A statistical driver who needs an economical car will most likely be choosing between 2 types of fuel: petrol fitted with LPG, or diesel. What they tend to overlook is that, in the last few years, there has been more and more of the third – hybrid – alternative in the second-hand market. Do hybrid vehicles offer any substantial savings, though?
Let us only focus on the comparison of hybrid and LPG vehicles for the sake of this post; diesel, with its higher repair and maintenance costs, is becoming less and less attractive as an economical drive.
Your choice between an LPG and a hybrid car will most likely depend on what you can afford to pay immediately; hybrid cars are simply newer, which makes them more expensive to buy. You can consider yourself lucky if you come across a hybrid vehicle in a reasonable condition at less than 30-40,000 PLN.
What you end up buying will also be dependent of what make and model you will want to go for since, when it comes to hybrids, there still isn’t that much to choose from. Luckily, the situation has improved since the times when “hybrid” was synonymous with Toyota Prius. Today, apart from other hybrid Toyota models such as Auris, you can choose between different manufacturers such as Honda (Insight and CR-Z), Peugeot (3008 and 508), and even Volkswagen (Passat GTE). Still, even with a few such models, you will not be spoiled for choice.
Your decision must also reflect the way in which the car will be used. Hybrids work best in the city; the more often you use your brakes, the more energy you recover. The paradox, so surprising for all those who have always driven petrol, is that hybrid cars consume more fuel when you drive long distances and less when you just use them in the city traffic. For long distances, you will save more with an LPG car.
Before you choose, take a look at the features of both the engines:
+ plenty of models affordable to any driver (you can fit a petrol car with LPG, too)
+ available with LPG fitted (there is no need to install LPG, you can buy the car with it)
+ cheap fuel
– limited luggage space (also in the case of toroid LPG tanks when you have your spare wheel in the boot)
– regular servicing required (replacement of filters and valve tappet clearance regulation in certain models)
– more expensive technical examination (+ca. 60 PLN compared to hybrid)
+ lower fuel consumption in the city (per 100 km) compared to LPG
+ lower maintenance costs compared to petrol engine (braking maintenance required less often, no maintenance needed within the first 200-300,000 km)
– limited availability of second-hand models (and most of them are manufactured by Toyota)
– price which is much higher than that of LPG vehicles