Hybrids are environmentally friendly, but are they cost-effective too?

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We know what hybrid cars mean for the environment, but when it comes down to dollars and sense, do they really give you more bang for your buck?

Vincentric recently announced its 2013 Hybrid Analysis, where they revealed 13 of 33 hybrid vehicles were identified as having a lower total cost-of-ownership than their gasoline counterparts. This is an increase from 11 vehicles that fell into the category last year, however given how many more hybrid models are available, the percentage of financially cost-effective hybrids dropped from 44 percent to 39 percent.

Lexus CT 2013
Hybrids may not save you money, but they could help save the environment

Cars that did prove to be cost effective include the Lexus CT200h and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. When compared to their all-gasoline powered counterparts, they reported an overall savings of over $6,300 and $4,700 respectively.

Other brands that got Vincentric’s approval were Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. Toyota has three hybrids that indicate cost-effectiveness – the Avalon, Prius C and Prius V.

Still, when Vincentric took into account all 33 hybrid vehicles and calculated the costs to own and operate them, the average five-year cost-of-ownership for hybrids tallied up to $1,338 more than vehicles that only used gasoline (when assuming an annual mileage of 15,000).

David Wurster, the President of Vincentric, said in a statement that, “As the prevalence of hybrid technology grows, our research shows that consumers are seeing additional vehicles that are financially advantageous when compared to their all-gasoline counterparts. However, because over half of the hybrids we evaluated have higher five-year ownership costs compared to their all-gasoline counterparts, it is important that consumers look at individual models to understand the cost implications of hybrid technology for that vehicle.”

Those who purchase hybrids for their environmental impact over its financial advantages (or lack their of), Vincentric identified a few other hybrids that were viable, with some indicating additional costs less than $2,000 over 5 years. Those cars included the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid and 2013 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.

So what does this all mean for hybrid vehicles, especially as they have seen a huge uptick in sales this past year? It’s unlikely to have much of an effect. While the perception of hybrids has changed from “hippy” to “hip” thanks to clever marketing and updated models, owning one is still as much about helping the environment as it is about social cache. And with previous studies indicating the most frequent buyers of hybrid cars are consumers in their 50s who are looking to be “cool” as much as anything, the knowledge that the majority of hybrids aren’t as cost-effective as gas-guzzlers shouldn’t scare off too many of their most adamant buyers.

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