Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do hybrids really save money?

This mornings Indy Star featured an article about hybrids, questioning their true economy. The writer did some math to find how long you need to own the car before the increased fuel efficiency balances out the increased purchase price. For example, the hybrid Nissan Altima is only $1900 more than the standard Altima, and you'll make up this difference in 3.8 years of fuel savings. But the hybrid Lexus LS600h costs almost $19k more than the standard model and doesn't get much better mileage; he figures you'll have to own the car for 99.6 years to see a net savings. It's an interesting look at hybrids, and worth a quick read.

One oddity: he lists a savings number for a Toyota Prius, which (as far as I knew) doesn't come in a non-hybrid model for comparison. So I did a Google search, and found an announcement at about.com stating that Toyota was releasing a non-hybrid Prius to meet the needs of status-conscious car buyers who wanted the cachet of a hybrid but the performance of a standard automobile. It's a sign of the times that I didn't question this at all until I noticed that it was written on April Fool's Day....

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