Over the past few years sales of hybrids – as well as plug-in and battery operated electric cars – have been one of the hottest, fastest growing sectors in the auto market. So okay, the trend is real. But are hybrid cars worth it?
First, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why hybrids are becoming ever more popular. Likely, you’ve been at the pump lately and know the price of gas. Talk about running on fumes! Our wallets are getting sucked dry right along with our gas tanks. But will the premium price of a hybrid offset the cost of gas? And if so, how long will it take? Well, that’s going to depend on the models you’re looking at and will take some math skills when you get to the point of comparing specific models. Some could take more than 10 years to show a payback, and that’s longer than a lot of us own a car for. But others – the Toyota Prius for example – should pay you back on gas money alone in just a few years. Definitely something to think about, right?
Of course, the amount of money you’re planning to spend on a car has to factor into those equations. For example, the Prius C starts at under 20K while something like the Lincoln MKZ retails for nearly twice as much. Clearly you’re going to need to add some common sense to your equations. Because if you’re spending about 40K on a hybrid car so you can save money on gas, you are going to need to be using a ton of gas over a lot of years before you see any sort of payback.
Needless to say, there are other considerations as well. Maybe the cost to your wallet isn’t what it’s all about for you. Maybe you’re more concerned about the planet and just want to think about not depleting earth’s resources. In that case, spend whatever you can afford, or skip the hybrid and go directly to a plug-in, electric model or an EV as they are also referred to. You’re still going to have to pay energy costs but that will be governed by the cost of hydro, either where you live or where you travel.
As you can guess, there really isn’t a yes/no answer to the question “are hybrid cars worth it”. There are too many variables for us to deal with, but you certainly can answer it yourself. Choose the car you’re looking at and determine the final cost – base plus any options. As with any type of car, gas mileage is an issue, so figure out what kind of mileage you’ll put on your new auto over X amount of time. Now take the cost of gas in your area and figure out what the breakeven point is. Once you’re armed with that info, you are in a better position to make an informed decision. And if you go the route of an electric or EV car, remember you’re going to have to think about where you’ll plug it in to recharge. At home? Is a retrofit necessary to do so? And are there any recharging stations where ever you may travel to?
The best thing is that as time goes on and hybrids become more and more popular, the more choice there is for the consumer. Gone are the days where you only had one or two to chose from. Now you have some variety in features and types of hybrid cars as well as price. And depending on your area, you might be able to source a hybrid car rebate as well, assuming you’re buying new and not a used car. From time to time there are rebates offered on the sales of new hybrids in both the USA and in Canada, so make sure you check to see what’s being offered before you finalize a purchase.