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Buying a Car: What’s the Average Extra Cost of Getting a Hybrid?

If you’re interested in buying a car and you’re thinking about choosing a fuel-efficient model, you’re probably wondering exactly how much of a premium you should expect to pay in order to purchase a hybrid vehicle instead of a traditional gas-powered one. To help you find out, we’ve rounded up a few examples that show the average price premium between a traditional car and a fuel-efficient hybrid.

The Examples

In most cases, shoppers interested in an especially fuel-efficient car will have to pay a premium in order to get a hybrid model. For example, the Ford Fusion S starts at $23,200 with shipping, while the Fusion S Hybrid starts from $26,000. That $2,800 premium remains fairly constant across the Ford Fusion lineup.

It’s the same story with the Toyota Camry: A gas-powered Camry LE starts from $24,000 with shipping, while a Camry LE Hybrid starts from $27,700 — a premium that also stays relatively constant as you progress through the car’s trim levels. As for Hyundai, a base-level Sonata SE starts from $22,700 with shipping, and a Sonata SE Hybrid starts at $27,000, though it adds some extra features to help justify its increased price premium.

But what about models that don’t have a gasoline version for comparison? Take the Toyota Prius, for instance, which starts around $25,100 with shipping. The closest comparison is probably a high-end version of the Toyota Corolla, which is around $21,000, but the Corolla doesn’t have as much room as the Prius, and the Prius offers some equipment you can’t get in a Corolla. It’s the same story with the Ford C-MAX, which starts around $25,000 and offers no traditional gas-powered version. In that case, the closest competitor a Focus Hatchback, which starts around $22,000, but the C-MAX still offers some benefits you can’t get in the Focus.

And then there are the models without a premium, like the Lincoln MKZ, which starts at the exact same $36,000, whether you choose the hybrid version or the gas-powered model. That’s a rarity, though, as most hybrid models command at least a slight premium over their more traditional counterparts.

How Much?

So just how much of a premium should you expect to pay for a hybrid vehicle? Except in unusual circumstances, we think the difference is usually about 10 to 15 percent of the purchase price — a figure that translates to around $2,000 to $3,000 for most affordable hybrid models. While that figure will likely take a few years to earn back in fuel savings, it’s also a lot more reasonable than previous hybrid car price premiums, which could sometimes run $4,000 or more.

Our Take

With hybrid car pricing typically only a couple thousand dollars higher than pricing for traditional gasoline-powered models, we think hybrid vehicles are definitely worth a look if you’re buying a car and you prioritize gas mileage. While it may take some time to earn back the price difference in fuel savings, you’ll eventually get there — and you’ll be doing a little extra to save the environment along the way.

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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