Is The Lower Gas Hype Warranted for Hybrids?
It is impossible to ignore the allure of the lower gas prices promised by hybrid vehicles as gas prices are predicted to continue to rise. When you add in the emotional tug of pride you would experience driving a hip, “green” vehicle, it is even harder to resist checking out the possibility. Unfortunately for many of us, that’s where the enthusiasm stops. Sticker shock forces buyers to take a harder look at whether the fuel savings will ultimately pay off.
Unlike other types of technology, hybrids have not come down in price over the years. They first arrived about a decade ago when online auto insurance rates were still low, but the prices are still unaffordable for most Americans. Part of the reason for the high price tag can be blamed on the use of rare metals such as lanthanum and neodymium. Supply and demand for these metals has risen since these metals are also used in laptop computers and cell phones.
As published in the Inquisitr in the article, “Hybrid and Electric Cars Won’t Save You Money,”a study funded by the New York Times found that purchasing hybrids is impractical financially in the majority of cases. (Reference 1) This study was conducted by TrueCar.com and claimed that it would take the average consumer longer than ten years to fully realize the fuel savings when given the high initial price of these cars. With the average car owner trading in a car after six years, it becomes obvious that most car buyers will never reap the benefits of purchasing a hybrid.
Edmunds published a break-even chart for consumers considering the purchase of a hybrid. Comparisons are made between hybrids and their gasoline counterparts. Based on $3.45 per gallon pricing, the chart indicates that a consumer buying a Ford Fusion Hybrid would not start saving money for 5.9 years. (Reference 3) Other break-even figures included 8.1 years for the Lexus RX 450h and 7.3 years for the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid. (Reference 3)
Edmunds also included figures for top-selling hybrids compared to similar versions of the car that use gasoline. For example, Toyota Prius and the Corolla were compared showing a 7.4 year break-even point. (References 3) Data was also collected factoring in higher fuel prices at $5 per gallon, showing a break-even point of 5.1 years for the same cars. (References 3)
Additional Factors Impacting Affordability
The high sticker price is not the only cost to consider when calculating how practical a hybrid purchase might be. As the vehicle starts needing repairs as it gets older and closer to the break-even date, it is important to recognize that these high-end cars with newer technology will cost more to repair than more traditional cars. Positioned as luxury cars, the added accessories that most of these hybrid cars carry as standard features also adds to the price.
Tony LaSarge is a freelance writer for the website http://www.kanetix.ca/.