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Are hybrid vehicles worth the extra cost?

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Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley That is a very tough question to answer. Hybrids can save you money on fuel cost during the life of ownership, they are environmentally friendly and very quiet to drive. They are also very light so driving in bad weather, wind, snow and rain can be more challenging for some people. They are truly a city car for the best mileage. Currently, the hybrid battery only lasts 100,000 miles and is costly to replace. If you keep a vehicle longer than 100k miles, it may not be cost effective. If you have the abilty to rent a Hybrid for a long weekend, do so. We have had many customers trade out of their hybrid vehicle because they did not like the way they drive. If you are looking a a Toyota 4Runner, consider looking at a Chevy Equinox or GMC Terrain, both are very fuel efficient and comparable vehicles.

Shelly LoCascio, Dealer Principal  at Irwin Lincoln Mercury Mazda Hybrids absolutely save on fuel costs but your return on investment takes several years. I think it's more about "saving the earth" rather than ROI.

Brandy Schaffels, Editor at AskPatty.com, Inc. It depends on the vehicle and how you drive. Hybrids will provide the best fuel economy when driven conservatively around town. If you drive primarily in stop and go traffic, around town, and don't gun the engine, you may find the price differential can be made up for in reduced fuel consumption. Check out these articles at AskPatty.com to help you make your decision: http://askpatty.typepad.com/ask_patty_/2008/04/pros-and-cons-o.html http://caradvice.askpatty.com/ask_patty_/2007/08/everything-you-.html http://askpatty.typepad.com/ask_patty_/2007/05/hybrid_cars_2.html

Breanne Boyle, Contributing Editor at AskPatty.com Susan, Funny I actually wrote some articles for Ask Patty several years ago about this very thing.I found in my research that, no, it does not make up the cost. BUT, it completely depends on what you are comparing. I compared a Prius with a Honda Civic and Mazda3, all 2007s. So at the time, when I calculated gas consumption and cost and spread it out over the 5 year finance period, and added in the government refund, it came to about even. Which meant I could basically decide based on preference. Now, of course, the non-hybrids don*t help the emissions as well as the hybrids, so there is that going for them. I would encourage you to find out the info for each car you are considering and just do the math to figure it out since it very much can depend on the actual make and model.

Judy Curry, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing at Currys Auto Service Susan, I Definite think so! Not only are you using less gas, but what you buy goes longer There are a lot of options now, so prices are very competitive. Make sure you do your research, not all models that are labeled as Hybrid are sometimes as efficient as you would assume! BTW, our company has 10 Prius�s that have incredible, highly fuel efficient engines. I feel that they were a great investment and would buy again. Good Luck! Judy Curry's Auto Service

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Susan, It depends on how much and what kind of driving you do. Unlike conventional vehicles, hybrids get better gas mileage in the city as opposed to the highway. Also, the battery life is approximately ten years and it is a costly replacement. However, if you do a lot of stop and go driving, I do believe the savings on gas will make up the difference. Suzanne

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