For the latest installment of its "Fuel Economy Guide," Edmunds.com compared the sales prices and annual gas expenses of hybrid vehicles and their non-hybrid counterparts.
Assuming owners keep their hybrids for a few years, the study revealed that high gas prices and generous tax credits now offset the high sales prices of some hybrids, according to Edmunds.com.
The study indicates that the higher purchase price is completely recovered for the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius within three years of ownership, while buyers of the Honda Civic Hybrid, Saturn VUE Green Line and Toyota Camry Hybrid reach break-even within six years of ownership, in each case assuming the vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year.
Full tax credits are only provided to consumers until shortly after each manufacturer has sold 60,000 hybrids. After that threshold is reached, the tax credit gets cut in half. For Toyota and Lexus buyers, that threshold has been reached -- so anyone who buys a Toyota or Lexus hybrid after September 30, 2006, will only qualify for half the tax credit.
The credit for these models will drop to 25 percent in April 2007 and then to zero in October 2007, making it take longer for consumers to break-even.
For more information about this study, visit http://www.edmunds.com/advice/fueleconomy/articles/116513/article.html