For car shoppers doing their math on lifecycle ownership costs, hybrid electric vehicles always present the challenge of being more expensive – maybe $5,000 more – than comparable non-hybrid models. High gasoline prices can help tip the scale in favor of gas-electrics, as do great loan and lease deals. Resale value is another factor in the equation, and several hybrid models, including a plug-in hybrid version, have been on the market long enough to show their long-term value.

Kelley Blue Book has announced its 2013 Resale Value awards, which forecast resale values as a percentage of the base price over a 60-month period. The winners were announced around the same time as ALG released its residual value awards, which recognize value retention for leased vehicles over a 60-month period. For both of the awards, Japanese brands took the top rankings, with Toyota being the top mainstream brand and Lexus the leading luxury brand in the KBB awards. That was the second year in a row that Toyota and Lexus took these KBB titles. Honda won the mainstream brand and Acura the luxury brand top honors in the ALG awards.

Toyota also did well in the green vehicle awards. Its Lexus division won KBB's Hybrid SUV category with recognition for the RX 450h, which is expected to be worth 64 percent of its original price after 36 months and 43 percent after 60 months. ALG gave the 2013 Toyota Prius C its award for most valuable hybrid.

Domestic brands didn't do nearly as well overall, but Ford and General Motors were recognized for their hybrid technologies. The Ford Fusion Hybrid took top honors in the hybrid/alternative energy car segment with KBB. It's forecasted to hold 59 percent of its value after 36 months.

For the second year, the Chevrolet Volt took the KBB resale value award for the electric vehicle category. It's doing better in the value ratings, too: the 2013 Volt is expected to retain 46 percent of its value after three years, up from 42 percent a year ago.

Hybrid and alternative powertrain vehicles are still a small piece of the pie when it comes to these resale value awards, but it wasn't that long ago that they weren't recognized much at all.

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