Cost of hybrid car may not be worth gas savings

TAMPA, Fla. - How long do you have to own a hybrid before the money you save on gas offsets the sticker price?

Steve Reich with USF's Urban Transportation Research Department found it could take many years before most hybrids pay for themselves.  

According to the automotive research website TrueCar.com , the added cost of fuel-efficient technologies in some hybrids means the average driver would need to keep the car for a decade to break even.

According to True Car, a buyer who chose the Nissan Leaf instead of the Nissan Versa would need to drive it six years, paying $5 a gallon before the fuel savings overrides the $10,000 price difference.

There are a couple of small cars that deliver terrific gas mileage, and they are even more affordable, such as the Mazda 3 or the Toyota Corolla.

If you want to crunch the numbers, a new website from the department of energy can help.

FuelEconomy.com shows how much a hybrid adds to the sticker price versus a comparable model, how much money it will save every year, and how long it takes to repay the initial cost.

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