Should I Buy a Hybrid Car?

Toyota first came out with a hybrid vehicle in 1997. Since then, almost all the major OEMs have come out with at least one hybrid car. 

This article explains why buying a hybrid vehicle is better than a gasoline or pure electric car.  

Even though we have given examples through Toyota Hybrid in this article, these examples apply to any hybrids on the market regardless of vehicle manufacturers. 

Savings on Fuel Cost

Over the years, gasoline prices have increased a lot. As days go by, it’s going to get even higher. Hybrid cars are best to save on fuel costs. No other vehicle except for Hybrid cars achieves high gas mileage. 

For example, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a gas mileage of 41 in the city. On the contrary, the non-Hybrid RAV4 has an MPG of 27 on city streets. The Hybrid RAV4 is 51% more efficient than the non-Hybrid RAV4. 

Every Hybrid, regardless of manufacturer, is more fuel-efficient than non-Hybrid vehicles.

[Table 1] The following table compares the mpg (miles per gallon) of different Toyota Hybrids vs non-Hybrids models.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsMPG Hybrid (city/highway) MPG Non-Hybrid (city/highway)
Prius Prime54
Corolla Hybrid53/5231/40
Camry Hybrid51/5328/39
Avalon Hybrid43/4422/32
Highlander Hybrid36/3521/29
RAV4 Hybrid41/3827/35
RAV4 Prime38
Sienna Hybrid36/3619/26

On a traditional gasoline vehicle, if the manufacturer says that their car has 30 mpg in the city, it will achieve less than 25 mpg on real-life tests. But in the case of the Toyota Hybrid, countless owners report that they reach or cross the rated MPG most of the time.  

Let’s compare the gasoline cost between a Camry Hybrid vs. a non-Hybrid Camry.

Numerous Camry Hybrid owners report that they regularly get more than 50 mpg combined on their daily commute. In comparison, even though Toyota claims the non-Hybrid Camry achieves 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, it reaches 26 mpg combined in the real-world test.

The Camry Hybrid has a 13 gallon or 49.3 Liter fuel tank capacity. Therefore, you can go more than 600 miles (965 km) on a single refill.

At 50 average mpg, $4/gallon gas, the total gasoline cost on a 10 year / 150,000 miles ownership is 150,000 miles / 50 mpg = 3,000 gallons x $4 = $12,000.

In comparison, to drive a non-Hybrid Camry that gets an average of 26 mpg in a real-world scenario, the total gasoline cost to go the exact 150,000 miles is 150,000 miles / 26 mpg = 5769 gallons x $4 = $23,076.

Therefore, on the Camry Hybrid, an owner will save more than $11,000 on 10-year vehicle ownership. Even if someone pays $1,000-$2,000 extra for the Hybrid model, still the savings is around $9,000. 

[Table 2] The following table shows the gasoline costs of different Toyota Hybrids compared to non-Hybrid models over 150,000 miles of driving at $4/gallon at city mpg (max).

Toyota Hybrid ModelsHybrid Fuel Costnon-Hybrid Fuel Cost
Corolla Hybrid$11,538 (52mpg)$19,355 (31mpg)
Camry Hybrid$11,764 (51mpg)$21,428 (28mpg)
Avalon Hybrid$13,953 (43mpg)$27,273 (22mpg)
Highlander Hybrid$17,143 (35mpg)$28,571 (21mpg)
RAV4 Hybrid$15,789 (38mpg)$22,222 (27mpg)
Sienna Hybrid$16,667 (36mpg)$31,579 (19mpg)

Comparable Pricing

Hybrids are incredibly reliable vehicles. It’s also cheaper than pure EVs. 

Even though the Hybrid model generally costs $1,000 to $2,000 more than the non-Hybrid version, an owner can recoup this extra cost within the first 30,000-40,000 miles of driving. Here’s an example –

The Camry Hybrid costs $2,000 more than the non-hybrid Camry. But an owner can recoup this extra cost on 30,000 miles of driving. Here’s the cost breakdown –

For a Non-Hybrid Camry at 26 mpg, $4/gallon gas, total cost to drive 30,000 miles is 30,000 miles / 26 mpg = 1,154 gallons x $4 = $4,616.

For Hybrid Camry, at 50mpg, the total cost is 30,000 miles / 50 mpg = 600 gallons x $4 = $2,400.

[Table 3] The following table shows the gasoline cost savings of different Toyota Hybrids compared to non-Hybrid models over 150,000 miles of driving at $4/gallon at city mpg.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsFuel Savings over non-Hybrid Models
Corolla Hybrid$7,817
Camry Hybrid$9,664
Avalon Hybrid$13,320
Highlander Hybrid$11,428
RAV4 Hybrid$6,433
Sienna Hybrid$14,912

Long-Lasting Brake Pads and Rotors

The Hybrid uses regenerative braking technology. This tech helps to reduce brake and rotor wear.

Motors called MG — Motor Generator — are indirectly connected to the tires. These motors act as a generator during deceleration and convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy. It recharges the high voltage (traction control) battery and slows down the vehicle. It’s called regenerative braking. 

Hybrids’ brake pads and rotors are less used due to this regenerative braking and last longer. Some Hybrid owners reported that their brake pad survived more than 100,000 miles. For comparison, on a non-Hybrid, the brake pad lasts 20,000 miles or less. 

Longer Lasting Transmission

Nowadays, almost every Hybrid in the markets has eCVT transmission. Even though the name has CVT in it, eCVT is an entirely different type of transmission that uses a planetary gear mechanism. There’s no v-belt, chains, cones, torque converter, etc. The eCVTs are robust in design and last longer than automatic or CVT transmission. Thus, the potential savings are even higher for long-term owners.

Moreover, the transmission oil change is more straightforward than an Automatic transmission oil change. There’s no need to measure the fluid temperature. Only drain and refill are required. Moreover, there’s no transmission oil filter because it’s not needed. It shows how rugged, simple, and genius the eCVT design is.

No Charging Required

A hybrid is not a 100% electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine that recharges the onboard hybrid battery while a driver drives the car. Therefore, an owner doesn’t need to recharge the Hybrid vehicle at home or anywhere. 

Low Maintenance

In the Hybrid, generally, there is no alternator, starter motor, drive chain, v-belt, mechanical differential, drum, cone, etc. The eCVT transmission design is robust, doesn’t break, and requires less long-term maintenance.

Furthermore, the MG (Motor Generator) and the Hybrid battery take off a lot of load from the engine. Thus, the Hybrid is even more reliable than the non-hybrid vehicles. 

Thus, hybrids need less maintenance which lowers ownership costs. 

Hybrid Battery Warranty

One of the critical concerns for potential hybrid owners is the longevity of the hybrid battery. Many potential owners worry that the hybrid battery will fail after a few years and cost them a lot of money. However, this fear is overblown.

Every Hybrid in the industry comes with a superb battery warranty. Even though it varies, typically, every OEM provides an 8-10 years hybrid battery warranty. Under this warranty, the OEM will replace the entire HV battery free of cost. 

For example, since 2020, Toyota has given every Hybrid vehicle a 10-year 150,000 miles Hybrid battery warranty. Toyota also provides an 8-year 100,000 miles Hybrid system warranty. Therefore, if you purchase a new Toyota Hybrid, you don’t need to worry about the high voltage hybrid battery life. Toyota will service and replace this battery free of cost if any problem arises.

The notion that the Hybrid HV battery needs replacement after 8-10 years is overblown. With minimal maintenance, a Hybrid owner can expect more than 15 years of the HV hybrid battery life. Even if the Hybrid traction control battery fails, the cost to replace it is far lower than the total gas savings over the vehicle’s lifetime. 

Avoid Electric Cars

In a market where gasoline price goes through the roof, it seems contradictory to advise avoiding electric cars. But we ask everyone to buy a hybrid vehicle rather than an EV. 

Even a few years ago, one of the main selling points of EVs was that it’s cheap to operate. EVs total cost of ownership over multiple years was reasonable and profitable. However, it’s not valid anymore. Electric cars are now one of the most expensive vehicles out there. From Tesla to Ford’s Mustang Mach-e, everything costs more than Hybrid. 

Moreover, the electricity cost has increased over the years, eroding savings on fuel costs. As more people buy EVs, electricity prices will increase because of high demand.

EVs could be an excellent choice for the local commute because owners can recharge their cars at home. However, for long road trips, EVs are terrible. 

Even though the current charging infrastructure has improved over the years, still, it’s nowhere it needs to be. Not only do EVs take a long time to recharge, but their mileage also suffers at highway speed, impacting efficiency.

Taking a road trip on an EV is possible, but one needs to plan it methodically and thoughtfully. This entire process hampers road trip enjoyment.

Why Avoid Tesla EVs

Tesla is the leading EV manufacturer in the world. They make more vehicles than the rest of the EV manufacturers combined. However, Teslas aren’t cheap.

Price isn’t the main reason to avoid Teslas. It’s the build quality and maintenance issues. Even though it is repeatedly said that EVs are low-maintenance vehicles, the reality for Teslas is different. 

Tesla makes phenomenal cars. But if anything breaks or needs any maintenance, one must take their car to the Tesla Service Centers. Tesla doesn’t allow DIY or third-party maintenance. 

Over the years, Tesla sold millions of vehicles, but the number of Service Centers hasn’t increased proportionately. As a result, these service locations have a severe backlog and long waitlist. As more buyers get their Tesla, this service wait time will worsen.

Moreover, their car must be repaired at a Tesla Certified body repair shop after an accident. These shops are even rarer than service centers. Furthermore, all the repair parts must come from Tesla. 

Repairing a Tesla is not only expensive, but it’s also time-consuming. Typically, it takes 3-4 months because Tesla takes a long time to ship repair parts. Over the years, the situation has worsened.

Bottom Line

As we can see, Hybrid vehicles are superior to pure gasoline vehicles. It needs less maintenance and saves a lot of money on fuel costs.

Hybrids are also better than EVs because EVs competitive advantage has eroded over the years. These cost more, and charging infrastructure isn’t anywhere it needs to be.

It’s why you should buy a hybrid car.