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Media post: The Growing Used Hybrid Car Market

Toyota Prius 1997

Most of us are old enough to remember a time when Hybrid Cars were a totally new idea. Suspicious and expensive in the early days, hybrids are now part of the ambient American roadway. While they might not appeal to the visceral nature of the petroleum-loving motorhead, they’ve proved to be a hit in the international market. Many of today’s consumers want to be part of a revolution that weans the world off of oil. Whether or not hybrids actually help in this regard or are simply part of a clever marketing scheme from savvy automobile magnates, the end result is the same: we’ve got loads of these little cars on our roadways and in our used car lots. But before you shell out your hard-earned cash to buy yourself a new-to-you used Prius, consider the below factors about the used car market.

Now that hybrids aren’t the newest automotive innovation on the block, it’s easy to get a deal on a model from a few years ago. Finding the best used hybrid cars is totally doable, and the search in 2016 is much different than a similar search would have been ten or twenty years ago (not the hybrids were available that far back). Many aspects of automotive design and construction have improved. Lots of today’s hybrids are perfectly serviceable in quality, even after 100,000 miles or so. They might not blow back your hair on the highway (though some will) or make you the envy of parking lot (unless you’re at Whole Foods), but hybrids are perfectly capable of getting you from point A to point B, while saving you a little bit at the gas tank.

This year, hybrids are really eating into the market that used to be reserved for gas-guzzlers. Of the ten most popular cars sold at the regular consumer level, five were hybrids in 2016. Of course, we’re talking Prius at number one. Down the list a bit, we’ve got the Leaf, Tesla, Lexus CT 200h hybrid, and Toyota Highlander hybrid. All of these models are having no trouble selling at top shelf prices, and drivers are lining up to buy them. It’s easy to imagine more than half of next year’s top 10 list being dominated by the EVs and the hybrids. We expect this, actually.

But if you don’t want to shell out $30,000 or more for a new hybrid, it’s to the used lot you’ll go. Local sales through Craigslist and other selling platforms may also yield incredible deals. When buying a hybrid, it’s important to consider several factors. The two most important are fuel efficiency and battery life. These, after all, are the reasons you want a hybrid, right? Just because a hybrid of some age bears the “hybrid” moniker, it doesn’t mean that its battery life and overall efficiency are really up to snuff. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than going for a highway right only to have to stop to refuel your fuel cell. These older ones don’t refuel fast, so make sure that the life of this module is in keeping with your driving needs. Other than that, the usual rules for buying used vehicles apply.

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