Filling up hurts. Prices are at near record highs and those numbers on that dial just flip by so fast, fast, fast. It’s no wonder that fuel economy is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind as she’s walking the showroom floor.
However, according to a recent story in the New York Times, it is not wise to choose a car based solely on its fuel economy. In fact, the paper argues, doing so is a costly mistake since it takes years’ worth of not pumping gas to make up the difference between, say, a Chevrolet Cruze and a Chevy Volt. Writing about this, the paper said, “The Volt, which costs nearly $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, could take up to 27 years to pay off versus a Chevrolet Cruze, assuming it was regularly driven farther than its battery-only range allows. The payback time could drop to about eight years if gas cost $5 a gallon and the driver remained exclusively on battery power.”
Shockingly, the Volt with its 26.6 years to break even was not the worst investment. The Ford Fiesta SFE at $16,170 would take 26.8 years to break even with the $15,557 Ford Fiesta. Though nowhere near as poor of a choice as the top two, the Honda Civic Hybrid, $23,999, takes 12.1 to break even with the (non-hybrid) Civic, $18,675, while the Ford Escape Hybrid, $30,204,requires 11.5 years to match the cost of the (non-hybrid) Escape, $23,048.
In this way, buying an affordable, fuel-efficient yet non-hybrid pre-owned vehicle from a used or buy here pay here dealer may be a better option than forking out the big bucks for the latest in hybrid/EV technology.