The question: should you trade in an old car for a new hybrid with higher mileage? In these budget-conscious times, your total out-of-pocket costs could become the deciding factor. Some car buyers assume that they can’t justify the up to $6,000 more it can cost to purchase a hybrid vehicle over a comparable conventional one. However, as Dublin Automotive in Dublin, a Georgia-based Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM dealer suggests, hybrid cars offer their drivers a variety of financial savings and can make a hybrid purchase cheaper than one would think.
City and State Incentives – Some states and cities offer incentives for hybrid drivers, including tax credits, and the convenience of being able to use the high-occupancy vehicle highway lanes. Many cities also offer privileges to hybrid owners too, including free or discounted parking.
Federal Incentives – Buying a hybrid car may entitle the owners to federal tax credits up to a whopping $3,500. How much a given hybrid owner can expect to get from these federal tax credits depends on many factors. The IRS is probably your best source of information on this.
Employer Incentives – Some employers are encouraging their workers to commute in hybrid vehicles. At some remarkably progressive companies, like Patagonia, and Clif Bar, employees can receive up to $5,000 for purchasing or leasing a hybrid car. This essentially eliminates the price premium between a hybrid and conventional car price.
Lower Loan Rates – Many financing institutions offer special rates for hybrid purchases. For example, banks and credit unions offer preferential loan rates for hybrid cars.
Insurance Discounts – A number of car insurance companies, including Farmers, Geico, and Travelers, offer discounted insurance rates to hybrid owners.
Resale Value – Many people forget to factor this into the equation. When it comes time to resell a car, hybrid owners generally discover that their cars are worth more than non-hybrid versions of the same model. For a quick estimate of the average resale value for a car, consult Kelly Bluebook for details. For example, a 2005 Toyota Prius is valued at $3,500–$5,500 more than the resale values of other 2005 non-hybrid Toyota models.
Gas Savings – Yes, gas prices are low now but you know – they will probably go up again at some point. So the real-dollar value of a hybrid car’s better fuel mileage is likely to increase over the course of the time you would own it.
Pride of Ownership – And, of course, there comes the pride of owning a car that represents earth-friendly causes. You really can’t put a price on this.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.