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.
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.
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.
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.