Intellichoice has released its 2008 Hybrid Car survey, in which it analyses the cost to own a hybrid vs its gas-only counterpart. And according to them, except for the LS 600h l from Lexus, the 23 hybrid cars they tested will result in savings for the owner. In the end, "half of the 24 hybrid models on the market in 2008 perform better than their non-hybrid counterparts in terms of overall cost to own."
The key difference comes from resale value (depreciation). Add in similar maintenance costs (slight gain on the side of hybrids, since brake work and oil changes occur less frequently) and gas savings and, long term, hybrid cars can save their owners money.
Keep in mind that, given their higher MSRP, hybrid cars cost more at first. Not only do you have to pay more for the purchase, but taxes, insurance and excise taxes may be higher. Some of that can be offset by federal or state tax breaks. And some insurance companies do offer discounts to anyone who owns a hybrid car. Add in access to the HOV lane or free parking in your community and the savings can really start adding up. But that depends a great deal on your location and how much you value HOV access.
Intellichoice has pointed out the cost savings associated with hybrids before. In 2007, they made the point that hybrid cars can save you money in the long run, and they have the Prius listed as the best new car value for 2008.
Read the full press release from Intellichoice.
IRVINE, CA (April 22, 2008) - IntelliChoice.com's Hybrid Survey for 2008, released in time for Earth Day, punctures some of the myths around hybrids and shows that several hybrid car models are cheaper to own than their non-hybrid counterparts. A keen observer of how environmental concerns are impacting the auto market, IntelliChoice.com is the leading source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis and is part of SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA.
"The long-standing myth about hybrids is that they cost more to own and struggle to justify their higher sticker prices," said James Bell, publisher and editor of IntelliChoice.com. "This is not true. In fact, half of the 24 hybrid models on the market in 2008 perform better than their non-hybrid counterparts in terms of overall cost to own. The bottom line is that hybrids are also a Smart economic choice and not just about 'going green' anymore."
Bell added, "Our third annual survey provides a comprehensive, across-the-board analysis of how hybrids perform as soon as they are driven off the lot."
IntelliChoice.com's Hybrid Survey compares hybrid and non-hybrid versions of the same vehicle for the 2008 model year. The survey examines how each vehicle performs based on a projected Total Cost of Ownership figure over five years or 70,000 miles. Besides fuel costs, which are considered the primary savings point for hybrid cars, the survey factored in other major cost items that consumers often overlook such as maintenance and repair costs and car insurance.
"We want to show that the argument for or against hybrids is larger than just expected fuel costs," said Bell. "You have to look at all of the driving factors like maintenance, repairs, and resale value. You have to look at the whole picture."
Get the IntelliChoice 2008 Hybrid Survey as a PDF from intellichoice website
IntelliChoice.com's 2008 Hybrid Survey pits hybrid cars against their non-hybrid counterparts in a number of important cost areas. For instance, the Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD is compared against the "regular" or gas-only Ford Escape 4WD. The chart below, just one set of data from the survey, shows how hybrids' higher sticker prices can be offset by savings in their overall cost of ownership.
2008 Model and Trim MSRP Difference 5-Yr Cost of Ownership Difference
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $1510 -$439
Toyota Prius (vs. Camry) $2,855 -$3,430
Honda Civic Hybrid $3,090 -$2,634
Lexus GS 450h $2,280 $965
Saturn Aura Hybrid $2,395 -$631
Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD $2,500 -$5,549
Mercury Mariner Hybrid $3,140 -$5,031
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD $4,950 $2,413
The excerpted data above shows that, of the eight models selected, the hybrid versions of each model carry a higher MSRP. However, six of the hybrid cars deliver lower cost of ownership over five years, and three of them--the Prius, the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid--deliver cost savings that exceed the MSRP.
In addition to a more comprehensive look at the data above, IntelliChoice.com's 2008 Hybrid Survey examines how hybrids perform against the marketplace in terms of resale value and maintenance.