Most hybrids not cost-efficient, says Canadian study

Consumers who plan to buy a hybrid vehicle to save money may want to think again, according to new research from Canada.

The British Columbia Automobile Association’s (BCAA) concluded last week that "car buyers have yet to see the kinds of price reductions that were predicted to occur as hybrids gained popularity and market share," despite it being 12 years since Honda introduced the first gas electric hybrid in North America.

According to their study, only one car would cost less to buy and operate over a period of five years than its conventional gas-powered equivalent - the C$105,000 (€78,373) Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan.

All Toyota and Honda models came close to their conventional counterparts, but remained more expensive, despite the advantage of lower emissions.

Over a five-year period, the hybrids that are the least costly to own and operate were the Honda Insight (C$38,326/€28,635), Toyota Prius (C$40,324/€30,095), and Honda Civic Hybrid (C$42,664/€31,864) - although this assumes a Canadian gas price of C$1.17 (€0.87) a liter.

“BCAA’s research shows that cost is not typically the main motivator for someone looking to purchase a hybrid,” explained Trace Acres of the BCAA.

“We believe that many consumers are willing to pay a bit more to go ‘hybrid’ if it will reduce their carbon footprint.”

BCAA's research echoes a 2008 study by, which showed that the Toyota Prius actually ranked fairly low when compared to other cars by "total ownership cost".