August 13, 2022

With gasoline prices spiraling out of control, many consumers adjust their lifestyles, including what they drive. Most have heard that hybrid vehicles use less fuel and can save money, but many don’t realize that all hybrids are not created equal.

Hybrid vehicles use at least two different sources for motive power. Current vehicles use conventional gasoline engines coupled with electric motors. However, technology, component sizes, and performance vary greatly. It can all be very confusing.

There are currently 16 gas/electric hybrid vehicles being sold in America. The charts below compare them to their gasoline-only counterparts (Toyota Prius is not available with a conventional drive-train). Equipment and performance vary slightly between similar models.

Sedans MSRP MPG City MPG Hwy
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $22,140 24 32
Chevrolet Malibu LT (4 cylinders) $20,930 22 30
Honda Civic Hybrid $22,600 40 45
Honda Civic LX (4) $17,760 25 36
Lexus GS450h $54,900 22 25
Lexus GS460 (8) $52,620 17 24
Lexus LS600hL $104,000 20 22
Lexus LS600L (8) $72,000 16 24
Nissan Altima Hybrid $25,170 35 33
Nissan Altima S (4) $20,680 23 31
Saturn Aura Hybrid $23,640 24 32
Saturn Aura XE (4) $20,045 22 30
Toyota Camry Hybrid $25,200 33 34
Toyota Camry LE (4) $21,075 21 31
Toyota Prius $21,100 48 45
SUVs MSRP MPG
City
MPG
Hwy
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid $49,590 21 22
Chevrolet Tahoe LT3 (8 cylinders) $39,935 14 19
Ford Escape Hybrid $26,640 34 30
Ford Escape XLS (4) $20,140 20 26
GMC Yukon Hybrid $50,045 21 22
GMC Yukon (8) $35,345 14 19
Lexus RX400h $41,280 27 24
Lexus RX400 (6) $37,500 18 23
Mazda Tribute Touring Hybrid $25,310 34 30
Mazda Tribute Touring (4) $21,325 20 26
Mercury Mariner Hybrid $27,340 34 30
Mercury Mariner (4) $21,300 20 26
Saturn Vue Hybrid $25,370 25 32
Saturn Vue XE (4) $21,250 19 26
Toyota Highlander Hybrid $33,700 27 25
Toyota Highlander (6) $28750 17 23

These comparisons are greatly simplified, and should not be the sole criteria for choosing a new vehicle. For example, prices (MSRP) are for base vehicles, which may not be available. Many hybrids are equipped with many high-end options, such as navigation systems, which can add considerably to the final price.

Additionally, those in greater supply can often be purchased at a discount, while those with limited availability will sell for full price (or more). Fuel consumption ratings are calculated using EPA standards and can be used for comparison. Unfortunately, these figures are difficult to duplicate under real-world conditions.

Lastly, hybrid vehicles offer more than good gas mileage. They produce significantly less air pollution. More information is available through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). These emissions benefits must be considered when choosing a new vehicle.

PS: Hybrids do not require more maintenance than conventional vehicles.

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