Hybrid Cars, Your Budget and the Environment

Little green car

Driving a hybrid car can save you money at the pump, but is the savings in gas worth the added expense associated with buying and owning one? And is saving money the only advantage to driving green?  This debate rages on among budget-minded and environmentally-conscious car buyers alike. In this section, we highlight the important considerations involved with buying and owning a green car to help you determine whether driving green is the right choice for you — not only for the planet, but for your pocket too.  

The price of buying a hybrid car

Hybrid cars have been available to the public for about ten years now. In the first few years after their introduction, hybrid cars could cost upwards of $2,000 to $10,000 more than comparable gasoline-powered cars. At those initial price premiums, it could have easily taken decades for the car to pay off in fuel savings. However, times are changing.  While there are still some costly hybrids on the market, many are offered at more affordable prices, with the gap between hybrid car price tags and conventional car price tags narrowing.  Be sure to research hybrid car prices at LendingTree before you visit your local dealer or before you submit a new car purchase request online.

Hybrid car insurance and maintenance costs

Due to a variety of reasons, hybrid cars traditionally cost more to insure than conventional cars.  For starters, hybrid cars tend to be smaller and smaller cars typically sustain more damage in an accident.  What's more, the high tech parts and specialized labor involved with repairing hybrids could cost a small fortune whether you're involved in an accident or not. Even though hybrid repair costs are starting to align more closely with their gasoline counterparts, it's important to take these expenses into consideration ahead of time, before you sign on the dotted line.

Is a hybrid car a smart investment? Do the math

Unfortunately, the decision to buy a hybrid car isn't an easy one.  There are many factors involved — factors that can vary dramatically based on your own unique situation.  The time required to break even on a hybrid car (or to recoup in fuel savings what it cost to purchase a hybrid) can differ significantly depending on the type of hybrid you drive, the amount of miles you drive and the average fuel prices in your area.  For example, drivers in Los Angeles typically break even on their hybrid investments more quickly than drivers in other U.S. markets because they tend to drive more miles each year while paying higher fuel costs in the process. Even then, only certain hybrid cars make financial sense for Los Angeles drivers due to varying MPG ratings.  Before you buy, take into consideration the added purchase expense, the average number of miles you drive and the average fuel prices in your area to determine if a hybrid makes good financial sense for you.

Is cost the only hybrid car consideration?

If you care about saving the environment, the answer to this question is a simple one.  For millions of car buyers, hybrid cars mean much more than saving money at the pump — they represent an evolution away from fossil fuel dependence, a way of preserving our natural resources and protecting our environment from the harmful effects of smog, ozone and pollution.  For many, paying more to buy, insure and maintain a hybrid is worth every penny when it comes to saving the planet.

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