Hybrids can be worth the added up-front cost if the consumer holds on to it, according to Edmunds.com.

Analyst Alex Rosten says the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid are the best bets. The Escape's premium is only $1,200 when taking the $2,600 income-tax credit into account. If driven 15,000 miles a year, it would take 2.9 years to recoup the cost due to the improved fuel economy.

The Prius currently gets a $3,150 tax credit but that drops to $1,575 later this month. At the higher level it would take 2.1 years to recoup the cost. That's assuming 15,000 miles a year with gas costing $3 a gallon and the Prius achieving the EPA mileage estimate. Since there is no gas version of the Prius, Edmunds compares it to a Camry 4-cylinder sedan.

Other vehicles such as the Saturn Vue Greenline, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid would break even within six years.

[Source: San Antonia Express-News]

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