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Hybrid Vehicles Still More Expensive To Own Than Other Gas-sipping Vehicles

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments


Santa Monica (CA) - Higher gas prices may drive consumers to look more seriously at hybrid vehicles, but gas prices will have to rise substantially before you will be able to save money on a per-mile-basis, claims.

Based on an acquisition via 60-month financing (10% down payment, best possible financing rates), a five-year ownership, 15,000 miles driven per year, the website found that the Chevrolet Aveo is the cheapest car to own with a per-mile cost of 42.7 cents. The car remains the cheapest car to operate at $5 per gallon (46.1 cents) and $6 per gallon (49.6 cents).

The top ten includes Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic Nissan Versa, Mazda 3i, Kia Rio, Scion xB and the Toyota Corolla. Yes, Japanese cars are dominating the ranking and there is not a single hybrid among the top ten. said that Honda Civic Hybrid is currently the cheapest hybrid car on a per-mile basis with a cost of 47.6 cents per mile at $4.06 per gallon, 49.9 cents at $5 and 52.4 cents at $6 per gallon. Only if gas will rise to a cost of $6 per gallon, the Civic hybrid will break into the top 10 and replace the Toyota Corolla (1.8 liter, 4-cylinder), which is estimated to cost 53.0 cents at this point. The Civic Hybrid is currently ranked at #14 overall.

The high sticker price keeps other hybrids from being "cheap" vehicles to operate, if you look at the overall cost over five years. The Toyota Prius, believes to be the most fuel-efficient car on the roads today, will cost you 50.3 cents per gallon at $4.06 per gallon (rank #34), the Nissan Altima Hybrid 54.0 cents (#66), the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 56.3 cents (#81), the Ford Escape Hybrid 58.3 cents (#94), the Mercury Mariner Hybrid (2-wheel drive) 59.6 cents (#102), the Toyota Camry Hybrid 63.0 cents (#134), the Mercury Mariner Hybrid (4-wheel drive) 63.4 cents (#136), the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 72.5 cents (#190) and the Lexus RX400h 89.7 cents (#260).

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  • 0 Hide
    soulrider4ever , June 26, 2008 9:59 AM
    Did they factor in the tax deduction saving each year??
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    blackened144 , June 26, 2008 12:49 PM
    Or the cost of batteries for the Hybrid?
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    wiyosaya , June 26, 2008 12:51 PM
    IMHO, "power" auto enthusiasts like Edmunds just don't get it. It might cost $1100 more to operate a Prius over the Aveo for each $15,000 miles, but what about the difference in maintenance and reliability costs? Also, what about the difference in emissions? A cheaper short-term cost of ownership might end up in a much higher long-term cost, due to maintenance, emissions contributing to who knows what, etc., not to mention depreciation, than for something like the Prius. An Aveo won't be worth much in a few years while a Prius holds its resale value for a much longer time.

    For being a supposedly "expert" site on autos, Edmunds seems to be grounded firmly in outdated concepts that they have not, as of yet, been able to discard. I think they should get with the program and realize that times have changed, and a "hot" car is much more than having hundreds of useless horses under the hood.
  • Display all 16 comments.
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    wiyosaya , June 26, 2008 12:54 PM
    Battery replacement is highly unlikely to be an issue in at least the first 120,000 miles. There are first gen Prius' out there that have in excess of 220,000 miles on the battery. That is at least as good as the engine lifetime on most vehicles.

    Replacing the battery in any hybrid is urban legend.
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    TeraMedia , June 26, 2008 1:20 PM
    Food for thought, and no I have not done the math on this one: If everyone drove a higher-efficiency hybrid instead of their current vehicle(s), would the reduced consumption of - and hence demand for - gasoline drive a commensurate reduction in gasoline prices? And would that reduction in gasoline (and other energy sources!) price be enough to make the hybrids more economical to drive than the current top 10?
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    jabliese , June 26, 2008 2:06 PM
    Comparing costs over a 5 year period seems a bit daft, also. I can see wanting to get rid of some of those cars in 5 years, but will bet most hybrid owners keep their cars longer. The comparison should tilt more heavily to hybrids once the car payment is done.
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    Anonymous , June 26, 2008 2:25 PM
    See "Who killed the Electric Car" documentary - available on internet. You shouldnt compare hybrids to regular cars. You should compare electric cars to regular cars, because in that case the maintenance cost is dramatic as there is no combustion engine necessary at all which is the major reason for all the maintenance, and costs. As batteries keep improving distances keep improving and the car is silent too!
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    Anonymous , June 26, 2008 2:39 PM
    I don't see solar power in the mix of comments. In 2010, when the LiPoly powered Prius Plus hits mainstream, and hopefully the Chevy Volt, you'll be able to drive 40 miles on ELECTRIC only. A fillup costs about $5 and shows up on your electric bill. NO GAS USAGE AT ALL! If you buy a few solar panels for your roof at home, that will offset your increased electric bill. The savings in Gasoline will MAKE YOUR CAR PAYMENT FOR YOU. If you can't figure that out, go ahead and keep paying my road taxes at the gas pump!
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    KITH , June 26, 2008 4:36 PM
    if we stop using the gasoline the road taxes will have to come from somewhere else. believe that you will still be paying those taxes. We need roads.
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    groo , June 26, 2008 6:28 PM
    People need to realize current hybrids only "work" with lots of stop and go. I'm glad I convinced my parrents to not buy a hybrid. even though they own cars for more than 5 years, it would never pay for itself. If thier were a plug in hybrid availiable, I would have told them to get it. Plug in hybrids are the future, not these half assed inline hybrids.
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    rsud , June 26, 2008 8:22 PM
    A usual stupid article.

    As with any technology price comes down over time as manufacturing efficiencies come into play. And as with any new technology the early adopters pay a higher price. Once the market sees demand, research and development bring prices down and companies view for market share.

    Most of the comments here echo this short sighted view and article. If $$ is all you care about then you are not an early adopter. Stand on the sidelines until it gets cheap enough for you.

    We are at the infancy of alternative vehicles. Time and research IF THERE IS DEMAND will determine final technology (hybrid, all battery, fuel cell, ...). Thank god for people who think bigger than their pocket books.
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    gm0n3y , June 26, 2008 9:40 PM
    Are they including maintenance costs and vehicle depreciation in this? Believe me, an Aveo will require more maintenance and depreciate more than a Prius. I still think the whole hybrid thing in its current state is a waste of money, but its a necessary step in the right directions. Of course you won't catch me buying one, but then again I ride my bicycle to/from work every day.
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    groo , June 27, 2008 2:46 PM
    they didn't account for depreciation, but you can only guess at depreciation, especialy with leading edge technology when better technology is just around the corner. they also failed to take into account the avereage sales price. people are still poneying up more than sticker for hybrids. so it probably even itself out somewhat.

    what added maintenance does an Aveo have over a Prius?
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    gm0n3y , June 27, 2008 5:48 PM
    Prius' so far have had excellent resale value whereas cheap chevys (Cavalier, Cobalt) have their values drop like a rock. For maintenance, the Aveo is made by GM and historically GM's cheap cars have had pretty bad quality and required more repairs than many other manufacturers. On the other hand, Toyota has a strong reputation for excellent build quality and reliability and is the main reason they are (I think anyways) the #1 auto maker in the world.
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    groo , June 27, 2008 6:26 PM
    pretty sure the Aveo is a rebadged Suzuki, like the Geo Metro. but in general GM quality is now right up there with Toyota.

    Geo Metros have surged up in resale value recently because of fuel prices.

    some early Priuses have inflated resale values because of HOV stickers in CA.

    GMs are MUCH cheaper to repair then Toyotas, and relativly rare hybrids will be even more expensive to repair. lets not forget battery replacement, thats probably comming due at 5 years of comuting.
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    gm0n3y , June 27, 2008 8:57 PM
    I've heard that the battery replacement issue is not as bad as first thought or rather the batteries are actually going to last 10 years, not 5. Also, I seriously question your statement that GM quality is anywhere near Toyota. There initial quality may have improved over the last few years, but those statistics (usually quoted from JD Power) are notoriously biased and have little relation to reliability over the long term. Another thing, most repairs needed on the Prius are for the gas engine and are not any more difficult than for other cars. The battery / electric system has few moving parts and is extremely reliable because of this (as with all electric cars).