Questions over hybrid value . . . in the long run
Published 28/07/2010 | 05:00
HERE'S a finding that will set the cat among the pigeons. Researchers claim that buying a hybrid car because you believe it will be cheaper in the long run is wrong.
A British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) study compared the purchase, financing and fuel costs of 16 hybrid models.
It concluded that only one hybrid cost less to buy and then run, over a period of five years, than its more conventional petrol-powered counterpart.
That was the Mercedes S400 Hybrid Sedan which cost $5,000 (€3,800) less to own and operate.
The hybrids that came closest in cost to their conventional counterparts in purchase and operating costs were the Toyota models (Prius, right, Camry and Highlander Hybrid), all the Honda models (Insight and Civic Hybrid) and the Lexus HS250h.
The hybrids that were least costly to own and operate were the Honda Insight ($38,326), Toyota Prius ($40,324), and Honda Civic Hybrid ($42,664).
The Toyota Prius was found to have the lowest overall carbon emissions.
Trace Acres, BCAA's director of corporate communications and government relations, said: "Research shows that cost is not typically the main motivator for someone looking to purchase a hybrid.
"We believe many consumers are willing to pay a bit more to go hybrid if it will reduce their carbon footprint."
He added: "What we are seeing, however, is manufacturers starting to offer price breaks for things like cash sales, so the environmentally-conscious drivers may still be able to make a hybrid purchase work financially by shopping around."
Governments can help by keeping incentives and making the price attractive.