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Hybrid cars don’t save you money. Do the math!

Ramit Sethi

A photo by Dietmar Becker. unsplash.com/photos/8Zt0xOOK4nI

This is a guest post by Ian Ybarra.

Don’t lie to me, you hybrid lover.

If you buy a hybrid car, say you’re doing it for the environment.
Say you’re doing it to be cool like some tree-hugging celebrities you
read about in US Weekly. Hell, say it because
you can get it in a cool color (I actually heard this “reason”
recently). But don’t say you’re doing it for your pocketbook.
Don’t lie to me.
More important, don’t lie to yourself.

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
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Here, I’ll help you tell the truth. (Yes, there are numbers involved. That’s why
Ramit asked me to fill in for him on this one. 😉

I know the Toyota Prius is THE hybrid car, but for the sake of making a more direct comparison of regular and hybrid cars, I’ll use the Honda Civic Sedan and the
Honda Civic Hybrid Sedan.

Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
32/37 mpg (city/hwy) 48/47 mpg

Split the difference on those mileage figures, and we’ll use
the following numbers for our calculations…

Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
34.5 mpg 47.5 mpg

“They” say you drive 15,000 miles every year. To drive
that far, you’d have to buy

Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
434.8 gallons of gas(15,000miles / 34.5mpg) 315.8 gallons of gas 15,000miles / 47.5mpg)

What does that cost you?

Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
$869.57 (434.8gal x $2/gal) $631.58 (315.8gal x $2/gal)

Hybrid owners save $237.99 on gas every year
($869.57 – $631.58)

Wow!
Saving $237.99 per year is awesome, I guess. That is, unless you think
about how much more you paid for the hybrid car to save money on gas.

What do these cars cost?

Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
$17,960 (highest trim level, automatic transmission) $20,900 (continuously variable transmission)

The Civic Hybrid Sedan costs an additional $2,940
($20,900 – $17,960)

So how many years of “saving on gas” does it take to
actually start “saving money.”

$2,940 (how much more you paid for a hybrid car)
—(divided by)—
$237.99/year (how much you save on gas each year)

= 12.35346 years

12.35346 years. That’s a long time. Just reading that
number takes a long time.

Your situation can get a little better — if you manage to get the $2,000 federal Clean-Fuel Vehicle Deduction, your break-even point goes down to just under 4 years. (Then again, all these numbers are based on you buying a top-of-the-line Civic sedan or hybrid sedan. If you didn’t need such a nice car, you wouldn’t have to spend near this much money.)

Now go buy a hybrid car at your own risk. Just
don’t
lie about why you’re doing it.

From Ramit: I rarely recommend other sites on here, but Ian’s blog is
a rare gem. If you’re a college student or recent college grad and
you’ve ever wondered what to do with your life, he’s the guy to read.
Ian graduated from MIT in 2004 and has managed to find his dream
job–and, even more impressively, to write about it in a meaningful way.
Check out his blog at
http://www.ianybarra.com/blog

Do you know your actual earning potential?

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64 Comments

 
  1. hy

    If you buy a MINI Cooper, the base model is $17,000 and you get much better gas mileage than that gasoline Civic. Sure, it’s a smaller car, but if you want to save the environment AND save money, go with the Cooper!

    • Jeff

      A Mini Cooper cost a lot more to drive. If someone bought a Camry Hybrid vs a regular Camry is about 15mpg higher or 50% in real world driving. The civic doesn’t average 34mpg but even if it did it doesn’t do as good as good as the Honda Accord Hybrid that gets 48-51mpg. Considering Russia, OPEC, Iran, and many countries in the Middle East are not our friends giving them money for their oil doesn’t make since.

    • MJW

      I agree. My hatred for the Oil Companies is greater than my love for sports cars. Therefore I drive the Accord Hybrid.

  2. Scott Fisher

    Better yet….NEVER buy a NEW car, Pay cash for a 2k-5k car and save 15K +/-
    (15k/$237.99=63.027858YEARS)

  3. Annon

    Also you should factor in the costs of replaing those pricey batteries in a few years after they wear out.

    • billa

      true

  4. dgsinclair

    However, if like many of us commuters, you buy a hybrid to save gas, you drive more like 30K miles per year. If you put that in your equation, and bump gas to a reasonable average of $2.30 a year (cheaper than gas is now), the car pays for itself in 5.2 years. If maintenance is equal on the cars (does anyone have any facts on maint costs for a hyrbrid?), then that’s not such a bad deal.

    Again, with the battery replacement thing, this might severely diminish the resale value of hybrid cars, so you’d have to consider that also – a used 8 year old Honda still commands about $5K bluebook, but I wonder if an 8 year old hybrid with impending $2K battery changes would have the same value.

    • MJW

      Just traded in 2012 Camry Hybrid with 90K miles for 2017 Accord Hybrid. Only maintenance was oil and filter change at 10K intervals, tire rotation every 5K. Air and cabin filters were done by myself, very easy, less than 5 minutes to do both. Only major purchase was new tires @ 67K miles. Brakes had 80% left at trade in. Still had original battery. Fuel average per year was between 40 and 41 mpg. The car ran flawless.
      Accord Hybrid is averaging 48 mpg. I am not going back to gasoline only vehicles. My next vehicle will probably be all electric, maybe a Tesla. The less money I give to the Oil Companies the better I feel!

    • Laval

      Hahaha. You replied to an almost 11 years old thread!

  5. ffreak

    You are missing something very important… You have missed the rest of the world 😉 In US you have got very cheap gas (many thanks to Bush for war in Iraq..). For example in my country – Poland (central EU) – 1gal costs about $5,90 (and it goes up). Not sure about east EU, but it will be more like a $5,90 than $2 – this I am sure. Now do the math again 🙂

    • Mike

      It will be much the same, I’ve already done the maths (as we call it in Europe) and it will take years to recoup the extra cost.

    • Mike

      Also cars are more expensive in countries where gas is more expensive. The difference in price between a yaris and yaris hybrid where I live is €5000. Still makes no sense.

      If you want to save the environment buy an older fuel efficient car and drive it as little as possible do the same if you want to save money. Hybrid cars do more damage to the environment because the batteries use up hugh resources in their manufacture. And the elite keep telling us to repair reuse instead of discard.

  6. wilson ng

    Start by not believing in benchmarks.

    There are two figures here: the first is the miles per gallon as published, the second are miles per gallon of the car as per real tests for city driving as published in BusinessWeek Nov. 14, 2005 reports.

    Lexus RX 400H– 31 , 16 mpg
    Toyota Highlander — 33 , 16 mpg
    Ford Escape — 36, 22 mpg
    Honda Civic — 49 , 36 mpg
    Honda Accord — 29 , 18 mpg

    So yes, buy a hybrid, but yes, for a different reason….

  7. marcus

    Iam also living in a country with Prices of 1 Gallon +/- 6$. But beside this, it’s clearly not only a matter of saving money. Someone has to experiment with new technologies and Iam happy there are people who buy, for whatever reasons, hybrid cars. These people help to push new technologies and make it cheaper.

    And with new energy saving technologies one can make a good business in the future. All the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India and China) Countries grow heavy and need heaps of energy. So energy prices will go up further and alternative energy sources become very valuable. Do the math for the future, now!

  8. Suhit Anantula

    First, you need to factor in different gas prices in different parts of the world.

    Second, there is nowhere any discussion on reduction in emissions. This is one of the main benefits of a hybrid car apart from more mileage.

    And this is what people will be contributing to the environment.

    Numbers are important and they do provide a semblance of rationality. However, it could be misleading.

    Say, you produce a product in US and compare that with a product in China.

    Even though it may cost more in the US, it is environmentally more friendly for a variety of reasons.

    1) better laws than china
    2) efficient manufacturing than china, hence less pollution and resources
    3) resource savings in terms of not shipping it half way round the world

    So if you speak of only environmental terms than it is more than numbers at cost. You have to look at the actual resource usage.

    Cheers,
    Suhit

    • Sabrina

      You certainly are using good examples. How come US manufacture is deemed to have better quality in comparison to China? Remember where did those small parts being manufactured? Do some research before you state a myth like a truth.

      Also, for shipping a product into different country, you need more then just shipping dumbass, you have to pay taxes and process legal documents. Overall, thanks for participating the discussion but not helpful.

  9. greg

    Ramit, fuel prices may change a lot too. Think about it, maybe in 8 years the fuel price is $4 a gallon or more. This is quite likely on current trends, and it could be even more if the US dollar slips a bit more.

  10. Nick

    This is yet another knock against the hybrid, but none of this analysis takes into account the future value of the extra $2,940 you spend on the hybrid. If you put that money in the bank and drew interest from it in a 1 yr ING CD at 4.75% apr, you generate $132.3 a year, thereby halving the original $237.99 gas savings and doubling the accounting break even point.

  11. JT

    I think you’re also missing another opportunity here…I’m considering trading my Honda CR-V (with mileage of 22 mpg average) for a Hybrid Civic. My CR-V is only a model year 2003, and it didn’t lose a lot in depreciation. Consequently, I’ll be saving far more than just the significant difference in mileage, but as gas prices creep up this summer +$3/gallon in U.S., then I would actually be making a decent decision on the purchase. NOTE: the battery life is certainly an issue, but if I buy extended warranty, I’m covered…

  12. Roger

    Also, this article doesn’t apply to those who currently drive a gas guzzling SUV like a Ford Explorer and want to downgrade to a Toyota Prius which actually gets even better gas mileage than a crappy Civic Hybrid. While it may be true that the upside for a current civic driver might not necessary jump on the bandwagon to switch to a hybrid, it might make a world of a difference and huge gas/money savings for someone currently driving a gas guzzling car.

  13. Ryan

    What about tax breaks in the US for having a Hybrid car?

  14. Charlotte

    This is a method of figuring out what the advantages or disadvantages of increased MPG vs. increased car price are for yourselves, guys. Don’t complain about wrong prices in the article (written in 2005 by someone from the US), or such. Take the formulas, and figure it out for yourselves! A friend pointed me to this webpage to help me decide between two non-hybrid cars, based on prices and MPG. It gave me a very helpful method for making those estimates for myself.

  15. Michael

    Living in the UK, we have ungodly petrol prices (the latest price is around £0.98/litre, meaning about £4.4 per gallon; in dollars that is approxiatley $8.20…for a single gallon!). When hybrod cars were released the public jumped at the chance of buying cars that will give them increased MPG over their petrol quivalent. Very shortly after these costly mistakes motoring press reported that the cars would take 14 YEARS to recoup the extra money spent on them (the MSRP of a 2005 Toyota Prius is around £22,000or $40,000 US). After that there was an increase in the purchasing of Diesel vehicles; simply because they are becoming cheaper to buy next to the Priuses and Civic IMAs, while providing vastly suprior economy, good refinement, reasonably low emmissions and in some cars like the BMW 535d, incredible performance.

  16. newjesustimes

    let’s say that you are saving 120 gallons per year, now with the price we’re paying at 3.30, that’s $396 per year, which cuts the years to break even to 2940/396 = 7.42 years.
    And that number will be down to under 5 years once gas hits $5 a gallon in the states.

  17. Bethany

    I want a hybrid because I hate that we’re so dependent on oil. Good enough reason? lol

  18. Tom

    Believe me, I DID this math before buying my Civic Hybrid, and I’ve done it again when buying the Camry Hybrid over the regular Camry. Yes, my main reason is saving gas to help break our dependence and help the environment.

    That said, if you count the $2600 tax CREDIT (that’s a full $2600 in pocket come tax time!), the Camry Hybrid is $1000 cheaper than the top of the line model right out the door (don’t forget, the hybrids are loaded with the same stuff as the top of the lines + the hybrid technology, so you’re not getting less). At current gas prices (~$3/gal), it’s cheaper than the midrange model by the time you hit 90k miles. Nudge gas prices up, and the gap closes much faster.

    Someone asked about maintenance: Oil changes, for example are needed only every 10,000 miles; new filter needed only every 20,000. Do THAT math…

    In all fairness, the possible $ savings should NOT be the reason you go out and buy a hybrid…do it for your kids & grandkids (or your friend’s). Leave something around for them!

  19. Van

    In addition to the benefits to the environment and the financial savings in question, another major motivation for myself is the ability to legally drive solo in the carpool lane. Those interested had better act fast before all the permits are snapped up.

  20. kmem

    We actually got a total of $6,000 for our tax break (state and federal) and even bought it out of state where it wasn’t as popular for 3k less than here… and I’m just plain thrilled with my Prius:)

  21. tree hugger

    I’m buying a hybrid cuz I want to…how about that. Oh and do your research…no one have turn in their car for a battery replacement yet and it could last to more than 10 years. And gas prices are over $3 now. Its going to hit 4 by next winter.

  22. Robin

    Huh?? I live in San Francisco, kingdom of Prius drivers. it’s not about the money! Nobody I know is buying a Prius to save money. They are buying them, and willing to spend more money, in order to cut the portion of cash they give to the oil companies, and more importantly, to cut the fuel emissions. These Priuses are about the best in cutting polution to zero. It’s like a citizenship test of good deeds. You drive a 40mog car vs a 15 mog suv, because it’s the right thing to do. Not everything in life is about the money. If it was, we’d have a Wal Mart in San Francisco. We don’t. Thank God.

  23. Chris

    The example you gave has a couple of flaws before you can start saying hybrids are poinless. First, using $2/gal for gas is now only a dream. In Washington, DC I haven’t paid less than $2.75 for over a year now. As gas prices increase the cost savings of a hybrid also increase.

    Second, by averaging the city/hwy mileage you assume the driver is doing 50% city driving and 50% highway driving. The more you drive in the city the greater the cost savings of a hybrid.

    Third, if anyone ever paid full price for ahybrid shame on them. I bought a brand new Civic Hybrid in 2005 for $19,000.

    Lastly, hybrids are less costly to maintain and have a higher resale value (I can say that is true for my Civic Hybrid at least). Over the past 2 years I’ve spend $300 on maintence and the car is worth $16,900 according to KBB in good condition with 25,000 miles

  24. Voytek

    I think we all forgot about batteries in hybrid cars. They will have to be replaced after 6-7 years at the cost off. I don’t know. I heard it is around 6000$. This is the cost for consumer. What is the cost for environment?

  25. Mohit Sood

    Toyota Yaris is the way to go man. It costs you around $12K and gives 34/40 mpg. How much does Hybrid give you – 60/51 mpg (people say its actually less) for another $12K ! What would I buy, if I think like an Indian – Yaris :-D.

  26. DoctorW

    How about buying a hybrid to save fossil fuels and not pollute the environment and not focusing on the selfish reasons like what it costs to drive it? (good point about batteryies imho Voytek).

  27. Lisa

    So does anyone know if it has been documented that a honda civic hybrid battery will definitely need replaced within 7- 8 years?? I would like to buy a used hybrid to save gas mileage yes, but mainly for the environment. However, I am only a school teacher and do not know if I could afford battery replacement if it is as expensive as I am hearing. I was told a minimum of 2,000 to as high as 6,000 and the price to have it installed also in the thousands. Does anyone know if this is true and the real costs of this??

  28. jond

    I just purhcased 2 hydrids, 1 new, one used at a bargain. Used 2003 Honda Insight battery warranty has been extended by Honda to 10 years 150,000 miles. Mine has 90000+ and battery has not been replaced as per maintenance records. Insights are no longer in production, but my average MPG so far is 49 MPG, it replaces 20 MPG 97 Nissan PU that I still own that was bought new.
    The other is an ’08 Camry Hydrid it warranty is:
    Hybrid-Related Component Coverage: Hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.
    Basic warranty is 36 months/60,000 miles for the rest.

    So the battery replacement cost should on be a deductable issue.
    I would assume that the new Honda battery warranties would follow pretty close to the Toyota one.

  29. LUBO

    love the short-sighted capitalistic thinking. let’s see how much money you can save driving a ICE (internal combustion engine), when 1.5 billion chinese and 1.1 billion Indians start driving $2000 Tata’s and Cherry’s burning fossil fuel. But wait, Exxon and Ford just bought Ballard. No problem, capitalism to the rescue. But not before we are good and ready, let’s say, barrel of oil at $200. By then you’ll be begging for an alternative. But, just don’t run off and buy a condo in Florida. What’s not underwater will probably be blown to bits by hurricanes. Move to Canada, if you can get past the soldiers at the border, on both sides !!! Trick Question: When does $5 of energy cost $5.
    Never ! For explanation, please see: Love Canal, Bhopal, Chernobyl, Iran-Iraq, your guess is as good as mine, stay tuned for more !!! We’ll see what President McCain has to say. (FEB 2008)

  30. Eric Rice

    Since Ramit just relinked to this post, I thought it would be interesting to re-run the analysis now that gas is 3.50 / gallon. You’re now saving over $500/ year with the hybrid, so (assuming the $2000 tax break is still in effect) makes the break even point more like 2 years. Even without the tax break you’d break even in 6 years.

  31. Samara

    I didn’t realize this post was from 2005 haha. I kept reading it thinking… $2 for gas, where do these people live. I think gas is likely to go up to $4.50 w/in 6 months in the bay area (except that they might go down temporarily during the elections so people don’t think they are being squeezed and vote grumpy). Gas goes up about a dollar a year.

    I’m not sure how much more expensive Hybrids are now though.

  32. Aaron Schiff

    Everyone always makes the same mistake when calculating Hybrid cars and thats assuming Gas will be the same price. Even in 2005 you mustve suspected the gas was going to go up (albeit at least a little bit).

    Regardless, now that gas is going to continue to rise, Hybrids are the way to go. So those people who bought them in the long run will definitely save money.

    Also what interests me, is that Ramit chose to use a Civic as opposed toa civic. A Civic hybrid does not match at all. The street driving of a Prius is pretty fantastic. 100% for the pocketbook. I like this website but this article should be taken off the website or updated at the very least

  33. Parveen

    Hi Ramit,

    Any changes in calculations after increase in Oil prices.
    Also, for all these 12 years … do you really think Oil prices will remain the same and not increase further?

  34. Weefler

    Interesting to find these calculations at $2 a gallon in 2005 but now that it’s $4 a gallon and rising…

    Get a Hybrid, the math makes sense.

  35. Grebby

    2008 numbers:

    Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
    25/36 mpg (city/hwy) 40/45 mpg (the EPA changed how they calculate mileage)

    Split the difference on those mileage figures, and we’ll use
    the following numbers for our calculations…
    Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
    30.5 mpg 42.5 mpg

    “They” say you drive 15,000 miles every year. To drive
    that far, you’d have to buy
    Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
    491.8 gallons of gas(15,000miles / 30.5mpg) 352.9 gallons of gas 15,000miles / 42.5mpg)

    What does that cost you?
    Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
    $1,844.25 (491.8gal x $3.75/gal) $1323.38 (352.9gal x $3.75/gal)

    Hybrid owners save $520.87 on gas every year
    ($1,844.25 – $1323.38)

    What do these cars cost?
    Civic Sedan Civic Hybrid Sedan
    $20,710 (highest trim level, automatic transmission) $22,600 (CVT)

    The Civic Hybrid Sedan costs an additional $1,890
    ($22,600 – $20,710)

    So how many years of “saving on gas” does it take to
    actually start “saving money.”

    $1,890 (how much more you paid for a hybrid car)
    —(divided by)—
    $520.87/year (how much you save on gas each year)

    = 3.62854 years

    So 3 years, 7.5 months. Before a 4-year loan is up, you’ve saved money. And you’ve kept 5 TONS of CO2 out of the atmosphere. (504 gallons saved x 19.4 lbs/gallon), and “invested” in technological innovation instead of oil.

  36. Grebby

    I forgot to add: the tax credit only applies for the first few years of a hybrid model, so the Civic would no longer qualify.

  37. Kris

    You are just showing new hybrids. I recently purchased a used 2001 Honda Insight for 11,000. I had been commuting 150 miles a day in my paid off 2000 Nissan Xterra. Since you are so fond of doing the math. Lets do it. The Nissan gets 16 mpg so my 3000 mile per month commute at $4.45 per gallon (I live in SoCal) is $834 per month in gas. With no car payment. I bought my Insight for $11K. My monthly payment is $190 a month. I now get 58 miles per gallon. Which has translated to $230 per month in gas. So my total monthly outlay now, with the Insight payment and the gas for it, is $420. This is a total savings of $414 a month, $4,966 a year and $24,830 over the length of the five year loan. More than enough to keep the vehicle dealer maintained, replace the “pricey” battery if needed and perhaps buy a second Insight. My advice to you is to DO YOUR RESEARCH! This does not even include the savings in time that comes from the HOV stickers which are now available only on used hybrids. In Southern California traffic this adds up quickly and is possibly even more substantial. So….Where is the downside?!?!?!

  38. Lynne Slattery

    Don’t know where you live, but gas prices haven’t been anywhere near $2/gallon for years. Here in LA right now, they’re at $4/gallon, and with the $3K tax credit we got on our Prius back in June of 2006, plus our carpool sticker (which also allows us to park for free at meters in LA and Santa Monica), we’re doing well, and by your calculation, we’ve basically broken even in this second year of ownership.

    Besides all the great enviro benefits.

  39. David Shafer

    Hey, I have two hybrids; 2003 Honda Civic and 2005 Honda Accord bought new. Got tax credits for both. My gas mileage is right on the listed amount. Mid 40’s for the Civic with my driving mix and High 20’s for the Accord with a trend toward more city driving. Just drove the Accord from Florida to New Hampshire (mostly highway) with the air on the whole time and averaged 37 MPG! Not bad for a 6 cylinder 255 horse car. Got the batteries replaced in the Civic for free under warranty (batteries take a beating in the Florida heat) with 73,000 miles on it. Civic has long ago gone positive as I only paid $17,000 for it. Accord is reaching that point soon.

    Gotta laugh at any analysis that forgot the possibility of gas prices rising. Wouldn’t listen to anyone that doesn’t factor in inflation. Sometimes experience helps with analysis, not that the young can’t do it, just if you have seen the same advice before and seen it fail you are a little more astute to the negative possibilities.

  40. Ramya

    Now that gas prices are double… now approx 4$ I would imagine the no of years reduces to 6yrs…thats not so long ago…. what your article did not factor in was time. It should have read hybrid cars not viable for 2005!! or whenever u wrote this article…because what ur calc did not factor in was the depleting fossil fuels which equals to ever increasing costs….

  41. ItMakesSense

    Yes, when I bought my “stripped down” Camry hybrid in June 2007 for $25,500 (less $625 credit before it completely expired Oct 2007) I conservatively estimated gas prices to be $2.85 per gallon, rising 5% per year. If you look at trends and read the news you knew gas prices could be expected to keep rising. Same for natural gas prices – they’ve gone up 8.4% annual average from Jan 1999 thru March 2008.

    I took Edmunds TCO costs of summer 2007. And guess what, assuming $2.85 gas with modest 5% annual increases the Camry hybrid was cheaper over 5 years than any V6 sedan with mid-range (LE trim or equivalent) over 5 years. Cheaper than Ford Fusion V6. Cheaper than Chevy Impala. Cheaper than any V6 sedan. Even though even my “stripped down” (no leather, no sunroof, no navigation screen) Camry hybrid at $25,500 came standard with premium JBL sound system with 6-CD changer, separate driver and passenger/rear seat climate controls, heated side mirrors, power seat, handsfree bluetooth for cellphone, and other features usually only found in the top Camry XLE trim.

    It’s rated 34 mpg overall, however I average 37-38mpg during warm months, dropping as low as 30mpg during the very coldest months of Midwest winters. I have had three tanks of gas top 40 mpg this summer.

    Hybrids are not all created equal. The Honda Civic hybrid accelerates more slowly than the 4-cylinder version (10.7 seconds 0-60?) I initially thought that was what I want til I read Consumer Reports and other reviews. Car and Driver found the Camry hybrid went 0-60 in 7.7 seconds, about the same as the 2006 model year V6 Camry. The 2007-2009 Camry hybrid is rated higher reliability and satisfaction than either the 4-cylinder or V6 models. This spring USA Today reported that Camry hybrid pays for the hybrid premium in just 1.7 years now compared with Camry XLE – even faster than the Prius compared with the Corolla. But the Saturn Aura hybrid takes over 10 years to pay for premium hybrid. Repeat: NOT ALL HYBRIDS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

    I have got as high as 600 miles from one tank of gas (just over 16 gals for that fillup).

    Would I have a lower cost per mile if I bought a Toyota Corolla Sport for $17,000 or $18,000 instead of a Camry hybrid for $25,500? Sure I would. That was my third choice after the Prius and Camry hybrid. But it’s not as nice a car as the Camry hybrid. All that sound insulation – practically no road or engine noise to speak of. Enough power that I can pull out on the freeway with confidence, and followed a truck up a mountain no sweat. So smooth and quiet that when I took it up to 105 mph passing my passengers didn’t even look up and were completely surprised when I later told them how fast we had been going.

    How about depreciation? Let’s see, I plugged in my “stripped down” trim package and mileage in Edmunds used cost calculator and see that if my car was sold today retail, it would sell on a lot for the same price I bought it new 14 months ago! If I sold it private, I would get about $1,000 less. That’s not bad depreciation!

    Even at $2.85 gas, your calculations were lacking. And at $3.50 gas? I laugh your math!

  42. Alexis

    $2 a gallon? where do you live? the cost was $3.70/gall last time I checked.

  43. Stickitinyergoozle

    I drive a 2005 Civic Hybrid and have learned how to drive it in a way to maximize fuel effeciency. I average 50 to 55 mpg by sticking to the slow lane and going 5 to 10 mph under the posted speed limit. Additionally, I coast to stoplights and stopsigns in situations when I don’t have people trying to get around me. I am considerate of others and will not block up two-lane roads. Still, even with plenty of other lanes available on the roads I travel slower on, I will occassionally have an A-hole on my rear bumper wanting me to go faster. It usually turns out to be some dumb-A driving alone in a monster vehicle. These same type have the nerve to bitch about the cost of gas. Boo-Hoo for you!

  44. alexander

    has anyone forgotten about the tax credit of 7,500.00 us dollars for hybrid vehicles???

  45. Jay

    No, no one forgot about the tax credit. Tax credits are only good on new designs and phase out as they are sold. All the hybrids mentioned above in the comments have long lost their tax credits. Only new cars like the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($1700 credit) will get tax credits until they are popular enough.

    I totally agree with the intent of this article. Even at $3.50 gas, for most people it does not make economic sense to get a hybrid vs. the same model with a standard ICE, unless they drive a lot of miles per year (30k+). The other factor is just about all hybrids are selling for MSRP. Many non-hybrids are being sold at steep discounts.

  46. Bob

    The first question is what car do you need. If you’re in the market for an Accord or Camry, you can buy a Prius for about the same price and the Prius has more trunk space. Go to Cars.com and go to the “Compare Cars” under the “Research” tab and you’ll see that in terms of headroom, legroom, etc, the Prius, Camry & Accord are about the same, with the main exception that the Prius is a few inches narrower, so if you don’t regularly seat three in the back seat, then Prius can fulfill your needs just as well, and have more cargo space.

    Bottom line is that you have to start with what car will fit your needs and go from there. For most people to save the most money the answer is just to keep whatever car you currently own.

  47. keotitmakara

    However everyone still wish to get that car.I’m only one person in them too.haha

  48. Li Kata

    If I got it maybe I have a good relationship with my Girlfriend:D

  49. Ju lita

    I wish had a beautiful car like this

  50. SA Rita

    I’m earn money to buy it because it’s best car in my dream.

  51. Pang Phov

    Is it have release in 2016?

  52. SA Rita

    Let me know that real price easy I earn money buy this car <3

  53. Raj Kumri

    Hell yea BOIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. Jonh Ny

    Hi Ian Ybarra, Thanks for your suggestion!!!!! <3

  55. Gerar

    Nice Calculation.

    In Canada, where gas is closer to $3.80 per gallon, this break-even point is much sooner…more like 6-7 years.
    Obviously, if you drive more, the break even point is sooner.
    Also, many insurance companies give 10% off for Hybrid vehicles…so there’s another $60 per year savings.

    Overall, you are right…it is about 4 to 7 years to break even on the additional cost monetarily, and you can simultaneously help the planet a tiny bit. It is NOT a big money SAVER, but it can be a win-win for the driver (a little bit) and the planet (a little bit…let’s not kid ourselves that it is very much, but if every car was a hybrid and saved 20% of the fuel use, it would add up to a REAL change)

  56. Glen

    I own a 2010 Honda Insight (Hybrid). I average about 38-40 mpg around town, and average about 50-53 mpg on the highway. Even though my tank was still about 80% full, (it only took about 2.5 gallons to top it off), the trip meter was reading 125 miles (since the last time I filled the tank).

    I didn’t buy the car for any environmental reasons. I bought it because it’s what I could afford at the time (bought it used). It works nicely and I could probably go about 300+ miles before the tank is below half full.

    Sorry, but I disagree with your claims. I do get very good gas mileage from my hybrid.