Edmunds: Hybrids Pay, Eventually

All the talk about hybrid cars coming out on the losing end of a cost-benefit analysis may not be true exactly, says Edmunds. According to a study by the car-info maniacs, some hybrids cars will cover their price premium within a few years, considering the current level of gas pricing and tax credits from the Feds. While hybrids cost between $1,200 and $7,000 more than comparable gas-only models, Edmunds says, the most efficient gas-electrics will pay off within a reasonable time period. Two examples cited are the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape, which assuming 15,000 miles per year and an average fuel cost of $3 per gallon, would break even in three years. Less-efficient models like the Saturn Vue, Toyota Camry and Civic Hybrid would zero out the premium in six years. Of course, we'd love to see such data graphed against that of high-efficiency gas-powered models sans both premium and tax incentives. But we're silly like that.

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