An IntelliChoice.com survey finds that most 2009 US hybrid and clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs deliver a lower total cost of ownership compared to gasoline versions of the same (or comparable) vehicles.
The 2009 IntelliChoice.com Hybrid and Diesel Car survey explores the value of all 2009 model year hybrids and, for the first time, vehicles with clean diesel engines, by evaluating the major factors that determine a vehicle’s cost of ownership over a five year period or 70,000 miles: fuel; maintenance and repair; retained value; insurance; and taxes and licensing fees.
Of the 51 hybrid and clean diesel models now on the market, 35 of them deliver a cost-of-ownership that is somewhat or significantly lower than gasoline versions of the same vehicle. The long-time knock against “green” cars, trucks and SUVs is that their sticker prices do not justify the gas savings. The point we make is that it is not just about fuel. Buyers also need to consider costs such as maintenance and resale value.—James Bell, editor of IntelliChoice.com
The 2009 Hybrid and Diesel Car Survey compares hybrid and clean diesel vehicles against their gas-powered counterparts in the five cost of ownership categories—e.g., the Ford Escape Hybrid is compared against the conventional, gasoline-fueled Ford Escape.
Among the top-level conclusions of the survey:
Clean diesel technology, in its first year of wide availability in the US, poses the first significant challenge to hybrid dominance. Clean diesels are generally priced at a lower premium and still offer significant fuel economy.
“Green” vehicles hold their value better than traditional cars, trucks and SUVs. Most alternative-fuel vehicles have a retained value four to five percent better than traditional vehicles, though some hybrids and clean diesels, such at the Prius and Jetta TDI, are dramatically higher.
Tax credits matter. Of the 50 alternative-fuel vehicles in this year’s survey, 34 have a lower overall Cost of Ownership compared to traditional or gasoline-only vehicles. This number drops to 23 without the Hybrid Tax rebate, concentrated primarily among small cars and sedans.
Alternative-fuel vehicles provide a strong hedge against a jump in fuel prices. If gas goes up to an average of $4.00 per gallon, 41 of the 50 alternative-fuel vehicles in the survey would have a lower overall Cost of Ownership compared to the gas-powered version of the same vehicle, assuming the other ownership costs stay the same. In addition, as fuel costs go up, hybrids and clean diesels tend to see an increase in retained value.