Higher Initial Cost

Hybrid cars have a higher initial cost than their more conventional counterparts.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The first obstacle anyone interested in buying a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle will run up against is the higher cost of the hybrid powertrain versus its gasoline-only equal. Hybrid versions generally run several thousand dollars more than conventional versions of the same car.

Much of the extra cost comes from the expense of the new, gas-saving technology found in hybrids. Although some hybrid vehicles are still eligible for federal tax credits, which can help offset some of that initial premium, but you'll find that the popular models, like those from Toyota and Honda, burned through their available tax credits years ago. Here are a few examples:

  • 2012 Ford Fusion: $20,705
  • 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid: $28,775
  • 2012 Honda Civic Sedan: $15,955
  • 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid: $24,200
  • 2012 Toyota Camry: $21,955
  • 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid: $25,900

So you're going to pay more for a hybrid version of a conventional car. But that's okay, because you'll recoup the extra cost through all the gasoline you save, right? Maybe not...