Less than a quarter of gas-electric hybrids now provide cost savings to Canadian buyers, thanks to rapidly falling gas prices and increased fuel efficiency of mainstream gas models, with the average hybrid in this country costing $2,976 more in overall ownership costs over five years, concludes a new study.

The first study of hybrid costs specifically in Canada found that out of 29 gas-electric hybrid models examined, seven of them (24 percent) offered lower overall ownership costs after five years or 125,000 km. The study was conducted by Vincentric, a Michigan-based fleet and consulting firm that works with the largest automakers in Canada to analyze auto ownership costs.

With the average hybrid premium at $5,984, combined with average fuel cost savings of $3,986 over five years, the average hybrid owner in Canada will pay $2,876 more over five years than they would for their gas equivalent, the study concluded.

“Some of the more important elements like maintenance and depreciation are not much different (for hybrids and their gas counterparts),” said Vincentric president David Wurster. “The real issue boils down to the fuel savings and the cost of the vehicles.”

The hybrid that saved their owners the most money of those seven cars was the compact Lexus CT 200h hatchback, the runaway leader in overall savings at $11,535. That’s compared to what the study deemed its closest gas-only counterpart, the compact Lexus IS 250 sedan. Granted, that number was certainly affected by the rear-wheel drive V6 sedan’s much larger and more powerful engine, and a starting price roughly $6,000 more than the CT 200h in 2014.

Second place went to the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, whose four-cylinder hybrid engine would theoretically save its owner $4,074 in TCO over the standard MKZ with the V6. The MKZ Hybrid is also the only hybrid to be offered at the same MSRP as its gasoline counterpart, a gutsy move Lincoln made first in the US and then brought into Canada.

The next best overall value hybrids were the Ford C-Max ($3,441 savings), Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ($2,909), Lexus ES 300h ($1,418), Toyota Prius c ($609) and Honda Accord Hybrid ($322). Complete results from the study, and which vehicles they were compared to, are all available on Vincentric’s website at www.vincentric.com.

Of the seven hybrid crossovers or SUVs examined, none offered overall TCO savings compared to their gas counterparts, but a few came close, or within $1,000 of them: the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid (at just $322 over the regular Pathfinder V6), the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid ($588 over QX60) and the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid ($645 over the S V8).

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