Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are Hybrids Worth it?

When buying a new vehicle and you’re looking to save some money, you could be better off buying the hybrid version of your vehicle. The comparison assumes you would own the vehicle for 5 years and commute about 12,000 miles a year. Comparing the Toyota Prius (44 MPG $22,950) and the Toyota Corolla LE (32 MPG $17,950), you would end up saving cash buying the Toyota Prius over the 5 year period. Gasoline would only have to average 80 cents a gallon and the Prius would still be cheaper. However, buying a hybrid won’t always save you money in the long run. If you shell out an extra $6,200 for the Lexus RX vs. its non-hybrid version the LX-350, gasoline would have to average $10.80 per gallon to break even. The hybrid version Lexus RX gets 26 MPG and the non-hybrid version gets 21MPG. The Ford Escape hybrid and the Toyota Camry hybrid break about even with their non-hybrid counterparts at more realistic gas prices of $3.60 per gallon and lower. Though money isn’t the only factor when you’re considering buying a hybrid, that “green” feeling you get for buying a more fuel efficient car has a certain price tag on it.
It’s always a good idea to compare prices of cars when shopping for a new car. If you want to save money in the long run I would definitely look into buying a hybrid. Just need to be careful because you could end up losing money in the long run if you don’t keep the car for very long or you over pay for a “greener” car. I can relate to this somewhat when I bought my new 2008 Nissan Sentra which averages 30 MPG between my trips to Towson and back. I could have bought the Nissan Versa for about $6,000-$7,000 cheaper though it only gets around 22 MPG and the car has lower safety ratings. It’s always going to be a trade off one way or the other. I plan on keeping my Sentra for 10 years so hopefully it will end up paying for itself because I like to be frugal with my hard earned money.
--David Hinson


  1. I think your article was really informative. I know a lot of times I personally just assume that because a car is hybrid than it is ultimately going to be profitable in the long-run. When people are shopping for hybrids I think they look at two things: it's environmental savings and it's gas efficiency. I think we automatically assume that hybrids are going to outweigh non-hybrids, but it's interesting to know that in some instances this is only the case if you are getting maximum usage out of your car over a long period of time.

  2. I think this article invites consumers into a realm of thought that allows them to objectively juxtapose hybrids and non-hybrids beyond the green badges. Yes they do provide improved fuel millage, but does that justify the price tag? Anyway it is always sensible to make sure your getting your moneys worth, and like Jonathan D. Linkov said in the article,beyond the money factor "Theres also "that green feeling"."

  3. I liked this article because it makes people think about the things that the car companies won't tell you. They want you to believe that the hybrids are always better for the environment so that people buy as many as possible. But this shows that it may not be worth the cost of upgrading because the hybrids are more expensive up front and the undesired outputs may outweigh the benefit.

  4. Michael BernacchiaMarch 18, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    Shows all the hidden costs of hybrids. Good article, makes you see both sides of issue. Shows the tradeoff.