Only seven of 29 hybrids offered in the 2016 model year showed a lower total cost of ownership than their gasoline counterparts, representing a sharp decline from 2012 levels, according to an analysis by Vincentric.
One in four hybrids exhibited a lower TCO (24%) compared to 44% of hybrids studied in 2012, when gasoline prices were significantly higher, Vincentric found. In 2014, 32% of the hybrids studied had a lower TCO.
The seven lower-TCO hybrids included the Audi Q5 Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Lexus CT 200h, Lexus ES 300h, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and Toyota Prius C. Five of these seven depreciated at a lower rate than their gasoline counterparts, according to Vincentric.
The Audi Q5 Hybrid offered the greatest hybrid-over-gasoline-powered-vehicle total cost of ownership savings for a direct hybrid-to-gasoline model comparison, with $4,484 in savings.
Eight of the hybrids offered significant cost savings in fuel use over their gasoline counterparts that require premium fuel. The Lexus NX 300h and the Infiniti Q70 Hybrid exhibited impressive fuel savings of $3,546 and $3,443 respectively.
"There are still instances when a hybrid's cost of ownership savings justifies the hybrid price premium," said David Wurster, Vincentric's president. "Hybrids, however, may be losing their competitive edge due to the decrease in fuel price and improved fuel economy of all-gasoline-powered vehicles. Buyers should analyze individual models and their own driving patterns to decide whether a hybrid or its gas counterpart is the best choice to save them money in the long run."
Fuel prices used in the analysis were based on a weighted average over the previous five months. The report also assumes the vehicle is owned for five years with 15,000 miles driven per year. Vincentric measured cost of ownership using eight different cost factors including depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs.