While good for the environment, hybrid vehicles will not save you money with fewer trips to the gas pump not equal to the increased sticker price. And yet, even as hybrids continue to improve and close the gap on this discrepancy, a new report suggests that additional factors, namely, insurance rates, will drive up the cost-to-own criteria.
An article in the latest issue of Industry Trends Report indicates that the changing owner base of hybrids will drive up insurance costs. No, hybrids haven't suddenly caught on with 18-year-old males, rather, the average hybrid buyer is no longer the early-adopter as hybrids continue to become more mainstream.
The report indicates that for those early adopters, "while their politics may have been liberal, their driving habits were conservative." Deemed low-risk, insurance companies were eager to offer discounted rates to early hybrid owners.
Now, however, trends are changing with hybrid buyers now living in more urban settings with long commutes, two factors that have lead to, "higher claim frequencies." An additional factor is that hybrid collision repair costs are, on average, $182 more than on a conventional gasoline vehicle, while labor repair was also more expensive – likely a result of buyers taking their cars directly to the dealer.
Combining these factors and insurance companies aren't likely to wait too long before hybrids like the Toyota Prius become a little more expensive to own, and a little less attractive to buy.
More: Hybrid Insurance Costs Likely to Rise: Report