NEW YORK (MainStreet) Here's a look a five hybrid cars that can put more "green" not only on the road but in your wallet, as they cost the same or less than their gas-powered counterparts.
"These cars are really good deals for consumers because they offer the benefits that come with owning hybrids without the premium price," says Warren Clarke of Edmunds.com, which recently compared all 2013 hybrids' prices to those of comparable gas-powered models.
Hybrids which run on a combination of gasoline and battery-electric power offer better fuel efficiency than all-gasoline vehicles, but typically cost around $5,000 or $6,000 more than comparable gas-only cars.
Clarke says that's mostly because hybrid technology hasn't achieved enough adoption among automakers to create the same economies of scale that gas-powered cars offer. Hybrids also require expensive battery packs that boost vehicles' sticker prices.
Still, Edmunds' research uncovered a handful of hybrids that actually cost the same or less than the equivalent all-gas models do.
Clarke speculates that some auto companies have decided to sell certain hybrids at cut-rate prices for business reasons.
"I think it's a marketing decision on the part of some of the manufacturers," he says. "They're willing or able to offer consumers hybrids at low prices, which is good news for consumers."
The expert believes consumers should almost always buy a car's hybrid version when it costs the same or less than the gasoline edition, unless buyers have their hearts set on certain gas-only vehicles that have significantly higher horsepower.
"If you're a consumer who really wants the most-powerful model available, the gas version of a car will probably suit you best," Clarke says. "Otherwise, a hybrid is definitely the way to go."