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Hybrid vs Conventional: Are Hybrids Worth the Added Cost?

There’s no shortage of folks that want you to believe that hybrid technology isn’t worth the added cost. They’ll throw an equation together that seems to prove their point, then hammer away at the issue without approaching the question without bias. There’s no question whether hybrids are more expensive. It’s whether or not you can expect to recoup the cost within the period of time that you own the vehicle.

In order to do so, you have to consider the specifics. You need to look at the characteristics of your driving cycles, then apply these to the equation. This can only happen when you take your annual miles driven into consideration, along with the percentage of city driving (as opposed to highway or rural driving), and your average local fuel prices.

As with the comparison between diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles, you need to make a fair assessment, that’s model-by-model and trim level-to-trim level. Check out the chart below, then hop over to Fueleconomy.gov to check out their new hybrid vs non-hybrid comparison tool that takes MSRP, fuel savings, and payback period into full consideration.

It’s worth noting that the Buick LaCrosse eAssist and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are priced at the same level as their non-hybrid counterparts. These two luxury cruisers deliver fuel cost savings, right out of the starting gate.

Hybrid vs Non-Hybrid

Model
Year

Make
& Model

EPA
Combined
MPG

MSRP
Difference

Annual
Fuel
Cost Savings

Years
to
Payback

2012

Buick LaCrosse eAssist

29

$0

$755

0

 

Buick LaCrosse

21

 

2012

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

39

$0

$1,230

0

 

Lincoln MKZ

21

 

2012

Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4WD

21

$2,175

$1,043

2.1

 

Cadillac Escalade Premium AWD

15

 

2013

Chevrolet Malibu Eco

29

$545

$243

2.2

2012

Chevrolet Malibu 2LT

26

 

2012

Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 2WD

21

$2,175

$942

2.3

 

Cadillac Escalade Premium 2WD

16

 

2012

Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE

40

$1,480

$557

2.7

 

Toyota Camry XLE

28

 

2012

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD

28

$3,240

$955

3.4

 

Toyota Highlander SE 4WD

19

 

2012

Honda Civic Hybrid

44

$2,095

$483

4.3

 

Honda Civic EX-L

32

 

2012

Buic Regal eAssist

29

$2,000

$440

4.5

 

Buick Regal

23

 

2012

Toyota Prius c One

50

$2,850

$625

4.6

 

Toyota Yaris 5-Door LE

32

 

2012

Toyota Prius Trim 2

50

$4,315

$910

4.7

 

Toyota Matrix

28

 

2012

Ford Fusion Hybrid

39

$3,350

$688

4.9

 

Ford Fusion SEL

26

 

2012

Kia Optima Hybrid

37

$2,500

$512

4.9

 

Kia Optima EX

28

 

2012

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

37

$2,655

$520

5.1

 

Hyundai Sonata SE

28

 

2012

GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid 4WD

21

$5,125

$994

5.2

 

GMC Yukon Denali AWD

15

 

2012

Honda Insight

42

$2,375

$446

5.3

 

Honda Fit

31

 

2012

Toyota Camry Hybrid

41

$3,400

$614

5.5

 

Toyota Camry LE

28

 

2012

GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid 2WD

21

$5,275

$942

5.6

 

GMC Yukon Denali 2WD

16

 

Source: fueleconomy.gov

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