June 8, 2005

BCAA cost analysis shows hybrids not as expensive as most think

Burnaby, B.C. – While many people are reluctant to pay the apparent extra cost of switching to a gasoline/electric hybrid, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) has prepared a cost analysis that reveals that, over a five-year period, the cost differential between hybrids and comparable gasoline-powered vehicles is minimal, and in one case the hybrid is cheaper.

The study judged the hybrid and gasoline versions of the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Ford Escape and Toyota Prius (against the Matrix), including the initial purchase price, fuel savings, the provincial Alternative Fuel Vehicle tax concession and eligibility for low-interest financing. Three of the vehicles ended up costing less than $2,000 more than their conventional cousins, while the Honda Accord Hybrid would cost $3,300 less than the comparable V6 model.

In a 2005 member poll, the BCAA found that 63 per cent of respondents surveyed said they would be “very or somewhat likely” to consider purchasing a hybrid if the price was only 20 per cent higher, but if they were priced the same, 81 per cent said they were likely to purchase. Fifty-five per cent believed the provision of cost incentives such as a reduction in sales tax and annual motor license fees was the most important action for governments.

“Our polling demonstrates that most BCAA members have confidence in hybrid technology, but the price is holding them back,” said Trace Acres, BCAA’s Director of Corporate Communications & Government Affairs. “The provincial government’s alternative fuel vehicle sales tax break is a positive step toward closing the hybrid price gap. The federal government, with its commitment to reducing climate change, should follow the provincial government’s lead and adopt similar incentives to make low-emission vehicles more affordable for a broader range of drivers.”

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