Vue is the Only Hybrid that Beats Its Conventional Counterpart in Latest Industry Analysis

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

Jessica L. Anderson from Kiplinger: After gas prices dropped in late 2008, hybrid sales collapsed, falling 43% in December compared with the previous year. That highlights the reality that when fuel prices are low, savings at the pump rarely make up for the $3,000-plus hybrid premium. The last time Kiplinger's examined the hybrid equation, fuel prices were in the $4-per-gallon range, and hybrids looked much more attractive. But with cheap gas on every corner, it's harder to justify the premium you pay for a hybrid. Using five-year ownership numbers from Vincentric, an automotive research firm, we compared the 2009 hybrids with their gasoline-engine counterparts. The calculations assume you drive 15,000 miles a year with fuel at $2.22 a gallon, and they factor in depreciation, maintenance and repairs. The math also assumes you finance the vehicle with a five-year loan after a 15% down payment, and that you take advantage of hybrid tax credits - which are no longer available for Honda, Lexus and Toyota models. The only hybrid that beats its conventional counterpart is the recently redesigned Saturn Vue, which costs $400 less to own over five years than the Vue XE.

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Analysts are still pouring over data released by the United Auto Workers as part their negotiated deal with General Motors.