I’m hearing a lot more about hybrids, do you recommend them? How do I know if I should buy one?
First let’s define hybrids—According to Wikipedia “A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.” There are other ways in which they capture and utilize energy. Wikipedia reports that “The Toyota Prius is the world’s top selling hybrid electric vehicle, with cumulative global sales of over 3 million units by June 2013.”
There is no doubt they are energy-efficient and therefore, you would save money on fuel costs, but they do cost more. A key to your decision-making is how many miles you drive per year, the fuel cost, and then determining how long it will take to break even on the additional cost of the vehicle.
Another type of hybrid vehicles is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The plug-in hybrid is usually a general fuel-electric vehicle. There is a plug-in Toyota Prius which has an all-electric range of 11 miles. The plug-in vehicles are about $5,000 higher than the standard hybrids, however the Toyota Prius Plug-in is eligible for a government tax credit of $2,500 for 2012-2014 models.
We’ll use the standard Prius as an example: The average cost of a 2014 Prius is about $25,500, whereas the average Corolla is about $19,000. (Of course you can save money on a new 2013.) According to the U.S. Government fuel economy website, the average fuel cost to drive 25 miles is as follows, subject to various regional gas prices:
Depending on how many miles you drive per year, you can calculate the break-even point, but you are making a decision to drive a “green” car which is environmentally-friendly. It also depends if you are driving mostly city or highway. There is no set answer. When you visit Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, we will help you evaluate what makes the most sense for you, according to your preferences, budget, driving patterns and miles driven.
By the way, Toyota is also testing fuel-cell vehicles and that is the next generation of vehicles which will increase fuel efficiency and they are finding ways to reduce initial costs. Toyota is showing them on their website, announcing their arrival in 2015. We’ll discuss fuel-cell vehicles in an upcoming “Ask Gary.”
Have a great week and drive safely!