9 of 12
BACK NEXT
Winner (by a hair): Honda Civic Hybrid
Cost: $23,270
Fuel economy (CR test): 37 mpg
Total 5-year savings: $25

Without federal tax credits, the Honda Civic Hybrid, which costs about $4,800 more than the Civic LX non-hybrid, wouldn't pay off for its owners until the seventh year of driving, according to Consumer Reports.

But with a $525 tax credit factored in, buyers will see a financial gain - but just barely - in the first year of ownership. Owners will save about $5 a year, on average, according to Consumer Reports' analysis. For practical purposes, one could call that breaking even.

Tax credits on Honda hybrid vehicles have been reduced since Honda Motor Co. sold its limit of 60,000 qualifying vehicles. After the end of 2008, there will be no credits at all on Honda hybrid vehicles.

Also, because of "alternative minimum tax" rules, not all hybrid vehicle buyers will get the full tax credit, even if they buy a qualifying vehicle and don't have to pay the AMT. If you're factoring in tax credits before deciding to buy a hybrid vehicle, check with an accountant first.

NEXT: Loser: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Last updated September 03 2008: 11:51 AM ET
More Galleries
10 most expensive cars sold at Pebble Beach These multi-million-dollar cars sold for top dollar at this year's Pebble Beach collector car auctions. More
The world's most popular beer is ... Few people outside China have ever tasted the top-selling brew in the world. More
Transformations on the street On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless. Here are some of the transformations. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.