If you own a hybrid car, the comparatively low price of gasoline is doing a number on your “payback” years.
There are more reasons to own a hybrid than merely the amount of money one saves in gasoline, of course, but when purchasing the vehicles, you might have done some napkin math to figure out how long it would take for the vehicle to pay for the premium attached to hybids,
According to the Associated Press, if energy prices don’t move much — and, yes, we know they will — then the payback period now is longer than the life expectancy of the car.
AP took the two popular hybrids — the Toyota Prius and the Nissan Leaf — and compared the payback period from July to now.
Approximate price premium: $4,300
Annual fuel savings based on July gas price: $534
Payback years: 8.1
Annual fuel savings based on current gas price: $313
Payback years: 13.7
Approximate price premium, including electric vehicle tax credit: $7,330
Annual gasoline savings based on July gas price: $796
Payback years: 9.2
Annual gasoline savings based on current gas price: $281
Payback years: 25.8
In short, the lower cost is making it more difficult to justify the higher sticker price of the car.