• New starting price under $30,000
  • $4,620 price drop for Advanced model
  • No equipment changes for 2014

Toyota announced a lower price for the plug-in version of its Prius hybrid. The 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In is priced starting just under $30,000, a reduction of $2,010 compared to the 2013 model. The top-trim Prius Plug-In Advanced, which includes features such as navigation, a head-up display and Toyota's Safety Connect system, is also priced lower for 2014. Its manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $34,905 represents a reduction of $4,620 compared to its 2013 equivalent.

Fortunately for new-car shoppers interested in saving on fuel costs, the Prius Plug-In's price drop comes with no penalty in equipment. Instead, Toyota's pricing move follows recent price reductions by other automakers for plug-in hybrid and electric models. Plug-in hybrid models such as the Chevrolet Volt are now available with low lease rates or cash back, as are electric vehicles (EVs) such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric.

Plug-in vehicles are extremely efficient to operate, too, thanks to the low cost of electricity in comparison to gasoline. While pure EVs use electricity exclusively, plug-in hybrids can run on gasoline, as well, which provides greater overall range. The trade-off is shorter all-electric range. For example, the Prius Plug-In can travel about 11 miles on electricity alone, while the Nissan Leaf can go about 80 miles before requiring a recharge. The Prius Plug-In then switches to gasoline power, which still delivers 50-mpg fuel economy.

Priced at $29,990, the base Prius Plug-In includes heated front seats, a remote climate conditioning function, 10-spoke wheels unique to the plug-in model and three years of roadside assistance. The top-trim Advanced version adds Toyota's Entune navigation system and Safety Connect, a telematics platform that includes features such as automatic accident notification, stolen vehicle assistance and an emergency button to call for help.

Other high-tech safety features are available on the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In Advanced. These include adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system and LED headlights and fog lights offered with the $2,610 Technology package.

Aside from a lower price and the reduced operating costs associated with a plug-in vehicle, the latest Prius Plug-In also benefits from a $2,500 federal tax credit for green vehicle buyers. Some states offer additional tax benefits, too. All of these factors translate to strong deals on plug-in hybrids and EVs.

What it means to you: Save money in the new-car showroom and at the pump by choosing an EV or a plug-in hybrid, such as the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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