Hybrid Cars Vs. Gasoline Cars


Hybrid cars are all the craze these days, but how much do we actually know about them? When comparing hybrids and gasoline-only cars, there may not be as many benefits to hybrids as you think. Considering all costs, as well as all environmental ramifications, gasoline run cars are still often the better choice, with two major exceptions: there are no tax credits for cars that run on gasoline and hybrids tend to have a much higher resale value.

Cost of Vehicle

  • Hybrid vehicles are can be more expensive than their non-hybrid counterparts, but have a much higher resale value. While cheaper gas may seem like a great way to save money, if you are a consumer who gets a new car every year or two, it is likely that you won't see any overall savings compared with buying a gas-only car. Additionally, many of the tax credits associated with hybrids are one-time only, meaning that you would only get the credit on your first hybrid car purchase. that being said, if you tend to keep your cars for five or more years, a hybrid can be a much better option in this area.

Maintenance Costs

  • Many of the maintenance activities on both hybrid cars and non-hybrid cars are similar. However, the batteries in hybrids don't last forever and are very expensive to replace. Hybrid cars require new batteries approximately every 80,000 miles, and new batteries cost between $5,000 and $8,000. Non-hybrids, on the other-hand, often need new timing belts and batteries around the same time, but the total cost is around $400.

Gas Mileage

  • While some hybrids, such as the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid, can get as much as 49 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, there are many hybrids that get 30 mpg or less. According to fueleconomy.gov, the non-hybrid 2009 Toyota Prius also gets 48 mpg, but has a much lower price tag. Many non-hybrid Volkswagens in the market today, such as the Jetta, get 30 mpg or more and without the premium cost of a hybrid can result in a more luxurious car at a better price.

Environmental Ramifications

  • Volkswagen has a new hybrid vehicle slated for production in 2013 called the L1, which will get between 170 to 240mpg. While the L1 is only a two-seater, this is the type of gas mileage needed for hybrids to become an actual environmental benefit. It is true that many hybrids get better gas mileage than their gas-only counterparts, however, after accounting for the waste that goes into scrapping these older cars, as well as the emissions from building the hybrids themselves, you're left with no real benefits. Until the average hybrid sees gas mileage closer to that of the Volkswagen L1, standard gas guzzlers are still comparable.

Tax Credits

  • Owners of hybrid cars bought on or after Dec. 31, 2005, may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400, in addition to any state tax incentives available where you live. The New Energy Tax Credit offers incentives for consumers to buy hybrid cars, but the tax credit depends on the manufacturer of your car. Once a manufacturer has sold more than 60,000 vehicles eligible for the credit, the amount of the credit will begin to decline. While a car running on gas may not get you a tax credit, it is likely that the price for a comparable gas-powered car is at least $3,400 less than the cost of a hybrid. For example, the Honda Civic is $19,500, while the Honda Civic Hybrid starts at $22,600. While that isn't quite $3,400 difference, higher-end hybrids and their non-hybrid counterparts have a much bigger price difference.

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