To be fair, a Focus would be lucky to hit 36 mpg combined average. Owners of 08-10 Focuses seem to report about 31.5 mpg combined according to fueleconomy.gov, while Civic Hybrid owners (current gen) report about 44.4 mpg combined.
Then you have to consider purchase price. The 2011 Focus SE has in invoice (in SW OH) of $14,418 after rebate when roughly comparably equipped (as close as you can get). The Civic hybrid is $22,791. Add on 6.25% sales tax and the difference in cost is $8,896.31
If you paid $3 per gallon, 16,250 miles per year like the poster above (130k in 8 years)… and saw 10% increases in gas price per year, then your fuel savings in the Civic would be 149.88 gallons per year, with prices rising from $3 to $5.84 over the 8 year period.
Meanwhile, if you paid cash and put the savings in the bank at 2.64% (my local credit union 60 month CD rate), you would have interest to offset that cost. Accounting for that interest at a 25% tax rate, you would see the following financial scenario
Year | beginning cash balance | a.t. interest | extra fuel cost | ending cash balance
1 | $8,896.31 | $176.15 | $449.65 | $8,622.81
2 | $8,622.81 | $170.73 | $494.61 | $8,298.93
3 | $8,298.93 | $164.76 | $544.07 | $7,919.18
4 | $7,919.18 | $156.80 | $598.48 | $7,477.50
5 | $7,477.50 | $148.05 | $658.33 | $6.967.22
6 | $6.967.22 | $137.95 | $724.16 | $6,381.01
7 | $6,381.01 | $126.34 | $796.58 | $5,710.77
8 | $5,710.77 | $113.07 | $876.23 | $4,947.61
At the end of that period, the Civic’s kbb private party value would be $5,585 (2003 MY value), and the Focus would run $3,795. So your net cost would be:
$4,947.61 - ($5,585-$3,795) = $3,157.61 savings with the Focus, assuming no difference in maintenance / repair costs.
And that’s assuming hefty increases in gas costs.
Of course, the Focus won’t be so cheap soon, so that difference may disappear. Buf assuming that it is purely a financial decision, a Focus SE appears to be almost guaranteed to be a better choice than a Civic hybrid. Assuming the same usage and maintenance/repair costs, gas would have to increase at 22.72% per year over that period to have the Civic hybrid equal the Focus SE for overall cost of ownership.
Sorry, but I don’t see gas at $12.58 per gallon in 2019. Neither does the futures market.
Now if you drove as much as my old boss (55,000 miles per year), then the Civic hybrid would be far and away a better purchase…