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A few thoughts: the bars when in position (versus when they are stowed) will likely have small impact on fuel economy. They will also likely increase the noise level when on the highway. That said, for those of us who live in a place where skiing is a lifestyle choice -- having the rack is invaluable. Of course, you could also use the rack for bikes, kayaks, etc. In the winter we use a Thule cargo box for the skis. With the box on there is an impact on fuel economy. With our old Pontiac Vibe, we could drive from Ottawa to Toronto in the summer on one tank of gas (with some to spare). In the winter, with the winter tires (which impact fuel economy) and with the rack plus the Thule cargo box, we could make it from Ottawa to Toronto on fumes.

The Pacifica rack -- like the Grand Caravan/Town and Country rack -- stows. If you are not using it, just stow it.

Living in Ottawa, we want a rack. If we ever get a Pacifica Hybrid, we will add a rack (assuming it is not a Pinnacle which comes with a rack) and a tow hitch for the Thule Bike Hitch rack.
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