How Hybrid Cars Make Our Country Poorer
The incentives of purchasing a hybrid car could be philosophical, financial or environmental. Berman recognizes that not everyone is willing to go completely green right away.
"Everyone should take little steps," Berman told LiveScience. "Buy the most efficient fuel car. It doesn't have to be hybrid. If you don't need an SUV, don't get an SUV."
Some car buyers might want to look at the decision from a purely financial standpoint.
Here is an example of how one choice might work out:
The average American drives 15,000 miles each year, with 45 percent of that on highways. The traditional Honda Civic costs about $17,110, and it gets about 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 highway. At $2.92 a gallon, this subcompact car costs $1,296 in gasoline in one year.
At $22,900, the Honda Civic Hybrid will initially cost a bit more, but with an average of 50 miles per gallon, a year of gas will cost $878.
In 10 years, taking into account inflation at 3 percent but not factoring in any possible changes in gas prices, the gas savings of a hybrid reaches almost $5,000.
Finally, a new federal incentive program allows you to receive a one-time $2,100 tax credit for buying a hybrid.
Tally up all the extra costs and factor in the savings — not counting additional incentives offered by some states — after 10 years, this hybrid will ultimately save you about $1,229. . . . .