Hybrid cars have come a long way in the last few years. Originally made only be a select few manufacturers (i.e. Toyota’s Prius), the popularity of these vehicles has expanded greatly and now has come to include SUVs and trucks. The key selling point to hybrid vehicles is their energy-efficiency. Being as they are equipped with an electric and gas-powered motor, the engines in these cars are designed to reduce fuel output by engaging the electric components when the vehicle is being driven in stop and go traffic. It is not uncommon for hybrid models to achieve 5-10 higher miles per gallon than their standard gasoline-powered counterparts. In a still recovering economy that is yet again seeing fuel prices near the $4 mark, it is no wonder why hybrid vehicles continue to be very popular among individuals and businesses alike.
Should you buy a Hybrid?
Spending the extra money may not be worth it for some drivers. In all reality, the true cost-savings of driving a hybrid can only be realized when one factors in the amount of miles they will be travelling. In addition, not all hybrid cars are the same. Advancements in technology now allow buyers to choose from more options than they could before. As is to be expected, the price of the vehicle will go up with more features. Here are helpful tips for deciding whether a hybrid vehicle is right for you. For the right driver, these fuel-efficient models can certainly save one hundreds of dollars. However, for the occasional commuter or for people who do not drive that often, a conventional gasoline-powered car or truck will work just as well. Bear in mind that car repair costs will vary as well; hybrid motors are typically more difficult to work on, so this is important to remember.
Is a Hybrid really worth it?
- If you drive less than 15,000 miles a year (most people do), than the cost savings will likely not be in your favor. Many hybrid models run between $6,000-$8000 more than standard models. Even with gas prices at $4, it would take about 15-20 years for you to break even on your initial expense. Given that most vehicles have a lifespan of 300,000 miles (if maintained perfectly), the numbers show that hybrids are not worth the extra money for most buyers.
- Gas prices are in flux, but if they do skyrocket to $6 or $7 a gallon (let’s all hope not), you would be able to recoup your investment sooner. A general rule of thumb is an extra $1 spent on a gallon of gasoline equals roughly $500 a year in fuel savings.
- Don’t forget about maintenance and auto repair expenses; hybrid engines are more complex and typically cost more to fix.
- Where do you drive? The real cost benefit of hybrid cars are realized in city driving. Although highway MPG is higher for these vehicles vs. conventional gas-powered models, stop and go traffic is where the electric motor matters most.
- The government initially offered tax credits on these vehicles, but since hybrid sales have expanded rapidly, this is no longer the case.
- It all comes down to how many miles you drive; if you drive 20-30,000 miles a year, than a hybrid is definitely worth the extra money.