Department | Vehicle Purchasing

Are Hybrids Worth the Hype?

Yes and No

Hybrid vehicles can be an excellent buy and can, in fact, save you lots of money in gas over the long term if you use them to their full advantage. On the other hand, if you pay the premium price on one over a regular gas vehicle and do not drive to use the hybrid features efficiently, you may never recoup the extra cost.

A Brief Lesson on How Hybrids Work

Hybrids work using a variety of technologies that combine the standard gas engine with electric cells (batteries) to power the car, so sometimes the vehicle is running on gasoline, and sometimes it is running on pure electricity. The times that the car runs on electricity are the times when the savings are passed directly to you. For most hybrids, the car’s electric running is during slower or stop-and-go traffic.

Yes, It’s Worth It:

  • If you drive A LOT in traffic or at speeds less than around 40MPH.
  • If you’re a local driver - just to the store and back.
  • If you can afford the higher price without struggle.

No, It’s Not Worth It:

  • If you do a lot of highway driving.
  • If you typically drive faster than normal traffic.
  • If the higher payments will cause a strain on your budget versus buying a regular economy car.

In deciding whether to buy a hybrid, keep in mind that while the cars save you money in gas from day one, you will likely pay many thousands of dollars more for one over the price of a regular gasoline car with great gas mileage. Comparatively, it could take you more than a few years to regain that extra initial cost in savings - especially if you do not drive in such a manner as to reap the greatest benefit from the car’s electric systems. These caveats include those who would buy a hybrid because it is ‘green’ and good for the environment. The benefit to the environment comes from using fewer fossil fuels, but if you buy one and commute to work at 70 MPH down the highway, you are ultimately doing very little or nothing at all for the environment.