How quickly you realize your gas savings is the ubiquitous debate over buying a hybrid versus gas-powered vehicle – among the average consumer, that is. With the price tag of hybrids higher than gas vehicles, it can take quite awhile. However, when you factor in the high prices we’re paying at the pump, hybrids are quickly becoming the better deal.
The Wall Street Journal posted an article analyzing hybrids against their gas-powered counterparts, and declared hybrids the winner for financial efficiency. For example, the Prius beat out the Camry after only 3 years of ownership, though the Camry has a few selling points the Prius doesn’t have in that it is a larger and somewhat more luxurious car. But still.
Quick-payback hybrids are in the 4-5 year range for seeing the fuel savings pay off the premium spent on the hybrid version versus the gas powered version. They include the Nissan Altima (taking about four years), GM Yukon, and the Mercury Mariner (each taking about five years), according to Edmunds.com.
Conversely, the Toyota Highlander, Chevy Malibu, Saturn Aura and Lexus LS60H have big price tags with relatively low mileage improvements. In fact, Edmunds calculated the Highlander takes about 18 years to see a payback, and – I about choked on this one – the Lexus LS600H would take about a century to break even! And because the gas-powered versions of the
Edmunds uses the sticker prices of the vehicles, a $4.02 average gas price per gallon (which is ridiculously cheap gas for my neck of the woods), and federal tax credits to make the comparison calculations. Not factored in are insurance costs, repair costs, and replacement part costs. Those are some significant features that need to be weighed in when doing your own comparisons, along with how and where you’ll drive your car.
With how rapidly gas prices are rising, improved technology, and wider selection thanks to the growing competition among hybrid makers to make affordable vehicles, hybrids are sure to have nearly instant payback rates in the next few years. But until that point, and probably long after, I’ll stick with my zero emissions bike that costs me $0.00 0/10 per mile.
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