With the ever-rising gas prices in the United States, coping with your vehicle’s fuel-consumption needs can be tedious if not expensive. However, thanks to the innovation of hybrid car technology, the cost of running and maintaining these vehicles can prove to be more cost-effective and cheaper than your conventional fuel guzzlers in the long run.
Like most cars in the market, hybrid alternatives come in different variations and attributes. The variations range from performance, fuel efficiency, size, and weight, each of which can significantly contribute to maximizing the vehicle’s economic prowess and help you save money. This article sheds some insight into the features to look at when considering buying a hybrid vehicle and how it can help save you money.
What Is a Hybrid Car?
A hybrid car is a vehicle that has been specifically designed with the budgetary consumer in mind. It comprises an internal combustion engine, an electric motor, and a battery that provides the relevant energy to power up the vehicle and auxiliary loads to reduce engine idling frequency when stationary. Furthermore, an electric motor aids in fuel efficiency, especially when accelerating as the electric motor provides more torque and power without guzzling a lot of fuel.
An electric hybrid vehicle utilizes regenerative braking, energy released during braking, to recharge its battery, making it energy-efficient. This saves fuel while cutting emissions.
That said, there are many hybrid vehicle variations, all of which provide exceptional savings and benefits to your consumption needs. Therefore, when it comes to saving in the long run, here are a few handy features that you need to look for in a hybrid vehicle.
How Do Hybrids Help You Save Money?
1. Cost of Purchase
When considering the money-saving potential of opting for a hybrid vehicle, you need to determine the overall costs of purchasing the car. While the technology generally costs much more than ordinary conventional vehicles, they make up for it with great fuel savings.
For example, the average price of a used 2018 Toyota Highlander XLE can cost $33,118 whereas the 2018 hybrid variant costs over $40,000. It is a given fact that a hybrid vehicle will indeed cost more than your traditional fuel-powered car. In this particular case, the difference is nearly $7,000 more.
If you’re considering initial expenses, factoring in a hybrid vehicle’s retail price can theoretically cost more. Still, it makes up for this with practical energy-saving solutions in the long run. The factors that mostly contribute to the significant price difference are the overall costs taken to manufacturing the chassis, the engine, and the additional components inclusive to a hybrid vehicle.
For example, the 2018 Toyota Highlander hybrid does its best to retain its original structural integrity as seen in the original model. It features 154 cubic feet of passenger volume, a maximum cargo capacity of 83.7 cubic feet, and a total seating capacity of eight. However, what sets aside the 2018 Toyota Highlander XLE hybrid from the original variant is its optimal fuel efficiency of 28 mpg combined compared to the 21 mpg as seen in the non-hybrid build. This makes it easier to save on fuel expenditures in the long run.
The Highlander hybrid features an overall engine horsepower of 306. The vehicle received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, passing all crashworthiness and safety tests to render it an ideal hybrid vehicle in terms of safety.
2. Maintenance Costs
It’s a common misconception to think that maintaining a hybrid car is generally more costly compared to a fuel-powered car. Sure, in actuality, this specific car is comprised of costly parts and technology to give it the edge over traditional vehicles. Still, it is these parts that make maintaining it all the easier and more cost-effective.
A hybrid vehicle requires very little maintenance throughout its life span as it is economically designed to last longer than conventional vehicles. It takes at least over 180,000 miles on average and more for the in-house battery to begin to wear down. This is nearly quadruple the battery life span of a normal car, which requires 50,000 miles before a battery replacement is needed. Furthermore, the hybrid battery replacement cost is usually around a few hundred dollars.
Alternatives, such as the 2014 Ford C-Max, utilize energy from the brakes to replenish and continually recharge the car battery, thus sustaining it for longer. The Ford C-Max reduces the friction between brake pads and wheels by capturing dissipated energy, allowing your brake pads to last longer without frequent replacement.
Starting at a cost of $24,170, the 2014 Ford C-Max further accentuates a hybrid machine’s cost-effectiveness with a combined fuel economy of 40 mpg to allow for both freeway and city driving. Furthermore, it provides ample legroom with a seat occupancy of five and a cargo capacity of up to 24.5 cubic feet with an accommodating and stylish interior.
In retrospect, the 2014 Ford C-Max hybrid is an aesthetic crossover between an SUV and compact car with fuel economy as its main priority. It is also equipped with a decent engine performance of 188 horsepower, which is enough to get the job done. It also has a lithium-ion battery capable of lasting 10 years with adequate care.
3. Fuel Economy
As a buyer, one important factor to consider when purchasing a hybrid vehicle is its fuel economy. The more fuel-efficient the car is, the more money you stand to save in the long run.
Suppose the price of a gallon of gas retails at $2 and you drive 20,000 miles a year. A regular car averaging at 25 mpg will accumulate an expense of $1,600 in fuel costs per year while the annual fuel costs of a hybrid alternative at 42 mpg would be $975. In this scenario, you stand to save $625 with a hybrid vehicle.
An example of a noticeably economical hybrid vehicle to consider is the 2014 Toyota Prius C. While most hybrid cars are fuel-efficient, the Prius tops the category for cost-effective hybrids with a whopping 50 combined mpg on city roads and freeways.
Due to its quintessential and lightweight yet sturdy build, the vehicle is able to reach 0-60 mph in 10.9 seconds coupled with a 99-horsepower engine. Despite its miniature appearance, the 2014 Prius C is quite durable and safe with ample cargo capacity of 21.6 cubic feet and a seating capacity of five. With a hybrid vehicle like the Prius, you stand to save on fuel economy despite inflation in gas prices.
4. Depreciation Costs
The depreciation cost for a hybrid vehicle is roughly similar to that of other conventional vehicles in terms of mileage. More so, with additional innovations in the car industry, as seen in Tesla, Toyota, and Honda vehicles, the world is heading toward the age of hybrid technology. This means that securing a used hybrid can spare you the costs of high-market inflation rates and new car premiums, ultimately saving you money.
As a potential car buyer, owning a hybrid car is ideal for saving money despite the ever-rising inflation in today’s economy and gas prices. While the initial costs of purchasing a hybrid can cause people to look the other way, there are many cost-effective options to consider, such as used hybrid cars, which end up saving you money in the long run.