Payback periods for hybrid cars are a popular topic because hybrid cars are well known to have a higher purchase price than cars with standard engines. Typical calculations use the sales price of the hybrid, as well as the cost of gasoline, and possibly state and federal rebates. Hybrids don’t always come out ahead this way. With the addition of some other factors, hybrids provide a much greater cost savings than many consumers think.
Drivers typically purchase a hybrid car for a work commute. One of the perks of owning a hybrid is that some states, such as California, allow the driver to use the carpool lane when driving a hybrid to work. This can save significant amounts of money. Traffic often stalls for long periods of time on freeways, especially in Los Angeles and other large cities. A hybrid car does not burn fuel idling in the other traffic lanes. The driver can also get to work and leave work faster, and more work time often means the driver earns more money.
Hybrid cars are usually higher end than other competitors. Even when a hybrid is the same model as the non hybrid version, it has more expensive parts. This can reduce maintenance and provide other quality improvements, since the manufacturer is not as concerned with buying the cheapest items possible. A hybrid car is often the top of the line version of a car model and includes navigation, fuel monitoring, and communication systems which would cost additional money to add to another car.
Some employers and government agencies provide benefits to hybrid car owners. Like the carpool lane, these perks can save the driver time. For example, the hybrid car owner may get the parking spots close to the building. Cities may reduce or even eliminate parking fees and tolls for drivers of hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid car owners may receive reductions in their car insurance. Hybrid Travelers claims a ten percent discount for drivers who insure a hybrid vehicle, under certain conditions. Travelers also provides a discount for hybrid boats, so be sure to check for discounts for hybrid vehicles other than cars.
Hybrid car owners receive tax credits for driving a hybrid. Drivers should know that the tax credits are meant as a manufacturer incentive to produce hybrids, and gradually phase out as a specific manufacturer gets more hybrid vehicles on the road. This means that a car buyer will receive a larger tax break for purchasing a hybrid made by a manufacturer who has not produced hybrids in the past.