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The Real Costs of Owning a Hybrid

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited November 2015 in General
The Real Costs of Owning a Hybrid

Does the fuel economy of a hybrid offset the higher cost? We take you through the possible hidden costs and benefits of owning a hybrid vehicle.

Read the full story here


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    null_3null_3 Member Posts: 1
    How much does it cost to replace the battery pack? Can they be charged with 110 outlet? What about the Mitsubishi pick up truck Hybrid, where is it? Where are the used hybrids to be found?
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    r0n724r0n724 Member Posts: 1
    My nephews girlfriend owns an 08 saturn vue hybrid. It gets great mileage. It's quiet. It's comfortable. It's now dead! I went out to dinner with them the other night when all of a sudden the gas engine started going on and off...power stearing went.. no dash lights.. no headlights or tail lights...everything electrical was dead.. with the gas enging constantly turning on and off. She had it towed to a Chevy dealer who says the hybrid system is toast! Luckily the car is still under warranty and will be repaired. However, if this car wasnt under warranty she would be stuck with anything from 4000.00 plus for the repair.. according to the dealership. Sometimes hybrids arent all that good to own.
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    scepticksceptick Member Posts: 1
    This article is mis - named and appears to be a promo for the hybrid industry. Show the math; do what the article title states and list the comparative costs, in numbers. Previous studies show that buying a new fuel-saving economy car costs a LOT more than continuing to drive your paid-for gas guzzler. How, then, does paying 2X and more for a hybrid ever save money?
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    basavagebasavage Member Posts: 1
    I've talked to many hybrid owners. There is a worry that many have that is not mentioned or ignored in this article. That being how expensive will the battery packs be when they do eventually wear out after the warranty expires. While the manufacturers are improving I've met several who've used their battery pack warranty in the first year or two. That means they got stranded.

    While the owners love the gas milage in town, some have complained about their gas milage on their first trip. Remember that a hybrids milage is much higher in city driving because they use the electrical side more, it is lower on the freeway because the engine is worked harder. Just an FYI.
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    newcuban1234newcuban1234 Member Posts: 1
    Only one problem. You have to make $250,000 a year on your W2 form to receive the taxcredit. If you and the wife are GS-15 0r college professors you probably can get the credit......For the average American you are out of luck.....................
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    backtothefuturbacktothefutur Member Posts: 0
    WHAT is a FOUR YEAR OLD article doing here?? An all electric car requires OIL-FIRED generation of electricity which equates to 47 mpg. The real SNAKE-OIL is the ethanol, heavily subsidized, taking almost as much energy as it produces. To be commercially viable, e-85 fuel should sell for 30% less than gasoline due to it's 30% less energy; That means $2.50 a gallon compared to $3.60 gasoline today.
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    meridian62meridian62 Member Posts: 1
    Please explain the cost of charging the batteries regardless of voltage 110 V vs 220 V, Watts is what is important. In NYC the actual cost for electricity is approximately 30 cents per KWh, that includes supply charges, power cost and taxes plus all the freebees mandated by government!
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    kev66us1kev66us1 Member Posts: 1
    Volkswagon Golf Bluemotion crushes all these hybrids.
    Too bad our government will not allow them to be sold here.
    75 mpg is pretty damn good.
    Ford also has cars in Europe that top 70 mpg which again, are not allowed to be sold here. Don't buy the pollution lie they try to sell you either, do the math....
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    dand4dand4 Member Posts: 1
    There's quite a bit missing in this.

    1) I didn't find any hybrid vehicle which was only $1,700 above the price of a similar vehicle when I was searching for a vehicle.

    2) Dealers are much more willing to negotiate a much lower price on a traditional car rather than a hybrid vehicle.

    3) Interest charges for paying all that extra money up front are discussed. And if you pay for it all in cash, the lost interest.

    4) The extra costs of replacing a battery or charging system when it needs to be replaced. (The first car I bought in lieu of a hybrid is still running past 180,000 miles and I don't have that extra huge expense to keep using it. With a hybrid, I would have probably needed to buy a new vehicle again by now)

    5) Extra charge of fitting your garage with a charging station (not necessary, but probably a good idea if you are doing hybrids)

    6) There are other cars available which just as good of gas mileage and are not hybrids.
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    emeraldislesemeraldisles Member Posts: 1
    $1,326.00 (based on an estimated 100 mile charge at a cost of $2.75 per charge times 365 days of the year) is the average difference of the EXTENDED costs of fuel for a hybrid vs a regular gas fed car. As we know, electricity prices are sky rocketing as the Administration and EPA impose more taxes and other fees to the cost of electricity to the average home. In addition, what people aren't seeing is that we really AREN'T helping the environment by buying Hybrids. Let me explain why. We receive our electricity in our homes in various ways, mostly through coal, nuclear and petroleum sources. So to supply that extra electric to charge these cars, actually increases pollution in the long run because you have to burn regular fuels in order to generate the electricity (that no one wants to add to the fuel costs on these cars because it isn't 'PC' to do so) That negates the whole 'Planet' saving idea in a nutshell!
    In addition, when it comes to disposing of the batteries in these cars, there is NO recycle program set up yet! With the 2004 hybrid batteries just now hitting the recycle stage, with more expected each year, what does THAT say about polluting our planet?
    So, add the extra costs of these cars in purchase dollars, the additional costs of the electric used to propel them (for very short distances of 50 miles a battery Avg.) and what really is the difference? None! You are actually paying more for the 'privilege’ to run a 'supposedly' (and extremely untrue) planet saving vehicle! Add to that the fact that the added pollution in terms of creating the extra electricity you need to run these vehicles as well as the fast approaching emergency of what to do about the inability to properly recycle the batteries, and you are actually adding MORE pollution to the environment then if you simply drove a reg. fueled car which has all of the pollution features required by law and is in proper working order.
    I love when the government and environmental agencies try and shove ‘new’ and ‘better’ ideas down the public’s throat. They will stoop to any available low in order to push their agenda and you can pretty much figure that it is generally full of lies and holes and will cost you more then the prior established. Wind farms are not only not feasible as a steady, reliable (they have to have wind so can’t be used in most areas of the country) energy source. Coal plants are our main source of electricity but with the Administration and Environmentalists influenced “war’ on coal is (closing coal plants at an alarming rate and consequently) driving up the price of coal causing electricity prices to soar around the country. If you are lucky enough to have energy supplied by a nuclear plant, that’s great, but the costs of building and maintenance of a nuclear plant are always offset by increased electricity rates for the consumers. Environmentalists claim that we all leave a carbon footprint which is detrimental to our planet. We leave less of a footprint today then they will admit and not much more then we have for thousands of years on this planet because of all of the environmental laws in effect today! So their idea that man is bad for earth and therefore has no right to walk on earth is absurd. People need to wake up, stop listening to governments, which are highly influenced by large business, lobbyists and their own pocketbooks, AND environmental groups with their inefficient, expensive and ridiculous ideas, and start using common sense. Google for facts and you will find them. Do your own homework and don’t rely on skewered ‘Government’ websites for your figures, because I guarantee that these sites stats ARE skewered…to meet someone else’s agenda and rob you of more money while making you feel ‘good’ about the robbery through misinformation, in the process.
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    jdm63jdm63 Member Posts: 1
    Toyota may be somewhat optimistic regarding their battery replacement data.
    My parent's Prius, at 75K miles started having battery issues and they were quoted $6k to replace the HV Battery assembly by the dealership. They were made a generous trade offer on a new Prius though. They turned it down and traded in on another manufacturer. My neighbor also owns a Prius and her battery began to weaken substantially at around 65K miles, this dealership quoted her $5,800 for replacement, more than what the car books at. Hybrid design is a fantastic concept and is truly a green product that helps reduce our output of greenhouse gases, but don't go into one thinking its going to save you money,
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    tinalemostinalemos Member Posts: 1
    Hybrid car has many options with minimizing fuel expenses and better pollution control options, which I have heard with some car owners in my area. However, some Prius owners express their thoughts on its higher cost of maintenance and repairs.
    However, they have found some of the cheap options that drastically reduce their expanses on any car maintenance. They gather some valuable tips from online sites like HiPerformer.com and then follow them properly.
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    royagbroyagb Member Posts: 1
    @ emeraldisles, Much of what you say is true and worthy of consideration but it's my understanding you don't plug in a hybrid.
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    olmstwolmstw Member Posts: 3

    What are you talking about???? I have owned several hybrids and I have NEVER "plugged" one in....

    So.... Aside from turning on the lights in the garage to be able to see my way to the car, I've never used even 1 WH for my car.
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    olmstwolmstw Member Posts: 3
    @ jdm63

    That's why you purchase an extended warrantee when you purchase the car..... My battery is covered for 10 years or 100K miles.... Actually, the hybrid is cheaper to maintain and, what repairs are required, are less expensive...
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    olmstwolmstw Member Posts: 3
    @ backtothefutur...

    Why are you discussing "OIL-FIRED generation of electricity"???

    Modern hybrids DO NOT "plug in" to AC power... My Prius averages 48mpg.

    And no, I don't work for Toyota ^_*
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    mikec65mikec65 Member Posts: 1
    Emeraldisles, you're an... well, let me be nice. You have no idea what you're talking about. This article is about gas-electric hybrids, not plug in hybrids. Gas-electric hybrids (like the regular Prius, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid) are not charged externally; that is, they are never plugged in. All their energy comes from burning gasoline, and that includes the creation of the electricity used to charge the batteries. Therefore, all your talk of where electricity in the home comes from is irrelevant to a non plug-in gas-electric hybrid, as is your calculation of cost savings. The reason why gas-electric hybrids are more efficient than conventional powertrains is that the ability to store energy generated by burning gasoline in batteries for later use enables the gas engine to be utilized more efficiently. With a gas-electric hybrid, the gas engine can run in a more efficient range, but generating more power than is needed at a particular time to move the car, and the excess power can be stored in the batteries and used later. Thus, overall, the vehicle is more efficient. Other things that make the vehicle more efficient are the ability to store energy that otherwise would have been lost to braking in the batteries (regenerative braking), and the engine stop-start system that turns off the engine when the vehicle is stopped. All these things increase the efficiency of the vehicle. Externally generated electricity and where it comes from is completely irrelevant to a gas-electric non plug-in hybrid.
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    edub5edub5 Member Posts: 1
    In response to emeraldisles comment:

    This article appears to be about hybrid vehicles, which receive their charge not from the power grid/coal/solar, etc. These vehicles generate their own power, and store it locally, the power generation and storage don't rely on coal or the power grid.

    You may have been thinking about a plug in hybrid, which is a different type of vehicle.

    Yes, any type of hybrid may be bad for the environment due to the production and eventual disposal of all those batteries.
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    megamilesmegamiles Member Posts: 1
    Time for a reality check. I am a high mileage driver as I commute 120 miles a day or an average of 650/miles a week. So at 2 years and 8 months I had accumulated 96000 plus miles. At that time I had an AMI warning light which indicated complete failure of the battery pack. First my Honda dealer indicated that the battery pack was only covered for 80,000 miles. Since the cost to replace the battery pack I was quoted was $4500 I complained and asked my dealer to contact Honda. The warranty was then extended to 100,000 miles but then Honda corporate decided not to replace the battery pack but add a software patch to spread the charge across the surviving Lithium cells. I found that this patch dropped my mileage from my usual 44/gal to less than 38/gal. The culprit being that cycle time was greatly compressed as the gas engine would be engaged for longer and more frequent times to charge the remaining cells. My research on line uncovered others with the similar problem. So if you do the math to compare the cost savings to the cost of replacing the battery pack it doesn't add up.
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    factualfactual Member Posts: 1
    emeraldisles bringa up some good points, however hybreds are not usually plugged in. Some of the conclusions are therefore not correct.
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    tellthetruth1tellthetruth1 Member Posts: 1
    Just one thing.
    You don't plug hybrids in. That's what the gasoline engine is for. To charge the car's battery.
    You plug all-electric (no gas motor) in.
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    j_macj_mac Member Posts: 0
    This lengthy discourse is about the economic and environmental costs of grid-supplied electricity and should not be confused with the non-plug-in hybrids. The mechanical or gasoline engine portion of the hybrid is subject to the same EPA environmental control standards as a non-hybrid engine, so that doesn't apply. Only the discussion of battery disposal is valid with a gas/electric combined hybrid.
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    vahybridvahybrid Member Posts: 1
    This article is nonsense. Check out the pages of complaints on hybrid systems in Highlanders dying at 120,000-130,000 miles and the owners getting stuck with $10,000 repair bills, or a hunk of metal that won't move.
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    fergusonfryfergusonfry Member Posts: 1
    Wow, people are firing off comments without reading. Some here are asking what is the price of the batteries? It tells you in the article. In my experience engines cost more than batteries and in euro diesels the commonly failing gearboxes are the biggest cost to worry about.
    emeraldisles, the word you are looking for is skewed meaning leaning one way, not skewered meaning to have a rod poked though. Don't be afraid of education. You seem to be talking about electric cars. the article is about hybrid cars. Hybrids make electricity by converting kinetic energy into electricity when the vehicle is slowing down. Normally the brakes of a conventional vehicle convert kinetic energy to heat via friction. Energy can not be destroyed, it is converted from one form to another. Hence, hybrids use energy normally wasted and use it for low speed travel and to power the functions of airconditioning when the car is stationary. Hence the engine doesn't have to idle. hence, you save fuel and reduce emissions.
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    guitarristaguitarrista Member Posts: 0
    After reading this article and the other comment, I felt a need to add my 2 cents. If you don't drive many miles, or drive mostly on the freeway, a hybrid may not be a money saver for you. However, If you drive hundreds of miles every week and spend some time in stop-and-crawl traffic every day, a hybrid will probably be a money saver. It comes down to figuring your fuel cost savings compared to the fuel cost for another car you might drive, as well as the purchase prices of the cars you are comparing.
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    chas2205chas2205 Member Posts: 1
    @Emeraldisles, your post is not correct. In fact, it is so misleading that I suspect you are paid to disseminate disinformation. Electricity is MUCH, MUCH less polluting than gasoline. By a factor of 10, and that's if your state produces all of it's el
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    priuslovrpriuslovr Member Posts: 1
    Well, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you will have many benefits from owning a Prius. Fuel savings is the greatest benefit for Californians. With the high cost of fuel in CA, and the amount of time we have to idle at stops or drive under 30 MPH in heavy freeways traffic, especially around the SF Bay Area, the gas savings add up quickly (gas savings = money savings). I bought a Prius for my wife in 2008, and I happily traded a Mercedes ML320 in the deal (nice SUV, but a super gas guzzler). Since 2008 my wife has been driving and filling her Prius gas tank for under $25, and drives in SF Bay traffic an entire week and sometimes more than a week between fill ups. At 110k miles her 2008 Prius is still a great car and running strong, and I haven't replaced the original brakes yet. The only maintenance I have done is 2 sets of tires and oil changes every 5k, and one cooling system flush. We couldn't be happier with our Prius. So happy, I am considering buying a second Prius V, for me (because I am a bigger guy and need more room). Nevertheless, we plan to keep our 08 Prius, and my gas guzzling 01 Dodge truck too. Even though my truck doesn't get much road action anymore, I keep it around while it still runs (after all, it has been paid for since 2005). So, go figure, why doesn't my truck get the same driving action as my Prius? - Simply because it is a gas guzzler and cost 3 times more to operate than the Prius. Those who hate Priuses should try driving one for a year. You will change your opinion about the benefits of owning a Prius, and you will love it, because you will actually notice your gas savings (remember; gas savings = money savings).
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    tommypresstommypress Member Posts: 5
    Still, the cost incurred would be less than the cost to maintain gasoline and diesel vehicles of the present era.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    A reporter would like to talk with car shoppers who either purchased or considered purchasing a Toyota Prius in the last few months. If you're willing to share your experience, please reach out to us at pr@edmunds.com by no later than Friday, September 16, 2016.
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    Cutting down on emission is one thing; cutting down earth's resources to produce all those batteries is another matter that very few discuss.
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