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A Greener Charlottesville: Is A Hybrid Worth It?

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

Like any new technology, hybrid cars cost more. But they can also save you money on gas. So that raises the question, is buying a hybrid worth it? Most hybrids on the roads today can get you about 50% more miles per gallon but will cost you thousands more upfront. So how long would it take for the money saved on gas to equal the greater initial cost?

"I've seen different figures and it really depends on how you figure it. I've seen figures as high as 5 years. I've seen 3 years." says Fred Nelson of Battlefield Ford Jeep. Kip Rowe of Colonial Auto Center says, "It would take you 10 or 12 years of driving to save the difference between a hybrid and a regular vehicle of the same type." 3 to 12 years, that's quiet a wide spread.

Let's crunch some numbers. First lets compare the Ford Escape to the Ford Escape Hybrid. The hybrid costs 65 hundred dollars more but gets much better gas milage. You'll save almost $700 a year in gas. With those numbers it will take you over 9 and a half years to break even. Now these calculations assume that you are driving 15 thousand miles a year, half in the city and half on highway, and that gas prices remain at the national average of $3.66 per gallon. Lets look at a hybrid car. The Toyota Camry versus the Camry Hybrid. Based on the same assumptions and the costs you see here, it would take almost 12 years to break even.

So is a hybrid worth it? Well to save gas money... maybe not, but to help the environment... Yes. Nelson says, "Think of it this way, we all want to recycle, the hybrid recycles energy." So what's a better way to save on fuel costs? Rowe says, "The real answer is probably just getting a more economical car."

Keep in mind these numbers depend on your driving habits. So if you drive more in the city than on the highway, a hybrid will be more economical. The best thing to do is sit down and crunch the numbers yourself based on your driving patterns.

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