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Hybrid Vehicles Not Best Value According to

Chevrolet Aveo is Cheapest to Own Over Five Years; No Hybrids Rank in Top Ten

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 25, 2008 — High gas prices, the housing crisis and general economic uncertainty are motivating consumers to look for the least expensive cars to own and operate. A new study by, the premier online resource for automotive information, indicates that many compact and subcompact vehicles are actually better choices than hybrids for consumers looking to save money. The data also suggests that only one hybrid, the Honda Civic Hybrid, would break into the top ten least expensive vehicles if gas prices were to increase to $5 per gallon. The results are based on's True Cost to OwnSM data, which accounts for total vehicle costs over a five-year period.

Unlike some other analyses that look only at fuel economy and sticker price, including one released by Consumer Reports last week, the True Cost to OwnSM study incorporates projected model-specific average vehicle ownership costs, consisting of depreciation, financing, taxes, fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance and repairs. When all of the factors are considered, some popular vehicles look considerably less appealing on a cost-per-mile basis than their fuel economy would suggest.

"When consumers think about cars that will save them money, hybrids are typically top of mind because of their fuel efficiency," said Jesse Toprak, Executive Director of Industry Analysis. "But when you take a look at the real-world costs of car ownership, you realize that many subcompact and compact cars are actually a much better value proposition."

The study evaluated the True Cost to OwnSM of vehicles assuming gas prices of $4.06 (the national average on June 23), $5 and $6. With gas prices at $4.06 per gallon, the standard model Toyota Prius costs owners $0.50 per mile -- ranking 33rd among all vehicles. The top-seeded Chevrolet Aveo, on the other hand, costs $0.42 per mile, resulting in annual savings of $1,200 to consumers who choose the Aveo over a Prius. In the event gas prices rise to $5 or $6 per gallon, the Aveo remains in the tops spot and the Prius moves to positions 25 and 17 respectively.

The following are the 10 least expensive vehicles to own (all 2008 models):

The following are the 10 least expensive hybrid vehicles to own (all 2008 models):

"Many consumers neglect to consider total ownership costs when deciding which vehicle to buy," said Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor for "Shoppers should look beyond fuel economy and consider the big picture when determining how a vehicle purchase will fit into their household budget."'s True Cost to OwnSM calculations make the following assumptions:

Ownership expenses are for a five-year time span
Vehicles are driven 15,000 miles per year
Vehicles are financed using traditional financing and not leased
Buyers pay 10 percent down on the vehicle
Buyers are in the "Gold" credit tier for the purpose of determining the finance rate
The loan term is 60 months
Buyers represent the average demographic in their state for insurance rates True Cost to OwnSM is available at no charge to Web site visitors, and provides ownership costs regionally for both new and used vehicles. The True Cost to OwnSM tool is available at
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