How Savvy Shoppers Find Cheap Hybrid Cars


Are you in the market to buy a car in 2024? It often feels as if cars just keep getting more expensive, but the truth is, prices of used vehicles and electric vehicles have come down in the past year. Right now could be a good time to buy a car — especially if you’re a savvy shopper.

One good car-buying strategy for 2024 is to buy a cheap hybrid car. Fully electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than gas-powered cars, but hybrids are often more price competitive. And not everyone has good access to EV charging stations at home or in their neighborhood — a hybrid car can help you avoid range anxiety.

Let’s look at a few good tips for how to find cheap hybrid cars — and how to unlock extra savings that most Americans might not realize they can get.

1. Cars.com

Cars.com is a leading car-listing website where you can see cars for sale all over America. You can search by ZIP code to see cars close to you, or look farther afield if you’re willing to travel to another city or state to get the right car for the right price.

The Cars.com search tool also lets you sort (and shop by) hybrid vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models. So if you want a Honda Accord hybrid or a Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid, you can search for those specific cars to see which ones (new or used) might be available near you.

Cars.com is a good place to start your search, because it shows search results for dealerships, online car sales, and private sellers. Even if your preferred dealer isn’t listed on Cars.com, this site can still help you do price comparisons and research, so you can go into your car-buying negotiations with accurate information.

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2. Autotrader.com

It’s always a good idea to use more than one search tool when shopping for cars, in case some good vehicles or dealer locations aren’t included in the first site you try. Autotrader (Autotrader.com) is another site for savvy car shoppers. It also offers an easy sort-and-search feature to find hybrid and electric vehicles.

With Autotrader, I quickly found a list of hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) cars for sale within 500 miles of my home ZIP code. Some of the good deals I saw (as of April 13, 2024) included a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium (with 50,537 miles) for $21,350, and a 2019 Ford Fusion SE (41,501 miles) for $17,999.

3. Edmunds.com

Edmunds.com is perhaps best known as a site you can use to estimate the value of your car for a sale or trade-in — but did you know that Edmunds can help you shop for cars, too? On Edmunds.com, you can search for hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles by specific make and model.

For example, I used the Edmunds car search site to quickly pull up a list of used Toyota Prius Prime PHEVs for sale within 500 miles of my home. Edmunds.com lets you search by online purchase, in-store purchase, or any buying experience; you can also search for cars that are available for home delivery.

In my Edmunds used car search, I saw listings from car dealerships and from Carvana, an online car-buying site. If you’re comfortable with buying a car online, this could be a good strategy to find better deals on cheap hybrid cars — find the right car at the right price, even if it’s a few hundred miles (or more away), and then get it delivered to you.

4. Costco Auto Program

If you’re a Costco member, the Costco Auto Program can help you save about $1,000 on the purchase of a new or used vehicle. You can search for the hybrid car you want, and then you’ll be connected to a nearby Approved Dealer that has agreed to offer special pricing for Costco members.

5. Big surprise discount: Used EV tax credits (up to $4,000)

Many Americans don’t know this one big secret to buying a cheaper hybrid car: EV tax credits. That’s right — EV tax credits are not only for fully electric vehicles. If you choose the right plug-in hybrid, you can get a used EV tax credit of up to $4,000.

That’s like an immediate $4,000 extra discount, right there at the dealership on the day you buy your car. Terms apply; your income must be below a qualifying level, and the used plug-in hybrid vehicle that you choose must be from certain makes, models, and years. The selling price of the vehicle must be $25,000 or less. Check out the full rules and details from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Bottom line

Buying a cheap hybrid car might be getting easier in 2024, with used car prices coming down. Use multiple search tools like Cars.com, Autotrader, and Edmunds.com to find good deals. Use the Costco Auto Program if it will help you save on the car you want. Don’t forget about used EV tax credits — plug-in hybrid cars can qualify for up to $4,000 of extra savings. Want to save money on hybrid car insurance? Lemonade offers special car insurance discounts for hybrids.

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