Almost every automaker now has a hybrid option, but is a hybrid (a car with a gas engine and an electric motor) right for you? The main factors to consider are how many miles you drive and how long you plan to keep the car.
You’ll have to calculate the annual gas savings and compare it to the extra price you’ll pay to get a hybrid car. On average, hybrid cars can cost $2,000 to $6,000 more than the non-hybrid car of the same make and model, and they average 40 mpg compared to an average of 25 mpg for non-hybrid vehicles. With this in mind, see which of these scenarios matches your driving pattern:
Scenario 1: You drive about 20 miles per day (7,500 per year). If you use your vehicle primarily to go between home and work, you may not drive enough to make back your extra investment with a hybrid. With this amount of driving, it will take you about 8 years to “break-even” where gas savings offset the higher purchase price.
Scenario 2: You drive about 40 miles per day (15,000 per year). If you use your vehicle to take several more trips during the week than simply to and from work, you may want to consider a hybrid car. With this amount of driving, it will take you about 4 years to break-even.
Scenario 3: You drive about 80 miles per day (30,000 per year). If you use your vehicle to frequently drive long distances, a hybrid vehicle may be a great option for you because it will take you about 2 years to break-even.
Keep in mind, these scenarios are based on current gas prices and hybrid technology. If gas prices continue to rise and new innovations create vehicles with even higher fuel efficiency, it may take less time to break-even.
Beyond the gas savings, you can factor in potentially lower insurance rates, possible tax credits, lower maintenance due to less wear and tear on the engine and brakes. You can do more research by specific make and model at: www.fueleconomy.gov.