Touting hybrid car savings, the Honda Insight Hybrid was introduced for the first time in 1997 at that year’s Tokyo Auto Show. Two years later, it made its way stateside in the form of a 1999 model that was the very first mass-produced hybrid car sold in America (beating the Toyota Prius by seven months). In 1999 those were the only two hybrids available; today, there are 71 (including plug-ins) in the North American market that are 2014 model-year vehicles.
Since the release of the original Insight, debate has ensued over whether the hybrid car savings is more than the additional cost he/she incurs during the initial purchase. And since these questions have been asked, the same answer is given: Sometimes yes; sometimes no.
Why? It all depends on the driving habits of the person behind the wheel, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article. The way you drive, how much/how often you drive, and how often you own the car are all pivotal factors in answering whether or not there are hybrid car savings.
According to a 2013 Vincentric study, the average price of a hybrid vehicle was $4,647 more than their gas-only counterparts. To counteract that additional cost, the study revealed that a five-year ownership period at 15,000 per year yielded in an average fuel cost savings of $3,371. Thus, paying the additional price for some of the larger and less efficient hybrids, such as the full-size SUV models, don’t make good sense from a purely financial standpoint.
However, cars such as the Lincoln MKZ hybrid can save as much as $5,000 over its gas-powered sibling because the sticker prices are very close.
The Great Debate Continues
So what’s the best way to help ensure hybrid car savings? Buying a used hybrid! Sticker prices of used hybrids and used gas-powered cars of the same make and model are not all that dissimilar. But on the flipside, the older the hybrid, the more likely the battery is going to lose power over time.