By on January 19, 2015


Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV.

Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is the Ford Focus Electric, which is leaving the lot with 16 percent off of its $29,995 MSRP. The market average for the EV comes out to $25,168.

Taking silver and bronze on the podium are the Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 with regular cab and standard bed, and the Toyota Venza XLE, coming with an average of around 11 percent savings off MSRP. Both vehicles are the only ones in the top five that aren’t green vehicles, though the 1500 can be had in EcoDiesel and EcoDiesel HFE trims.

Rounding out the quintet are the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Prius Two, both saving their fans around 10 percent off MSRP for a total of $29,411 and $22,498, respectively.

President John Krafcik said that with automakers “heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories,” as well as the majority of consumers becoming more focused on the fuel pump over fuel economy, now is the time to buy a hybrid or EV. He added that “when the pendulum swings the other way,” such vehicles would become more attractive, with pricing to match.

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50 Comments on “Lower Fuel Prices Mean More Savings On Green Vehicle Purchases...”

  • avatar

    Unfortunately, I have not seen any price drop for used hybrids in Ontario. And I’ve been looking at their prices since last summer, when gas was over $0.40 more per liter.

  • avatar

    Of course, Hyundai and Kia are discounting their Hybrids because the new, better 2016’s are on the way.

    As with everything, the goal is to buy low and sell high, so yes, now is the time to buy a hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Not quite.

      We got our 13 Optima Hybrid in May 2014 with a heavy discount. It was listed for $26k, but we closed at $20k even.

      Gas was still expensive then.

      Similar deals have been running all year. I think Kia is trying to buy market share.

  • avatar

    Gas prices were $1.90 for Premium 93 in January 2009 – right after Obama’s Inauguration.

    I’ve been paying between $2 and $4.50 since then.

    You’d be a fool to think fuel prices weren’t going back up.

    However – let’s assume for a second I am wrong and fuel prices do stay this low for the next 2 – 4 years (or longer).

    There are many economies being hurt by low fuel prices because they aren’t diversified. I hear a lot of complaining from Canadians. They need to get themselves together.

    Low priced energy is ultimately good for an economy in the long run. Energy prices effect food costs and just about everything else we ship.

  • avatar

    Hybrids are are tougher sell, but pure EVs are a different case. The Leaf somehow had a record month in December. That surprised me since I thought buyers in the Leaf’s price range were more fuel price sensitive.

    My theory is that there are multiple categories of EV buyers. I think there are some people buying them to save money, but there are the “green” buyers, and what I suspect is really the largest category, buyers that like the characteristics of an electric drivetrain. I’m in the latter category and I think most of the other EV owners here are in that category as well. The quiet and instant torque go a long way towards making up for the shortcomings for many of us.

  • avatar

    Now would be the perfect time to snag a Prius for my gf and I. I was awfully impressed with my 2014 rental a few months ago. 46mpg without trying, just setting the cruise control at 72mph. And this was in the cold. Adequate amount of power, and I didn’t even hate that huge center console as much as I thought I would.

    • 0 avatar

      The Prius is a fine car. I’ve never understood why it draws such constant vitriol, yet something as antiquated and uncaring as a *Panther* is prized and worshipped [ducks behind fortress].

      • 0 avatar

        You can see out of a Panther.

      • 0 avatar

        Honestly, when they first came out (and I was in highschool) I was one of the Jalopnik-esque detractors, spurred on by many of the initial Prius drivers being pretty smug folks thinking they were saving the planet. Now that they’ve become totally mainstream, I see them for what they are: totally reliable, practical, efficient transportation. Not really any less fun to drive than most of the electrical power steering equipped, road isolating economy cars on the market today anyways. The longer hatchback shape is also excellent for hauling stuff.

        Let me add that as an engineer, I can really appreciate just how well thought out the powertrain is, how mechanically simple and durable it is. The current cars no longer have ANY drive belts to replace, the electric motor spins up the internal combustion engine and thus prelubricates the cylinder walls before there is any actual combustion taking place. This also in part is what leads to really long oil life in these cars. The regenerative braking leads to insanely long brake life. Fantastic stuff.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree and think that the Prius is one of Japan Inc’s most resounding technological coups. If I were 5’6″ I’d be driving one.

          My kid is 6’3″ and has no problem with it. I don’t understand that at all.

        • 0 avatar
          an innocent man

          Darn I was getting ready to say this. I think some of the original vitriol was brought on by the owners’ smugness. My wife has a friend who has owned 2. When she got her original her attitude was, “I’m a better person than you because I get 50mpg.” That seems to have changed though. Now it’s, “I’m a less-broke person because I have a car that gets 50.” The mainstreaming of the car, people buying for its qualities, and not to make a point, has had an impact.

        • 0 avatar

          The Prius would be an utterly fantastic car, if it did not suck like the vacuum of space to drive. It is the perfect soulless commuting module though.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, if you had a car with a soul you’d have to put up with it being off at church all the time, voting stupidly, arguing with you about your life style..etc.

            And if it were Catholic, hell, you wouldn’t get to drive it at all during Lent.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve heard it drives horribly. Absolutely terribly, even in the opinion of people who don’t care about high limit driving.

        I’m still waiting on a “Prius Sport” with the 200HP powertrain from the Camry/Highlander/etc. and better tires/suspension tuning.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem with the Prius (and some of the other Hybrid and EV’s) are the Hypermilers.

        When you are driving through traffic, the thing that will get on your nerves the most is having all the lanes blocked by people who are sticking to the speed limit and slowing everyone else down…or driving below the limit.

        And why is it that you get an entire lane dedicated to your hybrid – as well as parking spaces at college campuses? I’m not talking about special spaces for EV to charge…I’m talking about spaces near the front gate just because you have a “Hybrid”. You could still park in them if you had an S400 or Lexus LS600h.

        It’s a Liberal agenda that makes me sick.

        That’s why not only do I drive in HOV’s WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT…but I also floor it around the jerk who’s slowing me down in the left or middle lane.

        The only sound you’ll hear vibrating in that pathetic soul-less econobox is HEMI.

      • 0 avatar

        It got the vitriol originally because it was a replacement for displacement, and it wasn’t a sporty/fun-to-drive vehicle. Now it gets some of the vitriol from the behavior of some owners that approaches that of “Beemer-Bozos” and others.

    • 0 avatar

      The Prius is pretty amazing. It’s hard to believe that I can drive across the state of Pennsylvania at 70mph and achieve nearly 55mpg in my wife’s Prius. Hell my motorcycles won’t do that.

      Sure, it’s as boring as hell, but given the reality that the majority of Americans are forced to drive in, boring constitutes 90% of our drives.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Yep. I’m not really in the market for a new vehicle, but doing my Sunday rounds of the dealers, that ’47mpg’ on the sticker of an Accord Touring model caught my eye more than before. Just knowing they may be willing to work the price a little has me at least running the numbers.

  • avatar

    I spent part of the week last week in an E-Assist Regal. It was very nice car and I really came to like the E-Assist. The fuel mileage as indicated by the on-board computer was very good for my all city only driving, in the mid 20’s. Considering my travels hardly took me on any roads that were more that 40 MPH and more than 5 miles from the house, it seemed reasonable.

    After the price shock of 2008, I downsized to a mid sized 4 cylinder car and have not regretted it. If I had to replace my current ride, right now I would go for something with a turbo. But, if the price is right I could go for one of the hybridized cars. Or a Volt…

  • avatar

    Hybrids currently have terrible resale value. 2-3 year old Volts are available for 60+% off their new price (full retail), while 2 year old C-Max hybrids are about 50% off their new price. Both are nicer drives than a Prius, and only a little more expensive used than comparably used conventional alternatives (Cruze or Focus).

    • 0 avatar

      I think that horrible resale most definitely does not apply to any of the Prius lineup, when I was looking it really made more sense to just buy a new one.

    • 0 avatar

      MSRP was $36K for MY13 Volt per the interwebs (not taking incentives into account). Rough the Volt is doing high 10s (30%) for rough and low 15s (42.5%) for clean/low miles. Maybe +/- 5% for GM incentives. MSRP for MY Prius II ex additional options was $24,200, so clean 15,2 (62.8%) and rough 13,7 (56.6%)

      Yikes for Volt buyers.

      MY13 Chevy Volt

      Low miles extra clean: 16,7 @ 10K
      Low miles clean: 15,3 @20K
      High miles avg/clean: 14,2 @ 48K
      High miles rough: 10,8 @ 82K

      MY13 Toyota Prius Hatchback II

      Low miles clean: 15,2 @ 28K
      High miles rough: 13,7 @ 57K

      My advice, long used hybrids or new Priusies now especially in high tax areas.

      • 0 avatar

        Holy cow Volts were never even on my radar but that strikes me as quite the bargain! Buy one now and drive it for a few years, then when gas hits $4.00 a gallon again flip it and buy an SUV :) Then sell the SUV when gas goes back down. Rinse and repeat!

        • 0 avatar

          This is what I am recommending, I knew many a dealer who made a killing on Navis and Mountaineers when they bought at the height of gas for peanuts in 2008 and sold in early to mid 09 to cash buyers (or BHPH).

          The only rip is when your Volt/C-Max/Sonata hybrid/Fusion or Zephyr hybrid needs certain kinds of work you are beholden to the dealer.

          I’m sure dealers can’t move their used hybrids worth a damn right now, this is the time to beat up the new car dealers.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Dealer prices for used Volts in the Minneapolis/St. Paul CL ads are pretty much where they were 6 months ago. Cheap gas doesn’t appear to have reduced at least the asking prices yet.

    • 0 avatar

      This doesn’t mean much there are many factors which go in to dealer “asking” prices, the important takeaway if they can’t make money on these at the block.

      If you come in and try to lowball them on something desirable, they will scoff not only because they can sell it to some other Tom, Dick, or Harry but also because in a pinch they can dump it on the block. If they don’t have good recourse at the auction, they have less leverage.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Where are the savings on EVs? You’ll not get any on a Leaf.

    The savings are really only for hybrids, IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      MY13 Nissan Leaf S

      Factory sale (11 miles): 18,250
      Low miles extra clean: 14,6 @ 3K
      Low miles clean: 14,1 @ 20K
      High miles clean: 12,6 @ 30K
      High miles rough 12,2 @ 30K

      MSRP was $28,034.

      This depreciation makes Lincoln Zephyr’s look like a Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I was referring to new prices. No doubt, depreciation on Leafs is huge.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m curious as to why. Otherwise the used Leaf would make a nice city car on the cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            The huge depreciation is probably due to the degraded battery.

            After 2.3 years, my range has dropped by 30-50%, depending on how it’s measured. I had thought for a while that the battery was on the curve Nissan predicted (20% loss in 5 years), but it’s much worse than that.

            The lease buyout for my 12 Leaf is $18k after 3 years, but I’m finding 3-year-old 11 and 12 Leafs with 30k miles retailing for $12k.

            There is no way I’ll buy this car. It is an otherwise excellent vehicle, but anyone buying used should really investigate the range issue.

            I believe – but am not sure – that the more aggressive Tesla battery chemistry ages better. This would really help their resale value.

          • 0 avatar

            30-50% in 2.3 years? Ut oh.

            Ok here ya go, a replacement pack is $5500 but they take your current pack as a core charge. So in your case, a 12K leaf with a new pack would run about 18k.

            Nissan’s Brian Brockman, writing at My Nissan Leaf, announced that Nissan Leaf replacement batteries are now available to purchase at certified Leaf dealers in the US at a suggested retail price of $5,499. These packs are the ones found in 2015 Leaf models, which are similar to the ones the Leaf has always had, just with a different, better battery chemistry. To buy a new pack, you need to give Nissan your original battery pack (which Nissan says will be recycled and has a value of $1,000) and the $5,500 “does not include tax, installation fees or an installation kit required for 2011 and 2012 vehicles.” That kit costs around $225.


          • 0 avatar

            Crazy leaf depreciation from MSRP is probably connected the the tax incentives the purchasers got. For sure the second owner is going to use that as a bargaining chip.

            I know if I was going shopping that would factor in my decision, since I can get a gov’t rebate if I buy new.

            Isn’t it Atlanta that has crazy incentives, such that it is the largest leaf market in the US.

            Much like buying green cars when the gas price is low, I’m sure EV and PEHV used values will climb when green car gov’t rebate programs on new cars expire and are not replaced

            This new car rebate issue will probably skew any cars that were eligible. Volt is eligible so depreciation probably looks way worse than a prius (where the PEHV option is fairly new and small % of the Prius range) which gets no such rebate

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX


            FYI, when I got my Leaf, Nissan took the $7500 subsidy, so no income test applied. The EV then became a non-factor on my income taxes.

  • avatar

    OEMs have to sell fuel efficient vehicles or may HUGE CAFE fines. Besides, it is expensive to have to shut down assembly lines to balance inventories as Ford did recently at its C-Max plant.

    Bottom line: More incentives on new fuel efficient vehicles mean lower wholesale prices for the pre-owned versions. The cost of the incentives on the new vehicles will be added to the price of the vehicles that sell without having to force the market, to the extent possible. I suspect this will continue for 18 – 24 months.

    It isn’t the purpose or function of OPEC to serve as pricing cover for competitors. Every now and then they have to “send a message” and clear out some production through lower market prices which will cause the price to rise on its own. In the meantime, ISIS’ funding through its stolen oil operations has been cut in half. Russia is being punished for its adventurism in Ukraine. Venezuela is increasingly uncomfortable. Iran has lees money to fund it nuclear and terrorist initiatives, and the West, Japan and China, get an economic shot in the arm.

    But don’t get used to it. It won’t last.

    • 0 avatar

      “It isn’t the purpose or function of OPEC to serve as pricing cover for competitors. Every now and then they have to “send a message” and clear out some production through lower market prices which will cause the price to rise on its own.”

      The Sheikhs of Araby have never cleared out some production through lower market prices, since it only costs them $2.50 a barrel to produce no matter where it comes from. They lower prices for political reasons.

      Why lowering the price will cause the price to rise on its own is a form of logic not understood by people with normal brains.

      What on earth are you rabbiting on about now, anyway? Explain.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…when the pendulum swings the other way…”

    This could take 10 years or more–more than the life of the econobox you’re suffering with.

    All future expectations about the price of oil are baked into the current price. That’s how commodities markets work. If the price of oil were certain to rise in the future, the price would be higher now.

  • avatar

    The first car mentioned, the Focus plug in, is eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of $7,500. Washington has no sales tax on plug ins and Illinois has a $2,000 cash incentive. To get the full $7,500 credit, you have to pay that much in Federal Tax, and not be in AMT brackets.

    Based on this: “The market average for the EV comes out to $25,168.” Someone able to get full credits for this would have a net cost of $16,000-$17,000.

    It is, in many ways, a truly uninspiring car. Yet for someone with a short commute and a second ICE, why not?

    If you do the Tesla math on cost of ownership, this is more or less free. The only way to easily find the numbers is the Tesla site.

    Anyone owning one of these isn’t going to be racking up lots of miles. At 20 miles per day, that would be 7,000 miles per year. I don’t know what a 2 year old, low milage model would sell for, but it wouldn’t be for much less than the net purchase price.

    • 0 avatar

      If you fall in the niche where it makes sense to you given gasoline @2.50 USD per US gallon, go for it! Auto makers are dumping them like last year’s fashions.

      My opinion is that cheap gasoline is a primarily a supply phenomenon thus and will last for another decade, at least. If so, EV subsidies will melt away like ice cream on a hot summer day. That will help your resale value.

      I want a slightly used, out of fashion Tesla in a few years at a really good price.

  • avatar

    My girlfriend has been looking at the Fit and Prius, and we haven’t noticed any drops in pricing yet…

  • avatar

    I guess the SUV to the left of the Optima is the current Sorrento – I always notice those in traffic because they look so incredibly odd and outdated. It’s like they found a design from an 08 concept which was penned in 04, and put it on sale.

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