With gas prices so high many people are considering buying a hybrid. Should you? There are many factors to consider, the main ones being:
- Do you need a new car or are you just buying a hybrid to save gas money?
- How much gas money will you save with a hybrid versus conventional cars?
- Will your new hybrid cost more to insure and register than the car you are currently driving?
- Will a hybrid fit your driving needs?
If you have a car that you are satisfied with, it is unlikely that buying a hybrid will save you any money when considering the total cost of ownership (gas, maintenance, registration, insurance, and vehicle cost). Although it is painful buying gas at $4 a gallon, a new car will probably come with a new car payment as well as higher insurance and registration costs. It will take a lot of gas savings to offset these increased costs.
If you are considering a hybrid because your old car is worn out, or you just are not satisfied with your current car, hybrids are definitely worth considering. I suggest you do the math and determine how much gas money a hybrid will save you in a typical year of driving versus other cars you are considering. You can determine your gas savings for a year by taking total miles driven, dividing by the estimated fuel mileage for any car, and multiply the gallons saved with the hybrid by the cost of gasoline.
For example, if you drive 10,000 miles/year and a hybrid you are considering gets 40 mpg, your total fuel consumption in a year is 10,000/40 = 250 gallons. If another non hybrid car you are considering gets 25 mpg than your total fuel consumption is 10,000/25 = 400 gallons. The non hybrid car will require 150 more gallons of fuel per year (400 gallons – 250 gallons), so at $4 per gallon will cost $600 ($4 gallon x 150 gallons) more per year in gas costs. If the hybrid is more expensive, is the additional vehicle cost worth saving $600/year in fuel?
There are many other factors that may influence you decision, but make sure you understand the real gas cost savings the hybrid will be providing before making your decision.