Low gas prices have made a lot of new-car buyers return to bigger, gas-guzzling vehicles, and forget about buying a hybrid or an electric car to save money at the pump. Thanks to cheap gas, paying a premium price for an alternative fuel vehicle, that would take years to pay off and make up for the added cost, does not make good economic sense, at least at first glance. But, while consumers are rushing out to buy SUVs and pick-up trucks, auto industry observers are saying that now is a very good time to buy a hybrid or an all-electric car, despite gas prices hitting record-low levels.
According to vehicle shopping website TrueCar.com, consumers can hope to get some pretty good deals on green cars right now, because of increased demand for trucks and other gas-guzzling vehicles, prompting automakers to bring down the MSRP of alternative fuel vehicles in an effort to get rid of older models and make room for the upcoming ones.
“Fuel savings are not top of mind to many consumers right now, and that makes this a great time to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, in a press release, and added: “With gasoline prices now averaging just $2.10 per gallon, and vehicle preferences tied so closely to short-term gasoline prices, automakers are heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories.”
In its TrueSavings report, TrueCar says that all-electric cars and hybrids are being sold at significantly lower prices than the MSRP nowadays. According to TrueCar, buying a Ford Focus Electric would be the best deal for those willing to switch from gasoline-powered to green vehicles. The average transaction price for a 2015 Focus Electric is $25,168, which is 16% lower than the MSRP, set at $29,995. This means that if you bought a Focus Electric now, you would save $4,827, putting it on the top of the list of savings on new vehicles.
The Focus Electric is followed by the Kia Optima hybrid, with an 10.7% difference between the MSRP and the average market price, and the Toyota Prius Two (10.1%). The chance to save between more than $4,000 on a new plug-in vehicle should be appealing to consumers, even though they might think now that it’s wiser to stick to more affordable gasoline vehicles, with the average price for a gallon of gas reaching $2.10. But, gas prices are widely expected to go up again pretty soon, with some oil industry observers predicting that they might go to $4 or $5 per gallon by the end of this year.
With this in mind, new-car buyers should try to focus more on the long-term cost implications before making their next car purchasing decision. Instead of being swayed by cheap gas towards buying a pick-up truck or an SUV that runs on gasoline, people should seriously consider buying green cars now, when they are heavily discounted, and enjoy the benefits of owning a fuel-efficient vehicle later, when gas starts getting more expensive once again.