Low Gas Prices Make People Less Interested In Hybrid Cars

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It should come as no surprise to people with any common sense that fuel-conserving hybrid cars were very popular when gas prices were high last decade, but aren’t as popular now that gas prices are closer to $2 per gallon than $4. The premium that customers must pay for a hybrid vehicle offsets the fuel savings nicely when gas prices are high, but takes longer to recoup when they fall.

The New York Times calculates that just a few years ago, a hybrid sedan owner could expect the higher initial cost of the vehicle to be offset by fuel savings after about five years. At current gas prices, it takes about twice that long, and that doesn’t even take the expensive replacement battery pack that hybrid cars eventually need. That repair can cost thousands of dollars at a dealership.

We’ve known for a few years now that for the most part, people who buy hybrid cars do not go on to buy another when it’s time to trade it in. While better fuel economy is one factor, fuel economy for regular old gasoline-powered cars is also much better than in 2000, the year the first Priuses hit roads outside of Japan.

With Gas Prices Less of a Worry, Buyers Pass Hybrid Cars By [New York Times]