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Hybrid Cars - Cheap Transportation?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Hybrid Cars - Cheap Transportation?

Pete Glocker
June 20, 2006

Maybe you want to do your part for the environment. Perhaps, you want a more economical way to travel since gasoline prices are on the rise. Or, you may want to purchase a vehicle that rewards you with federal tax incentives. Regardless of your reason for purchasing a hybrid vehicle, you need to do research and make sure you get the most out of this financial investment.

There are many websites which help consumers with the process of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. However, the research itself can still be overwhelming. Therefore, below are some important aspects you should consider.

Review Review Review

The cost to replace hybrid parts can be extremely expensive. Reviewing your options when considering these costs, can help you quickly eliminate some hybrids off your list. Check the Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and recalls. Go to edmunds.com and search for the vehicle you have in mind for more information.


If you are purchasing a used hybrid or plan on owning the vehicle longer than the standard warranty, really think about spending the extra bucks on an extended warranty. Because hybrid vehicles are loaded with new technology, the cost to repair them is going to be extremely high. Not to mention the cost of the knowledgeable mechanic working on these vehicles. So, between repair and labor, it may be a wise decision to purchase the extended warranty and have a little peace of mind. Be sure to look into what the manufacturer offers. If you cannot afford to buy the extended warranty at the time of purchase, consider buying it before the standard warranty expires.

Compare a Hybrid to a Conventional Car

Model 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid 2006 Honda Civic Sedan Base Price MSRP $22,150 $14,760

Fuel Economy (Average between city and highway) 50 miles per gallon 34 miles per gallon If you drive 15k miles annually, how many gallons of gas will you use? 300 gallons 441 gallons If the cost of gas is $2.75 a gallon, how much will you spend annually on gas? $825 $1,212 If you save $387 yearly on gas by driving the hybrid, how long will it take you to make up the difference of the MSRP between the Hybrid (including the $2,000 Federal rebate) and the Sedan? 14 years Is there a tax break for Hybrid owners? How much will I save? Yes, if you are a Honda Civic Hybrid owner, you will receive a $2,100 tax credit from the IRS.

Buy That New Car and Control Your Budget

Do you still think you need that new car? The chart above is a good illustration of how much one would spend on either a conventional car versus a hybrid, plus the difference in gas mileage. It also shows how a budget will be affected by the purchase of a hybrid. The extra money you could save every month for purchasing a conventional car would look great in your savings account.

Pete Glocker is employed in the Education and Charitable Services Department at Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. (“DMCC”), a 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization located in Boca Raton, Florida. Pete graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Multimedia Journalism and was a web producer Intern for Tribune Interactive products Sun-Sentinel.com and SouthFlorida.com. DMCC provides free financial education, personal budget counseling, and debt management plans to consumers across the United States. Debt management plans offered by DMCC help consumers relieve the stress of excessive debt by reducing credit card interest rates, consolidating and lowering monthly payments, and stopping collection calls and late fees. DMCC financial counselors can be reached for free education materials, budget counseling and debt management plan quotes by calling 800-863-9011 or by visiting www.dmcccorp.org. Pete Glocker can be reached by email at pete@dmcccorp.org.

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