Getting the real deal on going green: BCAA crunches the numbers on buying and operating hybrid vehicles



    BURNABY, BC, June 17 /CNW/ - B.C. is a hotbed for gas-electric hybrid
vehicle sales - one-quarter of all hybrids sold in Canada are sold here. And
with surging gas prices and concerns about global warming, the hype around
hybrids is expected to intensify. Still, questions remain about whether gas
savings in a hybrid are enough to offset its higher sticker price. How much
"green" will you save by "going green" in a hybrid - if any?
    BCAA compared the purchase, financing and operating costs of all
13 hybrids available in B.C. with comparable conventional models over a five
year period. A number of variables were incorporated: fuel costs, the
provincial Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Concession and the federal ecoAUTO
Rebate Program. With these factors in play, the analysis revealed that, in
seven of the 13 vehicle pairs analyzed, the hybrid option worked out to be
cheaper over five years. Some models were thousands of dollars less expensive,
including:

    
    -   Honda Civic Hybrid ($3,868)
    -   Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV ($2,765)
    -   Toyota Camry Hybrid ($2,135)
    -   Lexus 400h Hybrid SUV ($1,816)
    

    "What this analysis shows is, at current gas prices, most hybrids will
end up being either less expensive over five years or within a few hundred
dollars of their conventional equivalent," says Trace Acres, BCAA's director
of corporate communications and government affairs. "On the other hand, the
price premium charged to own some higher-end hybrids won't be recovered
regardless of the price of gas."
    Consumers are cautioned, however, that price shouldn't be the only
determining factor in choosing a hybrid. "We know from surveys that hybrid
buyers are more likely to do so for environmental reasons than cost concerns,"
adds Acres. "If that is the case, potential hybrid buyers should be sure to
examine emission ratings as well as sticker prices. Some models may appear
cost-effective, but offer only modest emission reductions."
    When BCAA completed its first five-year hybrid cost analysis in 2005,
most of the hybrids were more expensive than their conventional counterparts -
as much as 25 per cent. Today, this picture has reversed, in large part due to
skyrocketing gas prices and government incentives such as the federal ecoAUTO
Rebate Program and the provincial Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Concession.
    "If you're interested in buying a hybrid and maximizing your savings,
2008 may be the best year to buy," advises Acres, "The federal ecoAUTO Rebate
Program is being phased out at the end of this year, cutting the cost savings
on some hybrids by as much as $2,000."
    Applications for the federal ecoAUTO Rebate Program on eligible hybrid
vehicles can be submitted until March 31, 2009. The rebate applies only to new
vehicle purchases, and 2009 vehicles will not be eligible. The provincial
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Concession is scheduled to be in place until
April 1, 2011.
    The detailed analysis can be found at www.bcaa.com/hybrids.

    About BCAA

    BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers
throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership,
automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 780,000 members and
$120 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C.
and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. In 2007 and 2008,
BCAA was 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.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                BCAA 2008 5-year Hybrid Vehicle Cost Analysis
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Difference
                                                                     in CO2
                                                                   emissions
                                              Hybrid     CO2        between
                                             saving/  emissions    hybrid &
                        Make &      Total    (extra   (tonnes/   conventional
    Vehicle Type        Model    5-year cost  cost)      year)    vehicle (%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional     Honda Civic
                         EX Auto    42,800                4.2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid           Honda Civic
                          Hybrid    38,931    3,868       2.2            48%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional          Toyota
                      Highlander
                      AWD V6 SUV    66,277                5.2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid                Toyota
                      Highlander
                      Hybrid SUV    63,512    2,765       3.7            29%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional    Toyota Camry
                         SE Auto    50,461                3.8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid          Toyota Camry
                          Hybrid    48,326    2,135       2.7            29%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional     Lexus RX350
                     Premium SUV    86,725                5.2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid            Lexus 400h
                      Hybrid SUV    84,909    1,816       3.9            25%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional     Ford Escape
                         XLT SUV    48,469                4.4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid           Ford Escape
                      Hybrid SUV    47,796      674       2.9            34%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional       Chevrolet
                      Malibu ILT    46,496      485       3.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid             Chevrolet
                   Malibu Hybrid    46,011                3.6             8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional      Saturn VUE
                          XE SUV    50,915                4.5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid            Saturn VUE
                      Hybrid SUV    50,706      209       3.5            22%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional   Toyota Matrix
                         XR Auto    42,058                3.6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid          Toyota Prius
                          Hybrid    42,126      (68)      2.0            44%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional     Saturn Aura
                              XE    45,988                3.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid           Saturn Aura
                          Hybrid    46,737     (749)      3.6             8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional          Nissan
                     Altima 2.5S
                            Auto    49,616                3.7
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid         Nissan Altima
                          Hybrid    51,067   (1,451)      2.8            24%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional       Chevrolet
                   Tahoe LT3 SUV   101,119                6.0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid             Chevrolet
                    Tahoe Hybrid
                             SUV   111,106   (9,987)      4.6            23%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional    Lexus GS 350    97,885                4.5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid              Lexus GS
                          Hybrid   109,521   (11,636)     4.0            11%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Conventional        Lexus LS
                            460L   142,269                5.2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hybrid              Lexus LS
                          Hybrid   188,835   (46,566)     4.8             8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Notes and assumptions:

    -   Total 5-year cost includes purchase, financing and fuel costs at
        $1.40 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.
    -   Federal EcoAuto rebate available on some models and only until the
        end of 2008.
    -   The Toyota Matrix/Prius comparison was used due to similar design and
        specifications.
    -   MSRP and PDI information obtained from MSN Auto or direct from
        manufactures.
    -   PST on vehicles over $55,000 increases to a max of 10%.
    -   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 - 2008 Fuel
        Consumption Guide
    





For further information:

For further information: or interview requests, please contact: Trace
Acres, Director, BCAA Corporate Communications and Government Affairs, Tel:
(604) 268-5029, Cell: (604) 788-3753, E-mail: tracea@bcaa.com; Jennifer Timm,
BCAA Media Relations Advisor, Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859,
Email: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com


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