A while back, the New York Times worked with truecar.com to study whether or not hybrid cars really do save money. The findings revealed that for most hybrids it would take a long time (up to a decade!) for the improved mileage to reach the point where it balanced out the cost of the car.
According to the Nashville Business Journal, however, there are exceptions to these findings, including the Toyota Prius and the Volkswagen diesel Jetta, which both take less than two years to start saving money for their owners.
Even though hybrids might not pay off soon in terms of gas mileage, here are a few other economic benefits to be aware of when considering the purchase of a hybrid car:
Federal, State and City Incentives. New hybrids may entitle their owners to federal tax credits, and some states and municipalities offer single driver privileges in the carpool lane or discounted/free parking in addition to tax credits. It’s important to note, however, that in some areas the number of owners who can claim the incentives has already been reached.
Employer Incentives. Some companies offer up to $5000 to employees who purchase a hybrid, including Bank of America, Sony and Clif Bar, just to name a few.
Loan Discounts. Many credit unions offer cheaper financing for a hybrid car than for a conventional car, including financing for used cars.
Insurance Discounts. Some companies offer discounted insurance rates to hybrid drivers in some states.
Resale Value. Hybrid cars hold their value better than non-hybrid versions of the same model; the difference can be as much as $6,000.
Hybrids can cost as much as 20% more than gas-powered cars, and electric cars are even pricier. At the moment, the increased gas mileage doesn’t offset the higher price for owners until the car has been driven for about 6 ½ years (at 15,000 miles a year). But if you’re considering purchasing a hybrid, factor in the other incentives described above. It just might turn out to be the right choice for you.