In the MSN Money Central article entitled “What driving a hybrid will really cost you“, it does an actual calculation for return on investment if you decided to purchase one of the hybrid vehicles as opposed to their gas-only counterparts. According to their study, the only vehicle that will save you money over a five year ownership period, is the Toyota Prius.
If you really wanted to see how much a new Prius or hybrid will save you as compared to your current vehicle, you can head over to the Hybrid Vehicles Gas Savings Calculator. In my case, I would save $1000 per year on gas, if I decided to get a Toyota Prius. Since, the Prius costs about $21,000 to purchase, it would take about 20 years to break even. If I decided to trade in my current vehicle, I could realize a break even point at about 10 years. All of this assumes that gas prices will stay the same over the 10 year period, which I highly doubt. Using the gas savings calculator, I calculated that if I wanted to break even at 5 years, the price of gas would have to sky rocket to $6 per gallon. Any bets on whether price of gas will get that high? Five years ago, we were at $1.20 per gallon. It’s more than doubled in five years. If that trend continues in the next five years, that initial investment today in a Prius might not look so bad.