NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

COST SAVINGS MAY NOT OFFSET HIGHER PRICE FOR HYBRIDS

June 6, 2005

Gas-electric hybrid vehicles are better for the planet than the pocketbook, according to an analysis by Edmunds.com for USA Today. Researchers conclude that the premium automakers charge for the advanced technology is not completely offset by gas savings and federal tax credits over the five-year-average that owners typically keep their vehicles

Researchers compared costs of ownership, including purchase price, taxes, financing, insurance and maintenance over five years. They found most owners would have to drive a hybrid tens of thousands of extra miles a year or gasoline would have to hit stratospheric levels to reach a break-even point with a comparable gas-powered model.

Consider:

  • The only car in the comparison with roughly equal costs is the Toyota Prius and the conventional Camry; the Prius owner would need to drive 15,000 miles a year or gas would need to be $2.28 a gallon to equal the cost of driving a Camry.
  • Gasoline prices would have to reach $5.60 or drivers would have to log 37,000 miles each year for the hybrid Ford Escape to break even with the non-hybrid Escape.
  • When compared to the smaller, gas-thrifty Corolla, the Prius breaks even at 66,500 miles a year or when gas reached $10.10 a gallon.
  • The Honda Accord Hybrid would equal costs with the Honda Accord when driven 60,000 miles a year or gas reached $9.20; likewise, the hybrid Honda Civic breaks even with the conventional Civic at $9.60 for gas and 63,000 miles a year.

A Honda spokesman says Edmunds.com's assumptions paint a worst-case scenario and a less-aggressive approach would require the hybrid Accord to be driven only 17,000 miles a year before it becomes thriftier than the standard Accord. Other hybrid makers say people should consider the value of their time since hybrids have lower maintenance requirements, meaning few trips to the dealership, and in some areas, low-polluting hybrids are allowed in carpool lanes.

Source: Chris Woodyard, ?Cost Savings May Not Offset Higher Price For Hybrids: Fuel Costs, Tax Credits May Not Equal Price Premium,? USA Today, June 1, 2005.

For text:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2005-05-31-hybrid-costs-usat_x.htm

 

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