BCAA's annual hybrid cost analysis: Elimination of provincial tax incentive
make hybrid models less cost competitive

BURNABY, BC, July 21 /CNW/ - Twelve years after Honda introduced the first gas-electric hybrid vehicle into the mass North American market, car buyers have yet to see the kinds of price reductions that were predicted to occur as hybrids gained popularity and market share. Even with technological advancements, and increased sales and model selection, consumers continue to pay a premium to purchase a hybrid. And, with the introduction of the HST and the corresponding elimination of the provincial sales tax rebate on hybrid vehicles, most hybrid models continue to cost more to own and operate than their conventional gas-powered counterparts.

According to the British Columbia Automobile Association's (BCAA) annual Hybrid Cost and Savings analysis conducted in July, several models come close to their conventional cousins when costs are compared over five years, but only one - the $105,000 Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan - is less expensive to own and operate compared to its conventional equivalent.

BCAA's study placed 16 hybrid models available in B.C. and their conventional equivalents side-by-side and compared the purchase, financing and fuel costs over a five year period. The analysis assumes a constant gas price of $1.17 per litre and a driving distance of 20,000 kms a year. The main differences between the 2010 and 2009 cost studies are the elimination of the provincial sales tax rebate and the provincial luxury vehicle tax, and the price of gas, which last year was $1.04 per litre. New models this year are the Lexus HS 250h and Mercedes-Benz S400.

    
    BCAA's Hybrid Cost Analysis revealed the following:

    -   The $105,000 Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan is the only model less
        expensive to own and operate compared to its corresponding
        conventional model. The S400 is approximately $5,000 less to own and
        operate than the closest conventional model, the Mercedes S450.

    -   The hybrids that come closest in cost to their conventional
        counterparts in purchase and operating costs are all the Toyota
        models (Prius, Camry and Highlander Hybrid), all the Honda models
        (Insight and Civic Hybrid) and the Lexus HS250h.

    -   Over a five year period, the hybrids that are the least costly to own
        and operate are the Honda Insight ($38,326), Toyota Prius ($40,324),
        and Honda Civic Hybrid ($42,664).

    -   Hybrids with the greatest greenhouse gas (GHG) emission advantage
        over their gas-powered equivalents are:
           -  Toyota Prius (55% fewer GHG emissions)
           -  Ford Fusion Hybrid (38% fewer GHG emissions)
           -  Honda Civic Hybrid (37% fewer GHG emissions)

    -   The hybrids with the lowest overall GHG emissions (kg of carbon per
        year) are:
           -  Toyota Prius (1748 kg/yr)
           -  Honda Civic Hybrid (2070 kg/yr)
           -  Honda Insight (2162 kg/yr)
           -  Ford Fusion Hybrid (2352 kg/yr)
    

"With the elimination first of the federal tax incentive and now the provincial tax rebate, it appears it's still going to be a while before hybrids offer a cost advantage over standard vehicles," says Trace Acres, BCAA's director of corporate communications and government relations. "What we are seeing however, is manufacturers starting to offer price breaks for things like cash sales, so an environmentally conscious consumer may still be able to make a hybrid purchase work financially by shopping around."

When considering a switch to a more environmentally-friendly vehicle, Acres encourages drivers to examine emission ratings as well as sticker prices to ensure the hybrid they choose will provide them with the environment savings they expect.

"BCAA's research shows that cost is not typically the main motivator for someone looking to purchase a hybrid," explains Acres. "We believe that many consumers are willing to pay a bit more to go 'hybrid' if it will reduce their carbon footprint."

About BCAA

BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C., with over 100 years experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million from its membership, insurance and travel businesses. A BCAA Membership can be found in the wallets of over 790,000 British Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. For the past two years, BCAA has received the highest score in Canada for home insurance customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power and Associates study. And, for the past four years, BCAA has been named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

    
    BACKGROUNDER                                              July 21, 2010

                BCAA 2010 5-year Hybrid Vehicle Cost Analysis

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ranked
    by
    Hybrid                                                            Total
    Savings                                          Purchase Price   5-year
    (or                                                  (MSRP)        cost
    costs)      Make & Model            Vehicle Type       ($)         ($)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Mercedes-Benz S450          Conventional     108,000     150,622
    1       Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid   Hybrid           105,900     145,265
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Honda Civic EX              Conventional      24,880      42,374
    2       Honda Civic Hybrid          Hybrid            27,350      42,664
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Honda Civic DX-G            Conventional      20,780      37,154
    3       Honda Insight               Hybrid            23,900      38,326
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Matrix XR            Conventional      21,800      38,606
    4       Toyota Prius                Hybrid            27,500      40,324
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus IS 250                Conventional      36,000      58,245
    5       Lexus HS 250h               Hybrid            39,900      60,084
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Camry SE Auto        Conventional      27,310      44,667
    6       Toyota Camry Hybrid         Hybrid            30,900      46,815
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Highlander
             AWD V6 SUV                 Conventional      37,150      60,760
    7       Toyota Highlander
             Hybrid SUV                 Hybrid            42,315      63,578
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Ford Fusion SEL I4          Conventional      25,799      44,778
    8       Ford Fusion Hybrid          Hybrid            31,999      49,260
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Ford Escape XLT SUV         Conventional      27,999      49,497
    9       Ford Escape Hybrid SUV      Hybrid            34,899      54,388
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Nissan Altima 2.5S          Conventional      24,495      41,194
    10      Nissan Altima Hybrid        Hybrid            33,398      50,053
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Cadillac Escalade           Conventional      84,575     128,985
    11      Cadillac Escalade Hybrid    Hybrid            94,775     138,740
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus RX 350 Premium SUV    Conventional      46,900      73,403
    12      Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV     Hybrid            59,500      84,941
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Chevrolet Silverado/
             Sierra Pickup              Conventional      31,845      58,991
    13      Chevrolet Silverado/
             Sierra Hybrid Pickup       Hybrid            47,505      74,679
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            GM Tahoe/Yukon SLT SUV      Conventional      54,045      83,647
    14      GM Tahoe/Yukon Hybrid SUV   Hybrid            68,255     101,635
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus LS460 L               Conventional     103,150     145,813
    15      Lexus LS600h L              Hybrid           119,950     168,382
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus GS 350                Conventional      52,500      82,504
    16      Lexus GS 450h Hybrid        Hybrid            71,900     103,889
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ranked                                 5-year
    by                                     hybrid
    Hybrid                                 saving /           Reduction
    Savings                               (extra      CO2      in CO2
    (or                                    cost)   emissions  emissions
    costs)      Make & Model                ($)    (kg/year)     (%)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Mercedes-Benz S450                        5474
    1       Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid      5,357      4370       20%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Honda Civic EX                            3266
    2       Honda Civic Hybrid              (290)     2070       37%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Honda Civic DX-G                          3266
    3       Honda Insight                 (1,172)     2162       34%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Matrix XR                          3664
    4       Toyota Prius                  (1,718)     1748       55%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus IS 250                              3864
    5       Lexus HS 250h                 (1,839)     2622       32%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Camry SE Auto                      3542
    6       Toyota Camry Hybrid           (2,148)     2622       26%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Toyota Highlander
             AWD V6 SUV                               4968
    7       Toyota Highlander
             Hybrid SUV                    (2818)     3542       29%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Ford Fusion SEL I4                        3888
    8       Ford Fusion Hybrid            (4,482)     2352       38%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Ford Escape XLT SUV                       4416
    9       Ford Escape Hybrid SUV        (4,891)     2806       36%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Nissan Altima 2.5S                        3542
    10      Nissan Altima Hybrid          (8,862)     2668       25%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Cadillac Escalade                         6716
    11      Cadillac Escalade Hybrid      (9,755)     5336       21%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus RX 350 Premium SUV                  5009
    12      Lexus RX400h Hybrid SUV      (11,538)     3390       32%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Chevrolet Silverado/
             Sierra Pickup                            6210
    13      Chevrolet Silverado/
             Sierra Hybrid Pickup        (15,688)     4370       30%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            GM Tahoe/Yukon SLT SUV                    5980
    14      GM Tahoe/Yukon Hybrid SUV    (17,988)     4370       27%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus LS460 L                             4968
    15      Lexus LS600h L               (20,463)     4554        8%
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Lexus GS 350                              4600
    16      Lexus GS 450h Hybrid         (21,384)     3772       18%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------


    Notes and assumptions:

    -   Total 5-year cost includes initial purchase price, financing and fuel
        costs at $1.17 per litre, less applicable tax rebates. Does not
        include maintenance or insurance costs.
    -   Annual driving distance is 20,000 kilometres.
    -   Long-term depreciation and resale values remain unknown so are
        assumed to be neutral.
    -   The Toyota Matrix/Prius comparison was used due to similar design and
        specifications.
    -   MSRP and PDI information obtained from CanadianDriver.com or direct
        from manufacturers.
    -   Financing rates assumed to be the same on both vehicles. Monthly
        payment calculated using Loan Payment Calculator on Coast Capital
        Savings website.
    -   Fuel consumption data from National Resources Canada - 2009 Fuel
        Consumption Guide or direct from manufacturers.
    -   The full results of the Hybrid Cost Study, with all 36 vehicles and
        more details, is available at: www.BCAA.com
    

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information: or to request an interview, please contact: Niela Melanio, BCAA Public Affairs Advisor, Office: 604-268-5342 (M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), Cell: 778-228-8859 (any time), Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com; Trace Acres, BCAA Director, Corporate Communications & Government Affairs, Office: 604-268-5029, Cell: 604-788-3753, Email: trace.acres@bcaa.com


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