Most (and least) cost-effective hybrids

How much it costs to save a gallon of gas varies widely, even among closely-related vehicles.

Hybrid values
Hybrid values
If you're considering a hybrid vehicle, whether it's to save money on gas or to reduce your "carbon footprint," you should know what it will cost you.

Hybrid cars always cost more than their non-hybrid counterparts, even after tax credits. And it takes a while for gasoline-savings to make up for that premium. asked the automotive Web site to compute how long it would take for 13 leading hybrids.

These rankings assume gas prices stay constant and you drive 15,000. If gas prices move higher, or if you drive a lot, the hybrids' premium would be made up for more quickly.

Also, we didn't include the effect of depreciation - which would only make hybrids look to be more costly. Most experts think that hybrid vehicles lose value faster than non-hybrid ones.

One interesting result is that vehicles from the same company, even vehicles that are very similar to one another, can vary greatly in their cost effectiveness.

Some hybrids really are cost effective enough that, as gas prices rise or if you drive more than 15,000 miles a year, it becomes a reasonable investment even on purely financial grounds.

All fuel economy estimates in this feature are combined city/highway fuel economy ratings calculated by Edmunds com from the EPA's city and highway estimates. These estimates may not match the EPA's own "combined" estimates for 2008.














Hybrid vs. diesel vs. flex-fuel Which will do the most for the environment, fuel supplies and your bank account. (more)
Hybrids: Seven worries, seven answers Sometimes buyers avoid hybrids for the wrong reasons. But, for some buyers, their worries are well founded. (more)
Top 10 best resale value cars Kelley Blue Book predicts how much these vehicles will hold their value. A CNNMoney exclusive. (more)