Looking at the ìwholeî hybrid

It can be tough to sort out all the pros and cons of owning a hybrid car. There’s the gas mileage advantage, but that’s often overstated. Even though the savings may not be as grand as advertised, you’ll still save money at the pump. But since you pay more at the dealership you’ll have factor in your driving habits and do a bit of number-crunching to figure out if your four-wheeled eco-statement will save you dough in the long-run. And there are plenty of other factors to consider. For example, what about maintenance costs and resale value? A new study looks at the whole hybrid:

A study released today by auto industry analysts at IntelliChoice shows that all of the 22 hybrid models currently sold in the U.S. will save owners money thanks to lower total cost of ownership, compared with competing vehicles. That news is significant vindication for manufacturers and consumers of hybrid gas-electrics that have often endured questions from critics and consumers alike about the long-term economy of the technology-packed cars. … The IntelliChoice survey focused on seven criteria, including depreciation, fuel costs, finance costs, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and applicable state fees. After the Prius, the group found the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Toyota Highlander 2WD, and the Lexus RX 400h (2WD and AWD) were the most cost-efficient over a five-year or 70,000-mile period. Those models are all made by the two leading hybrid manufacturers, Honda and Toyota.

Business Week article here. Slide show of hybrid rankings here. Related: What politicians drive