Does Owning a Hybrid Vehicle Really Save You Money?
Hybrid vehicles caused quite a stir when they first came on the scene. They represented one of the first instances of “green” technology billed to mainstream audiences as something more than just an eco-friendly lifestyle product. They were advertised as practical, utilitarian, efficient, and a financially prudent alternative to gas-powered cars.
Nowadays, they are a standard feature of most car dealerships, and their widespread consumption and use is becoming the new norm. In fact, electric vehicles and hybrid cars are poised to quickly develop and spread throughout the market, with automated electric vehicles on a rapidly approaching horizon.
One of the first and most important questions one can ask when considering making the switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle is this one: “is this really going to save me money?” Below are some considerations and facts about hybrid vehicles that will hopefully be useful in your decision to become a hybrid owner.
Prices for hybrid cars and electric vehicles were their most expensive during their initial mainstream launches around 2011- ranging in the mid 30’s to 40’s. Since then, the price for purchasing these kinds of vehicles has dropped. For example, in 2013, Nissan lowered the price of its Leaf by $6,000, making its starting MSRP $28,800. A general lowering of prices, coupled with possible federal tax credits, which can reach up to $7,500, make hybrids more affordable now than they ever were before.
Fuel & Operation
Battery powered or assisted vehicles cut costs on fuel by requiring less of it to run, right? In short, the answer is yes. However, it is important to remember that the payoff of having a hybrid car takes some time, with most estimates ranging around the 5-year mark. It’s not only decreased fuel consumption that will save you money in the long term – it’s a mix of different factors. Fuel efficiency In tandem with decreased maintenance costs and vehicle longevity, can save you (depending on which specific model) up to $7,750 over 5 years.
In general, many have found that hybrid cars do save some money when it comes to repairs and maintenance. They don’t require as much work over their lifetime as purely mechanical, gas-powered vehicles do. Their batteries also have a decent lifespan, usually working fine until wear sets in at about 180,000 miles, or around 5 - 10 years of regular use. All in all, hybrid cars have lower depreciation costs than their all-gas counterparts, making it possible to have a hybrid function as if it was new even after clocking tons of miles.
Although there is still a dire need for more investment in transportation infrastructure that facilitates the use of hybrid cars or electric vehicles, strides are definitely being made. The Primary charge points for hybrid users are still mostly at home, but some of the nation’s major metropolitan area are making strides.
Denver, Colorado announced in 2017 that it would be building the first publicly accessible charging station. On the east coast, the Washington D.C. – Baltimore area has over 700 charging stations scattered throughout and around its cities. Many cities and metropolitan areas have financial and political incentives to encourage the use of hybrid cars, one way they will do that is to create incentives and rewards for consumers who use them. Depending on where you are, having a hybrid car could really pay off!
There are a number of states and localities that actually incentivize the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, all-electric and plug-in cars purchased after 2010 may be eligible for federal income tax credits of up to $7,500.
What’s the verdict?
At the end of the day, it’s not a matter of how much a hybrid or electric vehicle will save you in up-front costs. In fact, in many cases, the initial purchasing price of a hybrid may be more than an all-gas counterpart. On the other hand, once you factor in the cost of maintenance, depreciation, operation, and fuel consumption, hybrids are clearly superior: if properly used and maintained, they have the potential to save you money in the medium to long-term.