Lower Gas But Higher Purchase Prices: Are Hybrids Worth It?
Your current car needs a new transmission. You scoff at the repair bill and decide to get a new car. But you don't know where to start.
You visit a car lot and notice some hybrid options. The car salesman says it will help you save on gas costs in the long-term. You're also conscious about the environment and want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Are hybrids worth it?
It depends on several factors, such as how often you drive and how long you intend to keep the car. A hybrid is worth the buy if you drive long distances. And, hybrids are great investments if you intend to keep the car longer.
However, the cost of hybrid cars is more expensive than the gasoline variety. This article will show you more of the pros and cons of hybrid ownership. Let's explore.
Going the Distance
What does a hybrid car mean? A hybrid vehicle is one that uses a combination of power sources, such as internal combustion and electric motors. The electric motor component can help owners save on gasoline costs in the long-term.
With that, owners can only save money if they intend to drive the car over 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year. If not, the cost-savings factor is invalid since hybrids come with a heftier price tag.
Gas Price Determination
Moreover, hybrids are great investments when gas prices are higher. Hybrids became popular choices when gas prices rose to $4/gallon. However, hybrid cars are becoming less cost-effective due to slashes in fuel costs.
Gas prices have lowered over the years, mostly due to an oil glut in the energy market. Therefore, hybrid cars have become the pricier option that will not yield long-term savings for many drivers.
The Insurance Problem
What drivers will save on the road in fuel costs could also cost them in terms of insurance premiums. Insurance companies charge higher premiums for hybrids. Why do they come with more expensive premiums?
Here are the reasons:
- Small Size: The smaller size makes them more likely to get into accidents. Premiums are higher for riskier vehicles.
- Higher Costs: Hybrids are expensive cars overall. A damaged or stolen hybrid means costlier options.
However, the rates will depend on the hybrid type and where you live. Regardless, hybrid cars can cost seven percent more under insurance plans. However, the cost varies across the board.
High-cost premiums aside, drivers can still save money if you intend to keep the car for anywhere between a few years to a decade or more. If you don't want to keep the car long-term, the time it takes to save money on fuel costs will not be enough.
You must keep the car long enough to cover the difference from the high price tag. This is not a car that will yield short-term savings.
Rather, this is a quality investment that will yield long-term savings if you intend to keep the car long-term and will drive it frequently.
However, long-term hybrid owners face certain risks. Since these cars haven't been around for that long, no one truly knows the viability of these cars.
And, drivers must consider the depreciation value over time. However, hybrid cars retain a high degree of value throughout the years.
Buying a Used Hybrid
Value retention is a draw if you intend to resell the car. However, you should be cautious if you intend to buy a used hybrid. A hybrid car seller could sell the car because of the high mileage.
Cars with higher mileage (100,000 miles or over) could call for repairs.
And since hybrid cars typically have higher repair bills, you could pay thousands more in upfront costs. The battery replacement alone for a typical hybrid costs around $2,000. Depending on the hybrid, battery replacement can cost up to $5,000.
Or, the seller may be offering it because the warranty expired. The good news is that hybrid cars have longer warranties. And, it's worth noting that hybrid vehicles come with fewer maintenance requirements than gasoline cars.
If you intend to buy a hybrid, ask about the warranty and battery first. Then, drive the vehicle to get a sense of how it runs.
Finally, take the car to a mechanic of your choice to assess the condition before you buy it. Ideally, find a mechanic who knows hybrid vehicles to get a better assessment.
Some of the most reliable used hybrid cars include:
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Prius
- Ford Escape
Even though buying used has its drawbacks, a used car may still be worth the purchase. A used hybrid car can cost between $8,000 and $20,000 less than a new one.
How Much Does a New Hybrid Cost?
The cost of a new hybrid varies with the make and model. For example, a Japanese Sudan can cost between $30,000 to $45,000.
On the other hand, European counterparts on the high-end scale can run up to $60,000 or more. Even the so-called luxury models can start at $30,000. If you're looking for financing, you can look up "buy here pay here near me" and find some options.
The good news is that you can have a variety of hybrids that suit your budget and preference. And, they're cheaper than owning an electric car. Overall, electric vehicles hover in the $50K price range.
A hybrid is a good alternative if you want to save money and contribute to a greener footprint on the earth.
Are Hybrids a Viable Green Alternative?
Hybrids still rely on internal-combustion engines. And, the lithium batteries come with a separate form of environmental damage.
For example, miners typically locate lithium and cobalt materials in mountain ranges. Lithium and cobalt are two resources needed to create the batteries.
Miners must destroy entire mountains to extract these resources. Regardless of the tradeoff, hybrid cars still leave less of a carbon footprint than standard cars.
Are Hybrids Worth It Overall?
A hybrid car is worth the investment if you want to keep the car for years to come. To save on costs, you must make up for the high price tag with lower fuel costs in the long-term. And, you will only save money if you're on the road frequently.
Hybrids are great buys when gas prices are higher.
Are hybrids worth it in terms of environmental benefits? Even though there are environmental tradeoffs, they're still better for the environment overall.
Interested in reading more? Check out more of our blog to learn more about hybrid cars.