Hybrid Cars – Hybrid vs Conventional

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By Eugene Chua

SaveMoney.my has been discussing the environmental and economical benefits of the now-popular hybrid cars. But how do they really fare in contrast to conventional cars? We’ll explore in our final instalment.

Hybrid vs. Non-Hybrid Cost Comparison

While there are various hybrid cars, for a basic comparison we will take 2 popular cars: the Toyota Altis and the Honda Jazz, and compare them against the Prius Luxury and the Honda Jazz Hybrid.

Car Model Initial Price OTR Road Tax Fuel Economy
Toyota Prius Luxury RM145,500 RM279.20 21.05km/L
Toyota Altis 2.0V RM132,005 RM373.50 13.00km/L

Based on 20,000km range per year and using combined consumption figures given by the manufacturer:

Toyota Prius Luxury: 950.12litres x RM2.10 (RON95) = RM1,995.25
Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0V: 1,538.46litres x RM2.10 (RON95) = RM3,230.76

There is a substantial savings of RM1,235.51 per year!

We will therefore compare a more like for like comparison, the Honda Jazz Grade V and the Honda Jazz Hybrid.

Car Model Initial Price OTR Road Tax Fuel Economy
Honda Jazz Hybrid RM94,800 RM70.00 21.30km/L
Honda Jazz RM109,814 RM90.00 15.80km/L

Based on 20,000km range per year and using combined consumption figures given by the manufacturer:

Honda Jazz Hybrid: 938.97litres x RM2.10 (RON95) = RM1,971.83
Honda Jazz Grade V: 1,265.82litres x RM2.10 (RON95) = RM2,658.22

In this comparison, not only do you save RM686.39 per year, the hybrid’s initial cost is cheaper by more than RM15,000. The government’s 100% tax and import exemption has clearly reduced the price of the Jazz Hybrid making it comparable (and better!) to the conventional petrol engine.

Final Pointers if you are looking to buy a Hybrid car

Over the long run, the reduced usage of petrol will save you trips to the petrol station and fuel costs in general. This becomes more apparent if there is a future surge in oil prices.

Note: while the ‘combined fuel economy’ figures used in this article are usually viewed with scepticism around the world, for simplicity’s sake SaveMoney.my can justify the use of combined fuel economy, because the majority of Malaysia’s urban and sub-urban population experience a large proportion of roads being highways, and the majority of driving is based on cities filled with both roads and highways. Even if you get stuck in rush-hour traffic every day, hybrid cars use ZERO petrol when at a standstill so you won’t be burning petrol in heavy traffic or while waiting at traffic lights (although conventional cars are beginning to use stop/start technology, which is similar).

Also, the main thing that is keeping the price of hybrid cars competitive in Malaysia right now is the exemption on duty and import tax. However the Government may change the policy in the future so there are no guarantees that the price of these cars will remain as they are.

In the end, it is your choice whether or not you go for a hybrid car, but besides doing your part to save the environment, as the Honda Jazz example shows, you can also save money!

*Eugene Chua is the Finance Sub-Editor of SaveMoney.my, an online consumer advice portal which aims to help Malaysians save money through smart (and most of the time painless) savings in their daily banking, technology, and lifestyle spending habits.

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