Comparing plug-in electric vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles mile per mile against traditional internal combustion engine vehicles isn’t making a lot of sense right now. While the prices are much higher than for high-mileage ICEs, there are attractive finance packages, federal tax credits, and a few state and local rebates that make them much more appealing to consumers, especially in markets with climbing fuel prices. Shoppers can consider paying about $270 a month under a few of the current offers for the Chevy Volt, which seems like it should be more costly. “You would never see a lease for that price on a $40,000 car,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book about the Volt’s sticker price. “It really makes those vehicles available to consumer who wouldn’t have been able to afford them otherwise.”
State rebates are playing into these cars’ appeal to consumers. Californians see a state rebate of $2,500 for zero-emission vehicles that can be quickly rolled into the down payment. The Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid are eligible for a slightly reduced $1,500 rebate because they use gasoline on longer trips.