Most Americans view hybrid vehicles as an alternative to the traditional one-engine gas vehicles. Running on two systems, a gas and an electric, it is popular knowledge that hybrids can save owners on gas. What many people don’t notice is that hybrids are typically much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. With the national average of gasoline $2.80 a gallon, most owners spend just north of $2,500 per year on gasoline. When is it better to stray away the high premiums of hybrids in favor in traditional vehicles?
According to Kelly Blue Book, most new car owners stick with their rides for six years. In a study, these three sedans and three SUVs, all 2015 models, illustrate the vehicles that carry the highest premium to pay to own a traditional hybrid. Many of them carry an annualized hybrid premium to pay which is higher than the amount of gas that will be spent propelling their owners to work, school or errands around town.
2015 Lexus LS
Topping the list is the Lexus LS. The MSRP of the base 2015 Lexus LS is $72,520. Albeit pricey this is considerably less than its hybrid counterpart that has an MSRP of $120,440. This means that the hybrid version of this model carries a premium of $47,930. Spread out over the typical lifespan of a new car with an American owner it will cost the owner an additional $7,988 each year which is more than three times the cost of what will typically be spent on gas annually.
2015 Volkswagen Jetta
Next on the list is the Volkswagen Jetta. The MSRP of the base 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is $17,325. A favorite among students and young professionals, the Jetta’s reasonable pricing is attractive for its luxurious ascetic. The hybrid counterpart carries a surprising MSRP of $31,120. Making it a comparable price to the base 2015 BMW M3 the hybrid loses its luster as an affordable option with the premium of owning the hybrid version $13,770. Spread out over six years this will cost the new car owner $2,295 annually. Unless the driver only drove enough to spend less than $205 per year on gas it isn’t worth paying the hybrid premium.
The third car on the list is the Lexus GS, the more affordable sister of the Lexus LS. The base model carries an MSRP of $48,600 while the hybrid carries an MSRP of 61,330. This means the premium to own the hybrid model is 12,730, or $2,122 annually over the course of six years. On average, the owner would only benefit financially from owning the hybrid if they drive less than 90% of car-owning Americans.
2015 Volkswagen Touareg
Topping the list for the SUV’s, the Volkswagen Touareg gets its name from an African tribe known for their strength and adaptability, according to Amber H, a live representative from the VW website. The MSRP of the base model is $44,705 while the hybrid begins at $66,995. This gives the SUV with the funny little name a premium of $22,290 to own the hybrid, or $3,715 annually over six years. This is much more than the average of $2,500 that many Americans spend on gas annually. Instead of saving money with better gas milage, Touareg owners spend more than twice the cash on gas every year.
It may not be worth paying the $18,085 premium, or $3,014 annual premium over six years to haul children to and from soccer practice. The base model of the 2015 Toyota Highlander is $29,305 while the hybrid version starts at $47,750. Fueling up at the pump a few less times per year may not be worth spending twice the money, even if it’s not on gas.
2015 Audi Q5
The luxurious 2015 Audi Q5 has an MSRP for the base model of $39,300 while the hybrid version carries an MSRP of $51,900. The yearly premium over six years to own this car is $2,100, or $12,600 overall. This is another example the money saved at the pump goes straight toward the higher car payment.