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Hybrids Not Worth The Money

The threat of $ 5/gallon gas prices has everyone reconsidering their cars and their driving habits. It wasn’t too long ago our highways were dominated by SUVs and trucks, some driving on gallons to the mile, instead of miles to the gallon. With the fuel pinch in full swing people are looking for the most economical choice that meets their family’s needs.

So why not get a hybrid right? Not so fast. It is true that in every case the hybrid model of a car gets notably better gas mileage than the standard model. But manufacturers are making cars more efficient by the minute. The new Chevrolet Cruze, for example, gets an amazing 36MPG, only about 10 less MPGs than the Toyota Prius.

Toyota is one of the leading manufacturers of hybrid vehicles with three currently in their lineup. Toyota is currently making its industry leading Prius, the Camry Hybrid, and the Highlander Hybrid. All three of these models, arguably serve a different demographic, and we will examine all three to see if it is really worth the cost.

The Prius is currently getting an EPA estimated 48MPG on the highway. While its comparable Toyota Corolla is currently getting around 35MPG on the highway. That extra 13MPG probably sounds like a lot, but let’s look a little closer. Assuming an average 48 month auto loan purchase agreement the Prius is going to cost you $ 23,810 while the Corolla sits at a modest $ 15,600, a whopping $ 8,210 difference. Driving the standard 12,000 miles per year over the life of a four year loan the average customer will be driving around 48,000 miles. The fuel sipping hybrid engine of the Prius will do this using about 1,000 gallons of fuel while the Corolla will take about 1,371 gallons.

At the time of writing gas prices in the Cincinnati area were around $ 4.18 a gallon. Using that as a base the Prius and Corolla buyers can expect to spend about $ 4,180 and $ 5,732.57 respectively, for a grand total savings of $ 1,552.57 over 4 years. Hardly seems worth the extra eight grand you will pay to own a Prius. To be fair we aren’t going to consider the different options and standard features on these models were are just comparing base model prices, so there may be something more to make up for the difference but that is going to vary depending on the customer.

The Corolla and the Prius aren’t the perfect comparison but what about the Toyota Camry and the Toyota Highlander versions? The Highlander at least has to save you money, right? I mean those things guzzle gas. Using the exact same metrics as with the Prius and Corolla comparison the Camry Hybrid will save you about $ 347.43 and the Highlander Hybrid about $ 409.89 over the four years, while setting you back about $ 6,855 and $ 9,950 respectively.

Clearly, there are some metrics that weren’t considered in this evaluation. Hybrids do significantly less harm to the environment than their standard counterparts, and to some people that may be enough to justify the additional cost. There are also different options and standard features available on different models. By the time you are done adding all the options and packages to your base model the hybrid may not be as great of a difference and may be worth the additional cost to you.

Manufacturers are improving their cars everyday and making them more affordable and more eco-friendly. The Chevrolet Cruze, as mentioned earlier, gets a jaw-dropping 36MPG, Chevy’s midsize SUV, the Equinox gets 32MPG, and the Ford Explorer is sipping 25MPG on the highway.

There are a multitude of different reasons for buying a hybrid versus the standard model, but the most common are the fuel consumption and the environmental concerns. But for somebody strictly looking to save money in the short term and the long term hybrids probably aren’t right for you…yet.

Al works as a digital consultant and marketer for companies like  an online car directory where you can conduct car research and shop for new and used cars . When he is not working, Al enjoys the outdoors hiking and fishing, reads, writes, stays up-to-date on the latest digital enhancements and follows the lthe hot topics and trends in the automotive industry.

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