07 May 2006

The real cost of a hybrid automobile

Gasoline-electric hybrids are hot these days, especially with the rising fuel prices (and anger over the obscene profits made by the oil companies). Among my acquaintances who blog, activist Karen Bradley of Democracy Cell Project, and author Gayle Brandeis of Fruitful, are proud owners of Honda Civic hybrids. And let's not forget another activist, John Andrews (also of Democracy Cell Project), who doesn't blog, but nevertheless drives an early-model Prius, and is probably looking for the new Camry hybrid.

I've just dug up this article from MSN Money, showing the cost of ownership for popular hybrids over a five-year period, compared to an identical/similar car that uses only gasoline. At least in the case of the Prius and the Civic, the savings are worthwhile - and this is before even counting in tax breaks.

In California, high-efficiency hybrids, such as the Prius and the Civic, are allowed to use the HOV lane even when driving solo. That means less congestion, which in turn means less fuel (and time) wasted, further adding to the savings.

Even though I am not considering a hybrid at this time (and still too mad over Toyota's labor records in the US to consider a Toyota or Lexus hybrid), this is definitely something to keep in mind. In fact, when the European luxury cars finally get into the hybrid game, I'll be ready to snap one up - though the Europeans, for now, seem to prefer diesel engines, as they do back home.

MSN Money