Sticker Shock Absorber
Some hybrids can pay back their price premium over time
High price of hybrids got you down? According to the gurus at Edmunds.com, the cash some hybrid owners save on gas can make up for the sticker price. Hybrid cars and trucks cost between $1,200 and $7,000 more than their gas-chugging counterparts, but as analyst Alex Rosten says, “High gas prices and generous tax credits now offset the high sales prices of some hybrids, assuming owners keep their hybrids for a few years.” We feel better already! According to Edmunds, owners of Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids driving 15,000 miles a year and buying gas at the low, low price of $3 a gallon should break even — compared to owners of comparable non-hybrid models — after three years. But ya gotta hurry if you want to take advantage of the federal tax credit: once an automaker sells 60,000 hybrids, the hybrid credit begins to be phased out. The credit on Toyotas, for instance, will be halved after Sept. 30. Ah, yes, rewarding initiative and success with economic penalties: that’s the kind of logic we like to see.