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Using the RepairPal Cost Index to Compare Cost of Ownership Among the Top Hybrids

By John Stahel - March 9th 2017
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Whether drivers are looking to save the environment, or maybe just save a buck on gas money, hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular among modern-day motorists. However, just because you might be saving money at the pump doesn't mean you should ignore the other costs of ownership when it comes to hybrid cars. To inform our curious followers, we at RepairPal have compiled a list of the most popular hybrid vehicles using the RepairPal Cost Index and other relevant information to compare them.

First, it’s important to understand the differences between hybrids and traditional autos. Hybrids utilize both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to increase fuel efficiency. Hybrids employ different methods of charging their electric motor on the go. Some vehicles use regenerative brakes to harness kinetic energy by utilizing the heat produced by braking to charge its battery. Other hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) simply use a gas-powered engine to power and an electric generator which, in turn, charges the batteries. Because of these technological efficiencies, HEVs are able to produce fewer emissions and consume less fuel than a similar conventional vehicle.

According to hybridcars.com, over 11 million hybrid vehicles have been sold since they came to mainstream market in 1997 with the release of the iconic Toyota Prius. In part to the success of the Prius, Japan leads the world in hybrid sales at 5 million, with the United States and Europe following with 4 and 1.5 million respectively. As environmentally friendly vehicles become more prevalent, it’s important to realize how the cost of ownership differs from that of a regular auto.

For instance, the replacement of a battery pack can be a costly repair. However, as hybrid technology has improved, this has become less of an issue and we actually see most hybrids falling beneath the national repair average in the RepairPal Cost Index. Let’s take a closer look.

Since fuel economy is intrinsically tied to hybrids, included in our comparison is combined MPG estimates provided by our partners at Cars.com. With the exception of the Prius, MPG tends to rise with the cost of ownership which could point to more efficient hybrid systems that require more costly repairs. Asian imports Toyota and Honda prove to be the least expensive hybrid models to maintain, while domestic brands, such as Ford and Chevrolet, and luxury make, Lexus, prove to be more expensive in terms of ownership.

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The standout of the list, unsurprisingly, is the best-selling hybrid model: the Toyota Prius. Anyone residing in a larger city can see by the droves of Prius’ piloted by drivers from ridesharing companies to taxi cabs, that these vehicles surpass the competition in ownership cost and fuel economy. When considering your next vehicle purchase, consider going green by going hybrid. 


RepairPal is working to fix an industry not known for trust and assurance and arm consumers with individual knowledge when it comes to getting their cars repaired.

We want to make the auto repair process less stressful and much more trustworthy. Our website features our Fair Price Estimator, eliminating that impending “am I being ripped-off?” feeling, while also providing matches to Certified shops, guaranteed to do the work at that fair price with quality parts and a trained, awesome staff.

Have a question about RepairPal? Send us an email at community@repairpal.com.

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