Gas prices are getting into the area where they affect consumers’ buying decisions. According to a new Kelley Blue Book study, more than 80 percent of car shoppers say that gas prices have influenced their buying decisions. 58 percent already have downgraded. But what about switching to diesel or hybrid instead? Be careful when you do that, says Edmunds: Choosing a green alternative can cost you a lot of green.
“Now that federal tax credits have expired, car buyers may be surprised to learn how long it takes for savings at the pump to offset the additional expense of buying a hybrid or diesel car,” says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice associate at Edmunds.com.
To help you choose the greenest car that saves you the most green, Edmunds compiled the list of Top 10 Diesels and Hybrids With the Shortest Break-Even Periods for 2011.
Surprise, surprise, the list is monopolized by an unlikely candidate: Mercedes-Benz.
5 of the Top Ten are Daimlers. The leader of the list, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Diesel, even is $961 cheaper than the gasoline model. Buy it, and you started saving before you drove off the dealer lot.
#2 is the Lexus HS 250h Hybrid.
Lincoln lovers get a good deal with the MKZ Hybrid.
The Prius comes fourth, it takes you a little more than half a year to break even.
|Rank||Model||Premium||Savings per year||Break-even after|
|1||2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Diesel||-$961||$694||-1.4 years|
|2||2011 Lexus HS 250h Hybrid||$85||$990||0.1 year|
|3||2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid||$167||$1,093||0.2 year|
|4||2011 Toyota Prius Hybrid||$620||$882||0.7 year|
|5||2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid||$1,966||$1,102||1.8 years|
|6||2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Diesel||$1,428||$640||2.2 years|
|7||2011 Audi A3 Diesel||$1,432||$617||2.3 years|
|8||2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Diesel||$1,433||$567||2.5 years|
|9||2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Diesel||$1,427||$544||2.6 years|
|10||2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid||$1,317||$476||2.8 years|
Remember: All cars on the list are the best performers. If your green diesel or hybrid is not on the list, then you most likely won’t see any savings before the lease is up.
(I was toying with the idea of pointing out that there are no EVs on that list. But then I dropped it. I’m worried someone would brand me as an EV hater.)