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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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