Report: More Hybrids Stand Up as Cost-Effective Against All-Gasoline Counterparts


Fuel efficient vehicles have seen consistent declines in price this year, making hybrid and electric vehicles more affordable options for consumers. Vincentric shared this week that alternative-fuel vehicles are becoming more cost-efficient to own, as well.

According to the results of its 2013 Hybrid Analysis, 13 of the 33 hybrid vehicles on the market were identified as having a lower cost-of-ownership than their all-gasoline counterparts, rising two vehicles from the 2012 study.

There’s one caveat, though. With the increased number of hybrids available this year, the percentage of financially cost-effective hybrids dropped from 44 percent to 39 percent.

"As the prevalence of hybrid technology grows, our research shows that consumers are seeing additional vehicles that are financially advantageous when compared to their all-gasoline counterparts," stated David Wurster, president of Vincentric.

On the lower cost spectrum was the Lexus CT200h and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. When compared to their all-gasoline counterparts, these models had savings of more than $6,300 and $4,700 respectively, Vincentric reported.

Additional hybrids from Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen showed cost advantages, with Toyota having three hybrids (Avalon, Prius C, Prius V) showing a cost advantage.

Overall, though, the cost to own and operate a hybrid vehicle was still a bit higher than the all-gasoline vehicles, according to the study results.

When the costs to own and operate all 33 hybrid vehicles were taken into account, the average five-year cost-of-ownership for hybrids was $1,338 more than their all-gasoline powered counterparts, assuming an annual mileage of 15,000, the company reported.

Though it still may be a bit pricier to own one of these vehicles, they are certainly becoming more affordable in the lots and in the lanes, as prices for alternative energy vehicles have slid considerably this year.

Auto Remarketing chatted with Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for KBB, earlier this month for some additional perspective.

Gutierrez said it's not consumer interest that's necessarily declining and impacting prices, but rather a level of consumer caution that's impacting the segment.

"In terms of consumer interest, I wouldn’t necessarily say that consumer interest is waning; I would just say that it’s not growing and has become very stagnant," he said.

The face values of the hybrid and all-electric vehicles are still high, even in the used market. And with price cuts and incentives on the new variants of these vehicles, Gutierrez said the pre-owned models "aren’t gaining a lot of traction."

Gutierrez also noted that for the all-electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, consumers are still concerned with driving range, as the technology is still relatively new.

And the all-electric vehicle prices are likely the softest at auction at the moment, he said.

For more on retention levels for alternative energy vehicles, see the Auto Remarketing story here.

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