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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Battery Supplier Issue Plauges Saturn, GM Hybrids

TheCarConnection reports that troubled battery maker Cobasys threatens to continue to limit the availability of Saturn and General Motors hybrid vehicles. The 2008 Saturn Vue and Aura Green Line hybrids, as well as the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid, use Cobasys' nickel-metal-hydride batteries. The company is also one GM's key suppliers for its new 2-mode hybrid models.