I frequently see comments about hybrid cars saying explicitly that 'they don’t pay for themselves in gasoline savings.'
Three things to know. First, there is no American car that is a hybrid. They are all standard engines with a big starting motor and a big battery. The engine turns off when your brake foot brings the car to a stop. When you move from the brake pedal to the throttle the starting motor powers the car to move the first few miles per hour.
The Honda and the Toyota are real hybrids. They have real electric motors connected to the drive shaft that power the car past the first 30 miles per hour. The gasoline engine is intended to charge the batteries most of the time.
Second, getting 50 miles per gallon (Honda or Toyota) versus the standard 25 miles per gallon will save you $750 per year.
Absurdity: To think that a hybrid car can be compared to some other arbitrary car on the market in order to evaluate the increased cost of the hybrid relative to the savings in gasoline. There are plenty of cars on the market that have the same space, power and other design qualities as the Honda and Toyota hybrids. Some cost more and some cost less. There is no real hybrid premium to use in calculating gas-mileage-savings.
Third. Saving $750 per year in gasoline won’t buy you any new car. Hybrids don’t pay for themselves when thought of in simplistic terms of paying for the whole new car.