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Can Owning A Hybrid/Electric Car Save You Money?

hybrid car
September 6th, 2014

While owning a hybrid or electric car is a way for you to help save the environment and keep the air clean. For most people the main attraction of a hybrid or electric car is that it means fewer trips to the gas station.

Premiums and Savings

The problem with these types of cars however is that usually they’re more expensive than their gas-powered siblings. With hybrid cars, on average the price is at least $4,500 higher. The premiums for electric cars can reach up to $10,000 or even more.

The differential is what you need to make up for with your fuel savings. One study found that on average, you get back the extra money you paid for the hybrid version by driving it for about 5 years at 15,000 miles per year.

Buying the Right Car

There are generally two ways of making sure that you save money when you buy a hybrid or electric car. One way is to keep your investment to a minimum by buying the cheapest cars of this type.

Based on the MSRP of the base models, here are the most affordable hybrid/electric cars:

  • 2014 Honda Insight Hybrid — $19,515
  • 2014 Toyota Prius C Hybrid — $19,890
  • 2014 Toyota Prius C Hybrid — $19,890
  • 2014 Toyota Prius C Hybrid — $19,890
  • 2014 Toyota Prius Hybrid — $25,010
  • 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric — $25,750
  • 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid — $25,995
  • 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid — $26,015
  • 2014 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid — $26,670
  • 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid — $26,820

Now if you really want to save up, you can also find second-hand models. The other way of choosing a hybrid or electric car is by buying the car that has a very short break-even period. The break even period is the estimated time in which the fuel savings match or overtake the premium for the hybrid/electric car model.

Your best bet in this category is the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid, followed by the 2013 Buick LaCrosse Hybrid and the 2013 Lexus CT 200h. That’s because there is no break even period. The price of the hybrids here are already lower than the price of their gas-powered sibling. So that means you save on the purchase price and on the fuel costs. For the 2013 Buick Regal Hybrid, its cost and the cost of the gas-powered model is the same.

That’s what you call savings, although these cars can still cost you a pretty penny. For the rest of the cars in this category, the list includes:

  • 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: less than 5 months
  • 2013 Honda Insight: 6 months
  • 2013 Toyota Prius: a little less than 2 years
  • 2013 Lexus ES 300h: a little less than 3 years.
  • 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: a little more than 3½ years
  • 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: a little more than 3½ years

To really make sure that you maximize your savings, you have to drive in a fuel-efficient manner. Use the economy mode, take care of the battery, and use the brake gently.


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