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Hybrid vehicles are typically very well equipped with standard amenities comparable to those found on the upper trim levels of their non-hybrid counterparts. Many consumers do not settle for the base model but rather opt for the higher trim levels with amenities that come standard on the hybrid model. For these consumers, a hybrid vehicle can offer real savings over time. The table below shows a selection of hybrid vehicles available for the 2012 and 2013 model years paired with a comparably equipped non-hybrid vehicle from the same manufacturer. With the exception of the Lincoln MKZ and Buick LaCrosse, where the hybrid model is offered as a zero cost alternative to the six cylinder model, the cost premiums for the hybrid models fall within a range of about $1,400 to $5,000*. The vehicles shown in the table below are those with a payback period of less than five years when the price of fuel is $4.00 per gallon.

Selected Hybrid Vehicles Paired with a Comparably Equipped Non-Hybrid Vehicle
Manufacturer Model Price
Difference
Combined
MPG
Years to
Pay Back at
$4/gal
Years to
Pay Back at
$5/gal
Savings - 10 Years
at $4.00/gal minus
Price Difference
Lincoln 2012 MKZ Hybrid $0 39 <1 <1 $13,187
Lincoln 2012 MKZ 6cyl   21      
Buick 2012 LaCrosse eAssist $0 29 <1 <1 $7,882
Buick 2012 LaCrosse 6cyl   21      
Cadillac 2012 Escalade Hybrid 4wd $2,175 21 1.9 1.5 $9,254
Cadillac 2012 Escalade Premium Awd   15      
Chevrolet 2013 Malibu Eco $545 29 2.3 1.8 $1,842
Chevrolet 2012 Malibu 2LT   26      
Toyota 2012 Camry Hybrid XLE $1,480 40 2.3 1.8 $4,949
Toyota 2012 Camry XLE   28      
Toyota 2012 Highlander Hybrid 4wd $3,240 28 3.2 2.6 $6,910
Toyota 2012 Highlander SE 4wd   19      
Buick 2012 Regal eAssist $2,000 29 3.7 3.0 $3,397
Buick 2012 Regal 4cyl   23      
Ford 2012 Fusion Hybrid $3,055 39 4.0 3.2 $4,637
Ford 2012 Fusion SEL 4cyl   26      
Honda 2012 Civic Hybrid $2,095 44 4.1 3.3 $3,019
Honda 2012 Civic EX-L Automatic   32      
Toyota 2012 Prius c One $2,850 50 4.2 3.4 $3,900
Toyota 2012 Yaris 5-Door LE Automatic   32      
GMC 2012 Yukon Denali Hybrid 4wd $5,125 21 4.5 3.6 $6,304
GMC 2012 Yukon Denali Awd   15      
Toyota 2012 Prius Two $4,315 50 4.6 3.7 $5,114
Toyota 2012 Matrix   28      
Honda 2012 Insight Hybrid $2,375 42 4.7 3.7 $2,694
Honda 2012 Fit Automatic   31      
Kia 2012 Optima Hybrid $2,500 37 4.8 3.8 $2,712
Kia 2012 Optima EX   28      

Note: Fuel savings and years to pay back are based on an assumption of 15,000 annual miles. Hybrid vehicles were matched to their most comparable non-hybrid counterpart in terms of vehicle content and performance within the same manufacturer. The Toyota Prius, Prius c and Honda Insight are unique hybrid models without a direct non-hybrid counterpart for comparison. They were matched to the model that was deemed closest to offering the same utility and amenities. No attempt was made to include cost factors beyond vehicle purchase price and fuel costs such as insurance, long term maintenance or resale value.

*The $545 price difference shown for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is disregarded in this price range because it is compared to a 2012 conventional Malibu. There was no conventional Malibu available for the 2013 model year at the time the comparison was made. The 2013 Malibu Eco is a completely redesigned model versus the 2012 model so the added costs associated with the hybrid system are difficult to measure.

Source: Compiled by Robert Boundy, Roltek, Inc., Clinton, TN, from manufacturer websites and the Fuel Economy Guide. Data accessed March 22, 2012.

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