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Do Hybrid Cars Save You Money?

Hybrid cars can save drivers money and are often eligible for the same deals as internal-combustion vehicles. Unlike past choices, there's now a wide variety of hybrid cars, trucks, and SUVs to suit every type of buyer. In some cases, the cost to buy a new hybrid vehicle could make them a better deal than you think.

For example, the new Ford Maverick pickup comes standard with a hybrid powertrain and has a fuel economy rating of 37 mpg overall. The gas truck is rated at 26 mpg and is actually more expensive. The EPA says the hybrid pickup has an estimated annual fuel cost of $1,450, compared to $2,100 for the gas model.

Hybrids can sometimes qualify for better incentives. For example, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid offers 0% APR financing for 60 months. To put that into perspective, a new Hyundai Elantra has a 60-month rate of 1.9%. The Ioniq Hybrid Blue is rated at 59 mpg and has an EPA-estimated fuel cost of just $900.

Hybrid car MSRPs are generally higher than gas cars, but may not be as expensive as you think. For example, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE starts at $30,290, just $1,150 more than a comparable all-wheel-drive RAV4. The 40 mpg hybrid has an estimated annual fuel cost of $1,350, versus $1,800 for the AWD gas SUV.

How much money a hybrid can really save you will depend on how much you drive and how long you keep your car. Alternatively, switching to an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid could get you access to incentives like the federal EV tax credit, as well as state plug plug-in rebates that you can't get when buying a hybrid.

For example, the Toyota Prius Prime qualifies for a $4,502 tax credit, a $1,500 manufacturer rebate, plus a $450 Clean Fuel Reward here in Southern California for $6,452 in savings. As a result, the effective cost of a Prius Prime could dip to $23,073, cheaper than a normal Prius ($25,650) which has none of those deals.

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      As CarsDirect’s resident pricing expert, Alex offers must-know analyses of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, and more.

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