• Aug 3rd 2009 at 1:58PM
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2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

In the ongoing battle between hybrids and diesels for "payback time" supremacy, the latest round goes to the oil burning posse. That's the report from Edmunds, which did a recent numbers crunch comparing the two fuel-saving drivetrains and found the scales have tipped in favor of diesel powerplants.

According to the study, the average new vehicle price premium for a hybrid-electric is a whopping $4,981 (the Lexus LS 600h L takes the outlier cherry with a $15,969 premium over its gasoline counterpart). On the other hand, the average diesel premium is only about $2,360 (both figures were calculated after incentives and credits). Last year's high fuel prices have also come down considerably to the point where gasoline and diesel fuel are about the same price. This hurts the hybrid-electric powertrain, which takes advantage of high fuel costs by squeezing more miles out of each dollar's worth of gas for quicker payback.

Edmunds also did a payback comparison between the 2010 Toyota Prius and the all-new 2010 Honda Insight. While the Prius is undeniably clobbering Insight in the sales battle, the website says it will take a sobering 26.2 years of driving to recover the Toyota's $4,030 cost premium.

[Source: Auto Observer]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      In Italy we have the 45%(was 58%) percentage of diesel. A common panda 1.3 Mjet make normally 20/24 Km/lt.
      A Mid-class car, like Golf/Bravo make also 15/18 Km/lt: In economy run 20 Km/lt, so why i need an expensive hybrid?
      Hybrids there must fight with Methane, GPL and Diesel cars and, at the moment, is losing the war.
      If you buy a Methane Panda, the cost of the "device" is payd entirely by the government incentive. About 2.000€, (and more, till 4.500€!) so you have a 0Km payback.
      Hybrids needs Low Cost cars, such as Panda. A Priius there costs about 25/26,000€, while a Bravo 14/18.000 € (street price) a and a Panda 10/11.000€

      Obviously if i need to save money probably i need a cheap car?

      GPL Cars in july

      1 FIAT PUNTO 4.480
      2 CHEVROLET MATIZ 2.920
      3 FIAT PANDA 2.682
      4 PEUGEOT 207 2.668
      5 LANCIA YPSILON 2.557
      6 HYUNDAI I10 2.169
      7 LANCIA MUSA 2.007
      8 FIAT BRAVO 1.891
      9 FORD FIESTA 1.647
      10 OPEL CORSA 1.290


      1 FIAT PANDA 6.298
      2 FIAT PUNTO 3.869
      3 FIAT MULTIPLA 497
      4 CITROEN C3 289
      5 OPEL ZAFIRA 262
      9 CITROEN C4 83
      10 OPEL COMBO 33

      1 HONDA INSIGHT 362
      2 TOYOTA PRIUS 123
      3 LEXUS RX 113
      4 HONDA CIVIC 11
      6 LEXUS LS 4
      7 LEXUS GS 1

      Look the percentage of the total cars sold in July : 2009 2008

      1 FIAT PUNTO/GR. PUNTO 18.720 12.900
      2 FORD FIESTA 9.649 6.058
      3 PEUGEOT 207 5.627 3.663
      4 LANCIA YPSILON 5.115 4.053
      5 CITROEN C3 5.108 3.732
      6 OPEL CORSA 4.831 3.606
      7 LANCIA MUSA 3.801 2.586
      8 TOYOTA YARIS 3.794 5.142
      9 RENAULT CLIO 3.163 3.073
      10 ALFA ROMEO MI.TO 2.926 198
      altre 22.790 21.825

      Almost 40% of Fiat Punto's and Panda's, for example, are GPL/Methane.

      bye... :-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with many bloggers ... passing judgement on the Prius based upon how many years it will take to recover the extra cost alone is absolutely ridiculous. Did Edmunds stop for a brief moment to factor in the amount of technology including safety hardware and modcons the new Prius has into the equation aswell - .my guess ... NO !!

      Consumers are not just purchasing a frugal motor-vehicle with ultra-low emissions but a technologically advanced piece of machinery.

      And as others have stated, the calculations are based upon todays petrol / gas prices which will be different tomorrow, next month, next year and so forth and undoubtedly become increasingly more expensive.

      Some articles are extremely shallow, as this one is !!
      • 6 Years Ago
      They forgot to mention that with the purchase of a diesel you don't have a bad attitude and a chip on your shoulder for being 'green'. That's gotta account for alot of the premium that the Prius has.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That is totally the Holland MI pier. Oh, yeah, and I want a TDi.. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      My searing white-hot hatred for Prius drivers (do they come with an NPR sticker as standard?) has now been replaced by blind fury every time I see a Merc 190D with a massive biodiesel sticker on it. Can we just drive around without informing the world about our particular brand of self-delusion? Otherwise I'm going to buy a Viper and slap a sticker on it that reads "I only commute two mile per day". I'm bored of you all.

      I love diesels. I love hybrid technology (though it's application in Priuses and Insights is completely counterintuitive). But please, do not buy one to make statement. Wasting my breath, I know.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why don't you stop and talk to some of these drivers, before you decide to read their minds.

        • 6 Years Ago
        And all they talk about is This American Life and Trader Joe's heirloom tomatoes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because they're driving. And they've already told me what they want me to know.
      • 6 Years Ago
      wow watch out don't let AutoblogGreen get wind of this b4 they start a witch hunt to all who agree with Edmunds lol....

      and I would like to add that those diesel engines would hit 300K miles well surpass what other cars can achieve...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't care which one pays dividends more quickly. I just know that right now, I'd choose diesel every time over hybrid.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Your responding to Franz.. who btw has a "sports car" as his icon.. which last time I checked.. his GTR doesn't offer a Manual either.

        Ferrari is slowly doing away with it, Audi, GTR, soon.. everyone will be saying the American musclecars are years behind because they are the only ones with Manuals left..lol..

        Things change.. we personally have a hybrid as one of our cars because 99% of the time I don't need a Sports car, or a Truck to go to the grocery store and I like to know I kept as much of my money as possible from going to the middle east.

        I think we need a balance of diesels and hybrids to move towards savings of fuel. The payback terms aren't always exactly right. Currently diesels have the tax credits that most of the hybrids have used all theirs.

        So lets compare APPLES AND APPLES HERE! NO Tax credits, and how much (take the hybrid 15000 premium of the lexus out). Then the average premium is below $3000. Show me a midsize hatchback (NOT the GTI/Rabbit) that is $4000 cheaper than a Prius. A MIDSIZE is the key word. Otherwise I could show you a Hyundai Elantra that is $8500 cheaper than a Jetta TDI.
        • 6 Years Ago

        FAIL: Mazda 3 is a compact car, Prius is a mid-size with nearly double the cargo volume.

        Not to mention the 3 5-dr GT MSRP is $21.5k compared to the Prius II MSRP of $22k.

        Hmmm... so $500 to basically cut fuel economy in half? If you drive 12k miles/year, your hybrid premium pays off in just one year.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Mazda 3 5 door grand touring. about 20,000 to the prius 25/27000.

        what do i win?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree - no manual tranny in the hybrids. Too bad Honda quit making the Civic hybrid manual.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's up with Edmunds lately? They had comparos between Taurus SHO and Infiniti and now this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And in other news, the sky is blue and giraffes are tall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Averages are always distorted when there is a significant outlier like the LS600h. If Edmunds isn't going to use medians instead, I hope they at least weighted their average by sales volume, since whether the largest volume sellers are those with larger or smaller premiums over the most comparable gasoline vehicle could make a significant difference in the payback time. Automobile pubs like to make heavy use of statistics, but they frequently don't have a good understanding of math and how it should be applied.
      • 6 Years Ago
      06 VW TDi owner here.
      I bought it salvaged and saved a crap load more than paying dealer prices.
      The TDI is a hell of a lot more fun to drive any version of the prious.
      I reach over 40Mpg weekly and am happier than hell to be able to drive a car that can drive to Tahoe and back without a fill up and still drive back and forth to work the next week.
        • 6 Years Ago
        An '06 salvaged? Did it fall off a ship? You're a braver man than me. Was it a lemon, or dealer write off? I'm intrigued.
      • 6 Years Ago
      BUYING A PRIUS IS FINANCIALLY STUPID!! The fact is being green costs $$. The true comparison is a Prius vs a Corolla. The Corolla is $10,000 cheaper and still gets 32-40mpg. I don't care how much you drive, you'll NEVER make up a $10,000 price gap which is the TRUE COST OF GOING HYBRID. All you Prius lovers are in it for the ego and status symbol of proving to your neighbors and friends that you are "green". Too bad those of us that really know cars also know that you've made a really stupid financial decision in your choice of buying the hybrid. And to top it off you've purchased a boring car that is so lame to drive you forgot how enjoyable driving can be.

      Keep your prius, if I want to go "green" I'll choose something smarter and more fun to drive such as a TDI or in my case a Yamaha R1 that goes 0-60 in 3 seconds, gets 40mpg, and keeps me grinning ear to ear every time I throw my leg over it.
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