Car buying: To hybrid or not to hybrid

hybrid carTo Hybrid or Not to Hybrid, that is the question.

A couple of years ago when I shopping for a new car, this is one of the decision I needed to make.  I was considering a Lexus and the hybrid version costed about $3000 more, in this post, I will outline what thought process to decide whether to hybrid or not.  I had a Toyota Prius before that was quite happy with the hybrid model, particularly for the fact I didn’t have a modify my behavior.  Lexus didn’t have a plug hybrid version, so I didn’t consider that option.  

I did some quick calculation to compare the hybrid vs. non-hybrid option.  I typically put about 15,000 miles per year, using the published gas mileage, I can then calculate the approximate gas consumption per year, (i.e, 15,000 miles /year divide by gas mileage per gallon)
Model MSRP Gas Milage (MPG) Gas consumption per year (Gallons) for 15,000 miles
2013 Lexus ES 350 (Gas model)
$36,370 26 MPG 577
2013 Lexus ES 300h (Hybrid model) $39,250 39 MPG 385
Difference $2,880 192 gallon saved per year
At the time, the average gas price was about $3.6 per gallon, that’s a annual saving for $691/year (192 gallon/year * $3.6 / gallon).  Break even period is around 4 years ($2880 divide by $691/year = 4.2 years)  At the current gas price about $2.6 per gallon, that annual saving is $499/year. Break even period is about 5.7 years.
I ended up choosing the hybrid for a few reasons,
  • Save money
    • I plan to keep the car for 5-7 years, so overall, I would break even or potentially a little bit ahead depends on the gas price.
  • Save time
    • With the hybrid, each tank of gas goes for 550 miles, which mean I only need to get gas once a month.  One less thing for me to worry about.
  • Save the environment
    • Overall, the hybrid is a more environmentally friendly car.
For folks who are thinking about “to hybrid or not to hybrid”, hopefully this would helpful.


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