Recouping the Extra Cost

It'll take you several years to make up the difference at the pump.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Most new hybrid owners justify the higher initial cost of their vehicle by saying that they'll make up the difference in fuel savings. Well, that plan may take a little (or a lot) longer than most new car owners think.

Oftentimes, it can take several years to make up for the higher initial cost of a hybrid car in gas savings. When gas was setting new record-high prices in the summer of 2008, people penciled out the time it would take to recoup in fuel savings the extra dollars they had paid for a hybrid car.

At the time, a hybrid car may have sounded like a great idea. In fact, when gas prices are high, hybrid cars can make up the price difference in as little as two years -- like in the case of the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

But when you're talking about an extreme case, like the Lexus LS600h hybrid (which happens to have a six-figure price tag), even when gas prices are relatively low, it would take about 102.6 years to make up the difference when compared to the purchase price of a gasoline-powered Lexus LS460L.

Okay, gasoline is great, but don't forget about diesels. In fact, you can now make a more compelling argument for oil burners than ever before.