With gas prices steadily rising, more and more drivers are turning to hybrid vehicles
, which offer greater fuel economy although they're fairly pricier than regular models. The question is: are gas savings in a hybrid enough to offset its higher sticker price?
The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) recently crunched the numbers on buying and operating hybrid vehicles. By the way, 25 percent of all hybrids sold in Canada are found in that province alone.
BCAA compared the purchase, financing and operating costs of all 13 hybrids available in B.C. with comparable gas-powered models over a five-year period. A number of variables were taken into consideration, including fuel prices, maintenance costs and the federal ecoAUTO Rebate Program.
|2008 Honda Civic Hybrid|
With these factors in play, the analysis revealed that, in seven of the 13 vehicle pairs analyzed, the hybrid option worked out to be cheaper over five years.
Among them, the Honda Civic Hybrid
allowed the biggest savings, namely $3,868 after five years. Toyota is second with the Highlander Hybrid SUV ($2,765), followed by the Toyota Camry Hybrid
($1,816) and Lexus RX 400h SUV
BCAA came to the conclusion that most hybrids will end up being either less expensive over five years or within a few hundred dollars of their conventional equivalent. When the association completed its first five-year hybrid cost analysis in 2005, gas prices were much lower than they are right now.
That said, many other factors and motivations are part of the hybrid purchase decision. According to BCAA, consumers are more likely to buy a hybrid for environmental reasons than cost concerns.