Some Hybrid Vehicles Becoming Sensible Purchases, According to

Some Hybrid Vehicles Becoming Sensible Purchases, According to


Some Hybrid Vehicles Becoming Sensible Purchases, According to

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — August 22, 2006 — latest hybrid study shows that despite higher sales prices, purchasing some — though not all — of today's hybrids can make good financial sense.

For the latest installment of its Fuel Economy Guide, compared the sales prices and annual gas expenses of hybrid vehicles and their non-hybrid counterparts.

"Our study revealed that high gas prices and generous tax credits now offset the high sales prices of some hybrids, assuming owners keep their hybrids for a few years," said Alex Rosten, Manager of Pricing and Market Analysis for's study indicates that the higher purchase price is completely recovered for the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius within three years of ownership, while buyers of the Honda Civic Hybrid, Saturn VUE Green Line and Toyota Camry Hybrid reach break-even within six years of ownership, in each case assuming the vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year.

Below is information on the best- and worst-performing hybrid vehicles in the study.

Vehicle Hybrid Cost Premium (Over Non-Hybrid) Annual Hybrid Gas Savings Years to break- even @ 15,000 miles per year Years to break-even @ 25,000 miles per year
2007 Saturn VUE 4dr SUV        
2007 Saturn VUE Hybrid 4dr SUV $1,660 $294 5.7 3.4
2007 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV        
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid 4dr SUV $1,218 $425 2.9 1.7
2007 Toyota Camry LE 4dr Sedan        
2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback $1,393 $671 2.1 1.2
2006 Honda Accord EX V-6 4dr Sedan        
2006 Honda Accord Hybrid 4dr Sedan $3,165 $280 11.3 6.8
2006 Toyota Highlander Limited 4dr SUV w/3rd Row        
2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited 4dr SUV $6,896 $445 12.6 7.5

Full tax credits are only provided to consumers until shortly after each manufacturer has sold 60,000 hybrids. After that threshold is reached, the tax credit gets cut in half. For Toyota and Lexus buyers, that threshold has been reached — so anyone who buys a Toyota or Lexus hybrid after September 30, 2006 will only qualify for half the tax credit. The credit for these models will drop to 25% in April 2007 and then to zero in October 2007.

"If you're in the market for a hybrid, right now is the best time to buy," said Joanne Helperin, Senior Editor of's Fuel Economy Guide. "It will take buyers much longer to break-even if their tax credit is halved."

This hybrid study assumed the vehicles were sold at the True Market Value® price and achieved the Environmental Protection Agency's recorded mileage for combined city and highway driving. The 2006 federal tax credit was applied when appropriate. Figures were calculated based on the assumption that one gallon of gasoline costs $3.00 (which was the nation's average price for regular unleaded fuel on Aug. 14, 2006). For more information about this study, please visit

About Edmunds ( publishes three Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers and enthusiasts. is the premier online resource for automotive consumer information. Perhaps the most popular product, True Market Value® pricing, is relied upon by millions of people seeking market-reflective valuations for new and used vehicles. was named "Best Car Research Site"by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New StudySM, was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line () launched in January 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace ( launched in February 2006 and is an automotive lifestyle social networking Web site for anyone with an interest in automobiles. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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