A car purchase is the second most expensive investment that an individual is likely to make (the first being their home). And in that respect, consumers come close in behaviour to their B2B counterparts — after all, vehicles are expensive, have ongoing cost requirements and (whether we like it or not) reflect on our own sense of self. Accordingly, when it comes to purchase time, we shop around, do our homework, check blog posts, search engines and customer satisfaction ratings. We ask friends for recommendations, take a keener interest in the cars we pass in the street, and think through the implications of this major purchase.

Recently though, the greater awareness (and concern for) the environment, coupled with ever spiralling oil prices has seen a massive spike in the popularity of hybrid cars. (Some US states have gone so far as to mandate the production of eco-friendly cars.) But, even a cursory glance at the prices of hybrid cars shows that they are significantly more expensive, meaning that you will need a longer timeframe before your hybrid car breaks even with its petrol equivalent.

EcoCalc However, there are other factors at play in the calculation of ROI — and Todd Andrlik has developed a great online tool that brings carbon emissions into the calculation. Originally developed to assist his employer, Leopardo Constructions, in calculating the ROI impacts for their fleet of company vehicles, the calculator has now been made widely available. Simply enter a few variables about the vehicles you are comparing, press calculate, and you will receive data about fuel savings, unreleased carbon emissions and ROI timeframes. Check it out here.

It is a wonder that companies like Toyota or Honda, makers of leading hybrid vehicles have not produced something similar.