Burnaby, British Columbia – The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) has released the results of a study on the cost of hybrids versus comparable conventional models. Studying all thirteen hybrids available in B.C. over a five-year period, and factoring in fuel costs, the provincial Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Concession and the federal ecoAUTO Rebate Program, the analysis revealed that in seven of the 13 vehicle pairs analyzed, the hybrids turned out to be cheaper over five years overall.

Some models were thousands of dollars less expensive than their conventional counterparts, including the Honda Civic Hybrid at $3,868; the Toyota Highlander Hybrid at $2,765; the Toyota Camry Hybrid at $2,135; and the Lexus 400h at $1,816.

“What this analysis shows is, at current gas prices, most hybrids will end up being either less expensive over five years or within a few hundred dollars of their conventional equipment,” said Trace Acres, BCAA’s director of corporate communications and government affairs. “On the other hand, the price premium charged to own some higher-end hybrids won’t be recovered regardless of the price of gas.”

However, consumers are cautioned that price shouldn’t be the only determining factor in choosing a hybrid. “We know from surveys that hybrid buyers are more likely to do so for environmental reasons that cost concerns,” Acres said. “If that is the case, potential hybrid buyers should be sure to examine emission ratings as well as sticker prices. Some models may appear cost-effective, but offer only modest emission reductions.”

When BCAA completed its first five-year hybrid cost analysis in 2005, most of the hybrids were more expensive than their conventional counterparts by as much as 25 per cent. Today the picture has reversed, in large part due to skyrocketing gas prices and government incentives.

“If you’re interested in buying a hybrid and maximizing your savings, 2008 may be the best year to buy,” said Acres. “The federal ecoAUTO Rebate Program is being phased out at the end of this year, cutting the cost savings on some hybrids by as much as $2,000.” Applications for the rebate on eligible vehicles can be submitted until March 31, 2009; the rebate applies only to new vehicle purchases and 2009 model-year vehicles will not be eligible. The provincial Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Concession is scheduled to be in place until April 1, 2011.

The detailed analysis can be found at BCAA.com/Hybrids.

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