Tool Helps Determine If Buying Electric Vehicles Is Worth The Cost

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A power cable from a vehicle charging station is seen plugged into the side of a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid August 25, 2010 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A power cable from a vehicle charging station is seen plugged into the side of a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid August 25, 2010 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – California gasoline prices hit another record high Tuesday, and the recent spike has many considering a switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. But how do you know if a new car is worth the premium that comes with buying green?

The Alternative Fuels Data Center, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, has created a tool that allows car shoppers to compare the price and fuel efficiency for most common gas and electric vehicles and charts a year-over-year cost comparison.

The tool allows users to include variables, the most important of which is the local price for a gallon of gas, to determine at what point owning a more fuel efficient vehicle is cost effective.

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Triple-A’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report said the average California price for regular gas on Tuesday was a bit over $4.67 a gallon. The price was a state record and the highest in the nation.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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