Posted in: Green Tech

Hybrid And Electric Cars Won’t Save You Money [Study]

Nissa Leaf

If you’re thinking about heading out to your local dealer to pick up a Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf or another hybrid automobile you might want to take a step back and realize that the money you think you’re going to save isn’t going to be there.

A study commissioned by the New York Times and conducted by has found that except for in three cases, fuel-efficient technology based on its current higher prices of acquisition simply doesn’t make sense from a monetary perspective.

In fact TrueCar found that even if gas were to reach $5 per gallon it would take the average American consumer more than a decade to realize enough savings to make their high value car purchase worth the acquisition. Making matters worse for automobile manufacturers who push false savings onto buyers, the average car is driven for just 6 years before its traded out or replaced all together with another new vehicle.

The study found that in order to see actual savings with a hybrid or electric vehicle the cost of gas would need to reach $8 per gallon to pay off the difference in pricing over a six year period.

There are two hybrid vehicles that can save you money in as little as two years, the Toyota Prius and the Lincoln MKZ and if you don’t mind diesel-power you can give the Volkswagen Jetta TDI a try.

In the meantime the very car company’s that are making vehicles have turned the idea of owning a hybrid into a status symbol for the environmentally friendly, despite less than stellar changes in gas mileage and car battery production that potentially causes even more damage to our environment than oil drilling and gasoline consumption.

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28 Responses to “Hybrid And Electric Cars Won’t Save You Money [Study]”

  1. David LaPorte

    If you buy any new car as a means to save money, you're stupid. It helps curb the cost of what is a very high quality vehicle.

  2. Gerald F. Shields Jr.

    I don't buy it. Right now it seems to more gas prices rise, the more these anti-electric car stories come out to discourage you from buying them.

  3. Anonymous

    I've owned a Chevy Volt for more than a year. In that time I've driven it almost 13,000 miles at an average of 130+ MPG. My previous car, a Honda, averaged 24 MPG. I spent $50 a week or $2600 a year to gas up the Honda. I spend $20 every month to gas up the Volt plus $30 a month in electricity. That's more than a $166 a month or $2000 a year savings in gasoline costs. Add to that the Volt's lower maintenance cost like once-every-two-years oil changes and 200,000 mile brake jobs. But we're still comparing apples and watermelons. The Volt has the comfort, features, handling and ride of an Audi A4, Acura TL, Lexus ES or BMW 325 – see U.S. News rankings of Upscale Midsize Cars. When you consider that these cars are the cost equivalent of a Volt and their gas mileage is equivalent to my former Honda, the payback is immediate.

    By driving a Volt I spend my transportation fuel dollars on domestic natural gas, hydro-power, coal and nuclear instead of foreign oil. A Volt, Leaf or Prius is not for everyone. Neither is a bicycle or a horse.

  4. Anonymous

    My Chevy Volt costs about 25 cents to charge it with the Off-Peak rates offered here in Illinois. That takes me 40-45 miles. This on a car that cost only $25K (before tax, title and such) after Costco Discount and government incentives. I am saving WELL over $2000 per year. Factoring the reduced maintenance and the car will completely pay for itself in 12 years. No other ICE car can say that!

  5. Amanda Spencer

    But what is the cost difference in the cars? It seems these electric vehicles cost thousands more. So the $2600 a year on gas, did it just go into the total price for the electric car plus more?

  6. Phil 'Peef' Sadow

    My Nissan Leaf goes 60-80 miles on a charge that costs me about $2. I plug in when I get home, and it's always ready to go when I leave. Takes about 15 seconds of effort similar to the ritual you are used to with your cell phones. It's not for everyone, but if your commute is under 60 miles and you either have another car in the family or don't mind rentals for the occasional long trip, then you'll regret not owning one! It's amazing! After rebates and incentives, it cost me less than a Prius out the door, and the operating cost (for me) is already much lower!

  7. Phil 'Peef' Sadow

    Yes, they do cost a lot more now. If these current crop of cars sell well, prices will continue to fall. This is why the Federal and many state governments are offering substantial incentives. (sometimes well over $10k) Now before some anti-EV proponent cries "That's not fair", remember our government *heavily* subsidizes petroleum, both directly and indirectly, and way, WAY more than these relatively small EV subsidies. Imagine if you lived in Europe! They pay a more realistic price.

  8. Phil 'Peef' Sadow

    The best thing you can do is learn the truth for yourself. Buy an EV if it makes sense to YOU. The facts are out there and easy to find if you do some digging. Don't let the propaganda dissuade you!

  9. Maddi Hausmann Sojourner

    Where is the study? This article is strangely short on facts, such as what cars were compared to the Leaf, Volt, and hybrids. I've seen some very poor studies done that compare the Volt to a Chevy Cruze, or the Leaf to a Nissan Versa. Those comparisons are silly, because the Volt and Leaf are not economy cars. Since they sell at a higher price, the manufacturers have included plenty more goodies than you'd find in the "comparibles."

    Someone benefits from all this anti-EV talk. I wonder who it is and why they'd be pushing all these "studies" that don't show how they're done so we can show how dishonest they are. Don't want an electric? Don't buy one, but you will indeed save plenty of money. Hint: EVs need ZERO oil change, ZERO transmission adjustments, and plenty of other expensive parts simply aren't there to wear out.

    The key to how dishonest this article is is the nasty little twist about battery production "causing more damage to our environment" without ever quantifying how much damage that is, nor quantifying the incredible waste involved in oil search, drilling, pumping, transport, refinement, transport of the refined product, and delivery to the end user.

  10. Mike Martin

    I've had a Nissan Leaf for nearly 1 year now, and I've been getting a cost equivalent of 200 mpg (assuming $4/gal). That's saving me $2000 / year in fuel costs alone. Not to mention no oil changes, smog checks, transmission work, etc. After federal and state rebates, I paid only $22.5k for the Leaf, well less than I paid for a prius several years back. So my payback is immediate. Even if you only get the federal rebate of $7500, you'll still be saving $2000 (or more) every year! The Leaf is a great car, fun to drive, plenty of room, and really does save me money. If you're going to buy a new car, you really should seriously consider if an EV is right for you.

  11. Mike Martin

    Susie Gray Isaac The Leaf can plug into a regular 120V outlet, but it charges quite slow that way. I did install a 240V charger (level-2 charger) which was about $2k installed, which allows me to easily plug in and charge using the car's built in charging timer only at night when electric rates are lowest. You can get 240V chargers for less now, under $1k, and charging stations are popping up in various places.

  12. Ferenc Borondics

    Cool! Are they temperature dependent? How about a Tesla Roadster? 😉

  13. Mike Martin

    Ferenc Borondics The batteries do perform worse in cold weather, but I haven't seen much change over the California "winter". Since the heater doesn't have a hot engine to use, if you want to turn the heat on when you're driving you'll use a noticeable amount of battery power. But the clever thing is you can use your smart phone or computer or a timer to tell the car to start up the climate control while it's still plugged in and then the car is all nice and warm and defrosted when you get in to drive away and you haven't used any of your battery range!

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