Are you thinking about purchasing a hybrid vehicle but wondering just how much money you will actually save with the hybrid technology and when?
Fueleconomy.gov has a nifty calculator that will figure this for you, allowing you to alter the number of miles you expect to drive each year as well as the ratio of highway to city and even the price of the fuel itself.
The hybrid/non-hybrid comparison tool shows that while some hybrids won’t actually show you a return on your investment via fuel savings for five years or more it does reveal a few that will put money in the bank as soon as you drive them off the lot.
For instance, the 2012 Lincoln MKZ midsize sedan with V-6 gasoline engine is the same MSRP as the MKZ Hybrid but the hybrid powertrain offers 39 mpg combined fuel economy compared with just 21 combined mpg in the gas version, saving you nearly 2-to-1 on fuel immediately.
The Buick LaCrosse with eAssist is another new model that finds “money under the seat” as soon as you leave the dealership with it.
By contrast, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid takes 5.5 years to see any payback when compared to a Camry LE with the 2.5-liter gasoline engine. Honda Civic Hybrid? Just 4.3 years. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid? A mere 5.1 years. And not all Buicks are made alike. The Buick Regal with eAssist won’t see any savings for 4.5 years when compared to similar Regal with the 2.4-liter Ecotec gas engine.
The above figures were all calculated using default figures in the EPA calculator of 15,000 miles traveled annually with a 55/45 percent split city/highway driving respectively and fuel going for $3.75 a gallon. Also, the EPA list of vehicles is limited to the 2012 model year at this time.