Hybrid vehicle costs
The costs of owning an hybrid car are different than those associated with a conventional vehicle. Upfront capital cost (purchase price) tends to be higher than for non-hybrid petrol and diesel cars, whereas running costs (fuel, maintenance, car tax) tend to be lower.
Cost of buying an hybrid car
The purchase price for most hybrid cars are 15%-25% higher than for their non-hybrid petrol and diesel equivalents. Typically, for new car, the additional purchase price is in the range of £2000-£4000 on a £15,000 model, and £3000-£5000 on a £20,000 model.
The additional capital cost is a reflection of the price of the hybrid drive-train which adds complexity and requires a high quality, larger than normal battery. It should be noted that 'mild' hybrids, which can be considered as electric assist vehicles without the capacity to operate soleley on electric power, tend to be less expensive than 'strong' or 'full' hybrids which can operate on a conventional engine, on electric only, or a combination of both power sources.
As more hybrids become available, and as the cost of hybrid drive-trains is reduced, the price premiums of hybrid will reduce over time. That siad, recent research suggests they will remain more expensive for at least another 20 years.
Hybrid car running costs
Most running costs are less for hybrids than conventional vehicles. The higher capital costs are mainly offset by lower fuel costs due to the high fuel economy of the vehicles themselves.
As is the case with carbon emissions, hybrids typically use 15%-30% less fuel per mile – fuel costs are reduced by a similar amount. Hybrids therefore make most economic sense for high mileage drivers as the reduced fuel costs will help to recoup the higher purchase price.
Other changes in ownership costs include car tax – most hybrids are charged less than their conventional equivalents due to their lower emissions of CO2. In the UK, it may be the case that hybrids will have reduced depreciation for the next few years (i.e. they keep their value longer) as the demand for hybrids is likely to grow.
For drivers in and around London, another major running cost to consider is the Congestion Charge – some hybrids are eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount (although owners of hybrids need to register with Transport for London and pay an annual £10 fee). With a £10 payable daily charge, this could provide a potential annual saving of around £2000.
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