Recent research from Vincentric suggests the average 2012 model-year hybrid vehicle costs about $5,243 more than its gasoline-reliant counterpart, but only realizes about $3,583 in fuel-cost savings. But relax--that's just one piece of the cost savings puzzle. The company at the same time concluded that buyers of 11 out of 25 hybrids they analyzed can still expect to come out financially ahead after five years behind the wheel with an average 15,000 miles driven annually.
The company is basing its conclusion on total cost of ownership, which includes such important factors as maintenance, repairs, insurance, depreciation, financing, and taxes--in addition to fuel consumption. And you don't have to be a whiz with numbers to realize that, while fuel costs were averaged over a five-month period for purposes of the research, higher gasoline prices give hybrids an even greater cost advantage.