The Economics of Driving a Hybrid

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Last week, thanks to Traveling Mom and Nissan, I had the opportunity to try out a Nissan Hybrid Altima for a week.   I was excited for the opportunity because I always wanted to try out a hybrid.  I absolutely hate spending money on gas, because it seems like such a waste – a financial waste as well as an environmental waste.

We used the car quite a bit over the week, including a weekend trip to Newport, RI for a wedding.  To my surprise and pleasure, the entire week resulted in the use of less than a quarter tank of gas.  So, it made me wonder about the amount of money that can be saved by purchasing and driving a hybrid.

The amount of money you’ll save really does depend on several factors – how much you drive, the current cost of gas, and the gas efficiency you receive (based on maintenance, and the type of driving you d0).

A family that drives 20,000 miles per year and pays $2.70 per gallon will pay $2,077 per year in gas for a regular Nissan (with an average MPG of 26), and $1,588 per year in gas for a Nissan Hybrid (with an average MPG of 34).  That’s a savings of $489 per year!

Now, a hybrid does cost more – up to $7,000 more than a regular sedan.  However, there are a few other factors that should be considered:

  1. the resale value is likely to be higher (hard to calculate with the Nissan since the hybrid is new)
  2. the more gas prices rise, the more you’ll save
  3. tax breaks that are often offered will decrease the total cost

Of course, financial savings isn’t the only consideration – hybrids are obviously much better for the environment!











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