Friday, October 22, 2010

Calculating Whether Hybrid or Electric Cars Are Right For You

Since you can't quite tell whether it makes financial sense to buy a hybrid car or the plug-in electric car such as the Chevy Volt, or even the all-electric Nissan Leaf, based simply on pronouncements made by the companies themselves about mileage estimates, here's a handy dandy calculator that can help narrow down the choice.

It lets you compare hybrids, hybrid-electric plug ins, and all electric cars with each other and even to gas powered cars using information you can plug in for how many miles you drive, the kind of miles driven, costs for gas, electricity, and the purchase price after tax credits are taken into effect.

What it shows may be surprising to some, but not to me.

I found that when using my own mileage information, the Toyota Corolla ends up saving me thousands of dollars over 10 years compared with the Chevy Volt (nearly all of the difference due to the higher purchase cost). The Nissan Leaf may actually eek out a victory over the Corolla due to its lower price point, but it takes nearly 10 years to do so.

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