A recent Wall Street Journal article reported on the economic benefits to be found in buying a hybrid and from the looks of things there really isn’t much of anything.Â The article states that:
Americans get a tax break for buying hybrids — the starting amount varies by model — but the more hybrids an auto maker sells, the smaller the tax break becomes on any hybrid models from that maker. After a manufacturer sells its 60,000th hybrid, the tax break starts to phase out
Well, in perfect world we wouldn’t need a government subsidy in the form of a tax break to make it make sense to buy a hybrid; but just in case you live in the same imperfect world I live in every little bit helps.
It seems that although hybrids are marginally more economical to operate due to the increased fuel efficiency; the higher sticker price tends to absorb any savings and then some. Â Â For example:
Toyota’s Prius, which gets a leading 46 mpg combined but no longer qualifies for the tax credit, costs over $7,000 more than the auto maker’s compact Corolla. It would take nearly 18 years to recoup the premium, or more than twice the time you might expect to own it
They go on with a helpful chart that lets us know how equally disadvantaged the other hybrids in the group are.Â
If we are going to depend on our government to make up the difference; well I don’t personally think that is the horse we want to bet on.Â Now what may beÂ a more realistic plan is to start requiring better mileage and less emissions to the point that manufacturing has to keep up Â to stay in the game but then we wind up with straining our already battered auto industry and inadvertently encourage more people to stick with older more polluting vehicles as they can now no longer afford a new car.Â
I think the realist position is that if hybrids are in fact the answer; we aren’t there yet technology-wise.Â The general population has proven time and again that in order for something like this to work it has to not put them at a financial disadvantage.Â I always hope to be proven wrong on this.