Payoff for Efficient Cars Takes Years" by Nick Bunkley didn't deliver much in the way of good news. The Times notes that with the exception of, "two hybrids, the Prius and the Lincoln MKZ and the diesel-powered Volkswagon Jetta TDI, the added cost of the fuel-efficient technologies is so high it would take the average drive many years - in some cases more than a decade - to save money over comparable new models with conventional internal combustion engines."
It will take until gas hits $8 a gallon for the ROI to drop down to six years.
The Volt, the automobile fiasco from GM would take 24.2 years, or as much as 27 years depending on how you message the numbers, for the fuel savings to payback the initial additional cost of the electric car.
The report assumes 15,000 miles of driving per year which may be high for some drivers making the payoff time even longer.
Check out the table with the article that makes the comparison between the "efficient cars" and comparable gas models.
As an interesting sidebar to this article, Way Better Patents' review of the USPTO Green Technology program revealed that many of the patents granted in transportation were focused on improvements to internal combustion engines.
Maybe a new clean tech strategy is in order.