How cost effective are hybrid cars vs regular cars?

Hybrid cars vs regular cars Whenever gas prices soar, we can't help but ponder the idea of going hybrid with our next car purchase. Sure, the upfront costs are a little more, but hopefully the fuel savings will more than make up for the higher sticker price. In addition to fuel savings there may be other advantages such as government rebates, reduced greenhouse emissions and other incentives such as 'status' when driving a hybrid.

All other things being equal, the initial purchase price of a hybrid model in Canada may be several thousand dollars more than the non-hybrid model. You'll want to do a side by side comparison of the two to get the initial difference in price. For example, in Southern Ontario the base price of a Honda Civic EX Sedan is $15,440 and the Civic hybrid is $24,990. To justify that $10,000 difference, you'll need to do a lot of driving to recoup your initial outlay of cash. That shouldn't be too difficult as fuel prices are sure to climb over that amortization period.

Based on an average fuel efficiency of 6.2 L/100 km (7.1 L/100km (city)) / 5.0L/100km (highway) for the Civic EX vs 4.5 L/100 km average (4.7L/100km (city) / 4.3L/100km (highway)) for the hybrid; mileage of 15,000 km per year, and an average fuel price of $1.30/L; we can calculate the difference in fuel costs between the two models.

Using those numbers, the Civic EX will run you about $1209 compared to $877.50 per year when driving the hybrid. Of course, driving habits will affect mileage, fuel economy and savings; as will gas prices in the future.

Sweetening the deal, there are several provincial rebate programs in effect throughout 2013. The Ontario government is offering a rebate of up to $8,500 towards the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicle. Quebec, BC and PEI are each offering their own incentives.

Take a good look at your driving habits, provincial incentives available and budget. If you do a lot of city driving and live in Ontario, a hybrid model may save you a significant amount of money. If you spend most of your time clocking miles on the highway and live in a province that doesn't offer significant incentives to go hybrid, it may not be for you.

If nothing else, you'll get to support new technology, do something good for the environment and get to park right in front of the door at Ikea!

By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca

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