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

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.

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