buying a used hybridIf you have hesitated about buying that hybrid vehicle because of the price, what are you waiting for? It may seem like an oxymoron, but now is an ideal time to purchase a quality pre-owned hybrid vehicle even though gasoline prices are at their lowest levels since 2009. When fuel prices began falling over a year ago, many owners began to trade in their hybrids for SUVs and other gas-guzzling vehicles. In 2015, approximately 55% of owners traded in hybrids for gas-powered cars.

The reasons for trade-ins, of course are varied.  Hybrid vehicles don’t come in all-wheel drive versions, so some customers trade in for a newer vehicle that has better traction in ice and snow. Others are looking for more comfortable interiors and functionality, while still others became dissatisfied with the notion that the average time to compensate for higher initial cost has jumped from five years to almost 10 because of the lower cost of fuel. With recent fuel prices in Victoria hovering around $1.13 per litre, the last point is the definitive argument for some to ditch their hybrid vehicles.

Before you decided to join the crowd and simply stay with a gas-only vehicle, consider this: the glut of hybrid trade-ins has caused a surplus on the market has resulted in considerable price drops, making hybrids more affordable then previously. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of used hybrid vehicles was 23.5% less in 2015 than in the previous year. In addition, manufacturers such as GMC have dropped prices, decreasing the sticker on the Chevrolet Volt by $1,175 for 2016 models. GMC has also dropped the price of its high-end Cadillac ELR. Many domestic and European car manufacturers began producing hybrid versions of some of their top-selling models several years ago. Surprisingly, new North American SUVs go for prices not much more than their smaller Japanese sedan counterparts at around $30,000 to $45,000 MSRP. Such vehicles are also beginning to appear in the resale market.

Thus, purchasing a hybrid may be more cost effective than you think, even with the dip in fuel prices. Don’t forget to consider your driving habits. If your daily commute is within your car’s battery range and you can forgo a trip to the gas pump, you’re still ahead. Planning to keep the vehicle for seven or eight years also bodes in your favor, plus you’ll benefit from quiet motor operation and guard against unexpected fuel hikes.