The ROI of Hybrids
"With gas at $4 a gallon, there's a lot of pain at the pumps. And a lot of people looking to trade in their gas-guzzling SUV for a fuel efficient hybrid.
No wonder automakers report that sales of these vehicles are in freefall. GM just shuttered four plants that make them.
But even in this economy, trading in your SUV for a hybrid may not make the best financial sense. You may be better off keeping the vehicle, taking the pain – and just driving less.
Or looking for a cheaper alternative car. Look at the numbers.
A Toyota Prius sedan, the best-selling hybrid, will get an average of 45 miles per gallon. A typical SUV, like a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Explorer, may only get about 16.
At current fuel prices, making the change will save the typical driver about $2,400 a year (that's based on the Department of Energy estimate that you drive about 15,000 miles a year).
Those savings sound like a lot. But in order to get them, you first have to lose a lot more on the trade."