,345
The current cost of gasoline can be found at http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/NYmetro.asp .
Make sure you choose the Buffalo/Niagara Falls Metro Area to have an accurate price.
To compute the cost of gas for one year, you would divide 12,000 miles by the Average miles
per gallon a car is estimated at. You would then multiply that number by the average cost of
gasoline. Round to the nearest dollar.
Now, we will create a linear equation for each car using the following model:
Car Total Cost = (Difference in Cost) + (Cost of Gas for 1 year)X
That will give us the following equations:
Honda Civic Sedan Total Cost = 0 + 827X
Honda Civic Sedan Hybrid Total Cost = 7,345 + 593X
Erie Community College
Title III Grant
Problems:
1.)
a.) Graph the linear equations that we found comparing the Honda Civic Sedan and the
Honda Civic Sedan Hybrid.
b.) Find the point of intersection, and describe what that means.
c.) Using the same equations, solve them algebraically, using any method of your choice.
2.)
Now, you will research the cost of one more vehicle and its hybrid counterpart.
a.) What is the cost of gasoline/gallon? __________________________________
b.) Complete the table below:
Car
Cost
Difference City
Highway Average
Cost of
in Cost
Miles/Gal Miles/Gal Miles/Gal Gas for 1
year
(12,000
miles)
Where did you find this information? _____________________________________
c.) Write a linear equation for the total cost of each car.
d.) Graph the linear equations that you wrote comparing the total cost of the regular car vs.
hybrid car.
e.) Find the point of intersection, and describe what that means.
Erie Community College
Title III Grant
f.) Using the same equations, solve them algebraically, using any method of your choice.
3.) Using the information that you found in the above problems, do you think it is financially
wise to purchase a hybrid vehicle? Explain Why.
4.) Taking the environment into consideration, and the information above, would you purchase a
hybrid vehicle? Explain Why.
Project Extensions:
1.) Students could explore more than one other car and then compare the results of 3 or 4
different types of hybrids to determine which would be the most cost effective hybrid to
2.) Students could explore tax breaks given on the purchase of hybrid cars and factor that
into their linear equations. This information can be found at www.irs.gov
3.) Students could explore other means of fueling a car other than just traditional gasoline,
for example ethanol or hydrogen.
Answers and explanations for the class example:
The information found on the vehicles were based on the 2009 models. Both models were the
basic model offered by Honda and both vehicles were Automatic Transmission. Gasoline was
figured at \$2.102, the average rate for WNY on February 17, 2009, when this project was
written.
The point of intersection is (31.39, 25,958.61). Which means it will take 31 years of driving the
hybrid Honda Civic in order to break even in cost with a regular Honda Civic.
There is an excel sheet that accompanies this project to make grading simpler.
Erie Community College
Title III Grant
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