Photo of the 2017 Fusion Hybrid SE courtesy of Ford.

Photo of the 2017 Fusion Hybrid SE courtesy of Ford.

The total cost of owning hybrid vehicles compared to their gasoline counterparts improved in 2017 with 40% of the models studied in Vincentric's annual analysis having a lower TCO, according to the firm.

Of the 65 gasoline-electric hybrids analyzed, 26 showed a lower TCO than the comparable gasoline models. A year ago, only 26% of the 29 hybrids studied (seven vehicles) had a lower TCO. Including the gasoline models, the analysis looked at 130 vehicles.

Hybrid passenger cars with higher fleet utilization showed varying results with many of Toyota's Prius models showing a higher TCO, and Ford's Fusion Hybrid and the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid showing lower TCO.

Ford's Fusion Hybrid Titanium fared best among the vehicle's four trim grades, mostly due to a lower depreciation rate. The vehicle would cost $6,082 less to own than the Fusion Titanium.

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid would cost $496 less to own over five years than the Malibu LT.

The survey analyzed 15 Prius models and found that the four Prius C subcompact sedans compared favorably to the Yaris. The Prius C Three would cost $3,609 less to own than the Yaris SE.

Luxury cars had the highest percentage of cost-effective hybrids (46%), while passenger cars (39%) and SUVs/crossovers (36%) were the next highest categories.

The Lexus CT200h returned the highest savings when compared to a similarly equipped Lexus IS 200t. Buyers would save $7,750 over five years. Lexus discontinued the vehicle after the 2017 model year.

The Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Premium had the worst TCO among the vehicles analyzed. It would cost buyers $8,315 more to own than a similarly equipped Q50 Premium over five years.

The savings for cost-effective hybrids typically occur when the savings from lower fuel costs and lower depreciation rates outweigh the price premium for that hybrid, according to Vincentric.

"Our study showed a significant increase in the percentage of hybrids that can save buyer’s money over five-years when compared to an all-gas counterpart," said David Wurster, Vincentric's president. "Understanding the value of hybrids requires looking at all ownership costs, and not just fuel savings. Only then can buyers determine whether it makes sense to pay the hybrid price premium."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet