SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A decade ago there were two hybrid car models available in the U.S. market. Today there are close to 50. The number continues to grow as automakers turn to hybrids as a way to meet tough new federal fuel economy goals and to appeal to consumers who seek them out for their fuel efficiency, low emissions and high-tech features.
What once was a niche vehicle with a decidedly small audience of early adopters has slowly entered the mainstream. But let's face it: In most cases the sticker price of a hybrid vehicle is higher than that of its gasoline-powered counterpart, sometimes significantly so.
Does the improved fuel economy offset the extra cost? What happens if the hybrid drivetrain breaks, or the battery wears out?
We looked at a variety of issues and talked with hybrid owners, mechanics and manufacturers to learn the real costs of owning these high-tech cars.
Full report at Edmunds.com.