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
Years to
Pay Back at
Years to
Pay Back at
Savings - 10 Years
at $4.00/gal minus
Price Difference
Lincoln2012 MKZ Hybrid$039<1<1$13,187
Lincoln2012 MKZ 6cyl 21   
Buick2012 LaCrosse eAssist$029<1<1$7,882
Buick2012 LaCrosse 6cyl 21   
Cadillac2012 Escalade Hybrid 4wd$2,175211.91.5$9,254
Cadillac2012 Escalade Premium Awd 15   
Chevrolet2013 Malibu Eco$545292.31.8$1,842
Chevrolet2012 Malibu 2LT 26   
Toyota2012 Camry Hybrid XLE$1,480402.31.8$4,949
Toyota2012 Camry XLE 28   
Toyota2012 Highlander Hybrid 4wd$3,240283.22.6$6,910
Toyota2012 Highlander SE 4wd 19   
Buick2012 Regal eAssist$2,000293.73.0$3,397
Buick2012 Regal 4cyl 23   
Ford2012 Fusion Hybrid$3,055394.03.2$4,637
Ford2012 Fusion SEL 4cyl 26   
Honda2012 Civic Hybrid$2,095444.13.3$3,019
Honda2012 Civic EX-L Automatic 32   
Toyota2012 Prius c One$2,850504.23.4$3,900
Toyota2012 Yaris 5-Door LE Automatic 32   
GMC2012 Yukon Denali Hybrid 4wd$5,125214.53.6$6,304
GMC2012 Yukon Denali Awd 15   
Toyota2012 Prius Two$4,315504.63.7$5,114
Toyota2012 Matrix 28   
Honda2012 Insight Hybrid$2,375424.73.7$2,694
Honda2012 Fit Automatic 31   
Kia2012 Optima Hybrid$2,500374.83.8$2,712
Kia2012 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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