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Hybrid Sedans Take At Least 6 Years to Pay Off

October 13, 2011

Bottom line: Are hybrids worth the money?

There are too many variables to answer that question simply, outnumbered only by the methods of determining the answer.'s Kicking Tires blog takes the most direct approach when it comes to fuel savings.

In an effort to make comparisons as fair as possible, Kicking Tires put each hybrid up against its non-hybrid counterpart with equipment as similar as possible.

Automakers go to great lengths to make such comparison shopping difficult by eliminating availability of the exact same array of options and features on both models.

The comparison was made assuming a gas price of $3.67 per gallon - the current national average. If prices are higher in your area - or you expect a significant rise in prices during ownership of the vehicle - the hybrid's payoff may come considerably sooner. This would also vary quite a bit depending upon how many miles you drive annually.

Which hybrid is the best deal compared to its non-hybrid counterpart?

The Kia Optima and Toyota Camry win this one with six years before the higher initial cost is justified in fuel savings. The Ford Fusion comes in at eight years while the Hyundai Sonata (which shares its platform with the Optima) requires ten years.

They also threw in the diesel version of the Volkswagen Passat for comparison, with its 10-year payoff.

These numbers do not take into account things like re-sale value. A numbers-based comparison also cannot account for the intrinsic value you might, or might not, get from owning the hybrid.


My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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