When choosing a new car, is the high cost of hybrid cars keeping consumers from going green? Consumer Reports has just come out with an article that says that six of the twelve hybrids they analyzed can pay off their price premium in just one year.  2008_Honda_Civic_Hybrid_rear.jpgToyota_Prius_1.jpg

They also found that considering the current high cost of gasoline, when compared with a similar, conventional vehicle, a typical hybrid can save drivers up to $4,000 over a five-year period.  Federal tax incentives can further accelerate the hybrid payoff.  It would take many years for most hybrids to pay back their premium price just on fuel savings. But fuel costs are only 25 percent of the overall owner costs in the first five years. Other factors include depreciation, insurance, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax.*

The current push to increase offshore oil drilling and exploration is all well and good if you support the assumption that we will continue with our ‘business as usual’ approach to fuel economy standards.  (An ineffective EPA standard of 31 mpg is set for 2011.)  If the real issue facing American consumers is energy independence, then an acceleration of EPA fuel economy standards is obviously in order.

A switch by a majority of Americans to hybrid cars would push our average mpg fuel economy toward the magic 40 mpg figure that could totally eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. The additional use of alternative fuels and development of new technologies can further lower our dependence on fossil fuels.  It appears to be a no-brainer.  (Now, about that addiction to foreign cars — pictured above: Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids.)

*via: consumerreports.org