As much as it may hurt to have to fill up your car every month (or week), the price of gas still isn't high enough to make trading in for a hybrid a reasonable solution for most, a reality punctuated by the Gas-Mileage Savings Calculator from Edmunds. The calculator takes the value of a trade-in compared to the cost of a more-efficient vehicle and, based on driving distances and the cost of gas, determines how long it would take to break even. For example, we took a 2006 Explorer XLT V8 and compared it to a new Jetta SportWagen TDI at \$4.25 a gallon and 1,200 miles a month. At that rate it would take four years to make up the difference. The price of gas would have to rise to a ridiculous \$16.50 a gallon to break even within a year — and we don't expect those prices until 2010 or so. Press release below the jump.

Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator Introduced by Edmunds.comSANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 30, 2008 — Should you dump the SUV for a gas-sipper? That's the question everyone is asking these days.

Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, helps consumers answer that question with today's release of its Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator. The tool helps consumers determine the pay-back period and fuel savings associated with trading-in a fuel-thirsty vehicle for a more fuel-efficient one.

"Car buyers think they can save money by dumping their gas-guzzler and purchasing a gas-sipper," said Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor for Edmunds.com. "But when you look at the big picture — total cash out of pocket — a very different situation is often revealed."

A common example demonstrates the potential pitfalls of ditching that SUV: A consumer trades in a four-year old GMC Yukon, worth \$13,483, for a new \$21,647 Toyota Prius. The difference is \$8,164. If the consumer drives 1,200 miles per month and gas costs \$4.07 per gallon (national average), the monthly fuel savings will be \$201.34. While this may seem attractive, it will take 41 months to pay back the additional cost of the Prius over the trade-in value of the Yukon.

The Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator prompts users to select the vehicle they are considering and the vehicle they would sell or trade-in. The calculator automatically provides the Edmunds.com True Market Value® prices (the average price that people are currently paying for each vehicle), as well as the anticipated fuel mileage of the two vehicles. Consumers then input their monthly mileage and local gas price, and the calculator displays the monthly fuel savings, as well as the number of months to "break-even".

"Americans hate high gas prices," said Reed. "However, it's important to calm down and look closely at the dollars and cents. If people make a panicked car-buying decision they could lose thousands of dollars just to save hundreds of bucks at the pump."

[Source: Edmunds]