Know Your Hybrid MPG
Make sure your hybrid is going to reward you at the pump. Just because a car is slapped with a hybrid label it does not necessarily mean it is fuel efficient. Many hybrid cars only receive 26 mpg or less in the city. That is considerably less than the most fuel efficient hybrids which get better than 40 mpg. If you factor in the rising price of gas, over time the difference could add up to thousands of dollars.
Most Fuel Efficient Hybrid Cars:
- 2010 Toyota Prius – 51/48
- 2010 Ford Fusion – 41/36
- 2010 Mercury Milan – 41/36
- 2009 Honda Civic – 40/45
- 2010 Honda Insight – 40/43
Choose a Hybrid with Low Emissions
Other than helping the environment choosing a lower emissions hybrid is an important consideration because it determines how much of a Federal and State tax credit you can claim. Usually the lower the emission standard the higher the credit will be. But buyer’s be aware, the Federal government discontinues the tax credit for hybrids who’s manufacturer has surpassed 60,000 in total hybrid sales. The Prius is a prime example of this phase out. Because Toyota has surpassed the 60,000 mark the Prius no longer qualifies for the Federal credit.
Make sure to ask the dealer which emission standard the hybrid car you are thinking about purchasing qualifies as and whether or not it is still eligible for the Federal incentive. While you are at it ask them how much of an incentive the State is offering as each State’s hybrid tax credit varies.
List of hybrid cars that qualify for the hybrid tax credit.
Consider Battery Reliability
Choose a car whose battery is proven reliable and has a long standing warranty period. A hot topic amongst hybrid owners and enthusiasts alike is the reliability and replacement cost of the battery used to power hybrid vehicles. Replacing a hybrid battery is very expensive, around $3,000 depending on the car, however they are made to last the lifetime of the vehicle and most manufacturers offer an 8 to 10 year warranty.
Alert: Unlike conventional car batteries a hybrid battery cannot be jumped. So if the battery dies you are forced to replace it.
Test Drive for Performance
Common complaints associated with popular hybrid cars is they lack in performance. A hybrid that gets great fuel mileage is probably not going to win any races or feel like they handle corners on rails. These vehicles are built for efficiency not speed and most are equipped with 4 cylinder engines. There are exceptions, like the Lexus GS hybrid, but they get less than favorable gas mileage and the M.S.R.P.’s are usually quite-a-bit higher.