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When do hybrids start saving money?

If gas is $4 a gallon and you drive a hybrid 13,500 miles a year, 55 percent of the time in the city, you\'ll save about $650 a year. (AP)

WASHINGTON – There’s not much question that hybrid vehicles get better mileage, but when do these more expensive cars offset the cost of rising gas prices?

The Los Angeles Times has done the math.

Some of the newer hybrids boast up to an efficient 47 mpg. But, according to the Times, the cars will have to be driven for five years before their costs are recouped.

Where the cars are being driven also is a factor. Hybrids are most efficient in a city’s stop-and-go traffic, and less so on the highway.

Also worth considering: the higher-priced hybrid will take longer to pay for itself. Some brands, such as the Buick LaCrosse, don’t charge extra for the hybrid version.

The savings add up for hybrid drivers the longer they own their cars and as gas prices rise. Hybrids also have higher resale values.

WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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