How much do you enjoy going to the gas station? While gas prices have been lower recently, it can still be a painful process. Thankfully there has been a lot of growth in the hybrid car market. What was once fairly limited now offers many options. If you're looking at a hybrid car, consider some of the following.
How a Hybrid Car Can Save You Money
More expensive upfront, the best hybrid cars provide savings opportunities over the life of the car. The obvious savings opportunity comes when you fill up the tank. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) reports the average mile per gallon for new cars was 25.3 for March 2016. While good, the best hybrid cars can do significantly better.
Many of the top hybrid cars average a combined miles per gallon of 40 or greater. That adds up to a significant savings over the life of a car; a quick calculation of how many miles you drive can show you exactly how much money you'd save every year with a hybrid. The savings doesn't stop with gas, though. Following are other savings opportunities:
- Potential insurance savings with insurers who believe hybrid car drivers present lower risks for car accidents.
- Tax credits are possible for plug-in hybrids or electric cars.
Maintenance costs on hybrid cars vs. traditional cars is a tossup. While much of the regular maintenance is the same for both gas powered and hybrid cars, you will likely see savings on brakes in hybrid cars thanks to their regenerative braking.
It's Not All Savings
The best hybrid cars are touted as money saving vehicles. However, that's not always the case. One of the primary benefits, the tax credit, was phased out several years ago and is currently only available for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
The loss of a tax credit aside, the biggest factor against hybrid cars is their sticker price. "A hybrid vehicle can be as much as 20 percent more expensive than its counterpart powered by a conventional gasoline engine," says Edmunds.com. This can pose a significant hurdle to those who want to buy a hybrid car but don't have the upfront funds to purchase the car.
You will also face added cost with needing to replace the hybrid battery. Taken with the savings potential, you need to do the math to see if it makes sense for your budget.
5 Best Hybrid Cars
Savings and costs aside, there are many hybrid cars in the market. Here are five of the best hybrid cars right now:
Ford Fusion Hybrid/Energi
Edmunds.com lists the Ford Fusion as one of the best hybrid cars on the market. With an admittedly lower MPG of 38 – 42 it's a great family car offering comfortable seating. If you want a fully electronic vehicle, the Fusion provides that option as well.
Toyota Prius C
The Toyota Prius is one of the best-known hybrid cars. The scaled down C model provides good gas mileage of 46 MPG on the interstate and 53 MPG in town. Car and Driver lists the Prius C as starting at just over $20,000, which makes it a good fit for cost conscious drivers.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
If you want a hybrid SUV, you're in luck with the Highlander Hybrid. While the MPG of 28 is lower, it's respectable for an SUV. Edmunds.com praises it for being the only hybrid SUV that offers three rows with plenty of available options.
For those wanting a higher-end hybrid, the Lexus CT is a good option to consider. Car and Driver reports it's based on the Toyota Prius and boasts 42 MPG. The CT provides a luxury option without a luxury price tag, coming in at $32,200 new.
The final car on the list is the Honda CR-Z. Car and Driver reports it's Honda's attempt to provide sports car enthusiasts a sporty hybrid option. With a respectable 36 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway, it's a good option for those who don't want to lose out on speed.
Hybrid cars have come a long way over the past decade. There are many options to consider, based on your given need. If cost is the most important factor to you, make sure to do the math before buying to ensure that the savings will be worth the higher price tags that come with hybrid vehicles.
However, if efficiency and environmental impact matter most to you, then you will find plenty of options to choose from in the hybrid car category.