Study shows most hybrids aren't cost effective

Just 16 of 47 hybrids evaluated by Vincentric showed ownership-cost savings

Published: October 17, 2018, 5:00 AM
Updated: October 11, 2021, 10:03 AM

Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium - The Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium returns a cost savings of $5,181 over its gasoline-only sibling.

When it comes to selecting a hybrid-vehicle, most owners should be satisfied with doing something that is good for environment because in most cases, the cost of ownership for hybrid vehicles is higher than their all-gasoline competitors, according to Vincentric.

In its 2018 Canadian Hybrid Analysis, Vincentric (the auto industry supplier of valuable data, knowledge, and insight based on the many aspects of automotive value) found that just 16 of the 47 hybrids evaluated (roughly one third) have a lower total cost of ownership than their closest all-gasoline counterparts.

The average price premium for a hybrid is $7,121 more than the comparable gasoline-only vehicle, despite fuel savings of $3,051 and maintenance savings of $576 over 5 years, meaning that other costs of ownership were still almost $3,500 more than comparable gasoline vehicles.

“The Vincentric study shows that although hybrids have lower fuel and maintenance costs, they aren’t always cost effective in the long run,” said Vincentric President, David Wurster. “However, Canadian buyers who want to own a cost-effective hybrid car can definitely find them, especially if they identify one in which the hybrid price premium is low.”

The Ford Fusion Hybrid Platinum was identified as the hybrid that would save its owners more than owning a comparable Ford Fusion Platinum, banking an extra $6,640 over five years. It does not apply to other Fusion trim levels, though, with Titanium seeing a cost savings of $5,181, SE seeing a $2,265 savings and S models seeing a savings of just $14 over five years.

By comparison, Fusion’s Lincoln MKZ counterparts realized less than half of those savings, with the MKZ Hybrid Select saving owners $3,049 than if they had bought the regular MKZ. Again, trim level matters with the MKZ Reserve trims realizing a cost savings of $2,806.

Once the Ford competition is out of the way, the Lexus ES 300h, when compared with the ES 350, shows the next best savings with a 5-year cost reduction of $2,241.

Although some of today’s hybrids don’t really have gasoline-only versions (such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota Prius models), the comparisons held true for those that do have two different versions. The Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry hybrids all did better than their gasoline-only siblings by $793, $233 and $192, respectively over five years.

The Vincentric report also showed that none of the 10 utility vehicles analyzed would save their owners any money where total cost of ownership was concerned.

In compiling its 2018 Canadian Hybrid Analysis, Vincentric used a formula based on fuel costs weighted over the past five months, vehicle ownership of five years with 15,000 km of annual travel. Vehicles were judged on eight cost factors — depreciation, fees & taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost (the money tied up in monthly vehicle payments), and repairs.