When it comes to hybrids, there are two main factors that motivate buyers into paying the premium the vehicles demand over comparable non-hybrid models: money and the environment. Hybrids are cleaner than regular models in that they consume less fuel and thus produce fewer emissions, but at the same time they will also cost you less at the pump.

While we’d all like to think most people are buying hybrids to help save the environment, a lot of hybrid sales go to people looking to pay less on their fuel bills each year. This is where the issue of the hybrid premium comes into play.

You see, hybrid vehicles typically cost more than comparable non-hybrids and thus any savings made at the pump will be offset by this premium buyers pay in the showroom. So the big question remains, given the number of miles driven, how long would it take to pay off this premium?

The guys at the San Francisco Chronicle have put together a list of seven of the most popular hybrid models and how long it would take to pay off their respective premiums using an average figure for the number of miles driven each year and an average cost of fuel.

Coming in with the lowest payback figure, a period of 5.6 years, was the Ford Fusion, while at the other end of the scale the Nissan Altima Hybrid took the longest on 21 years. Check out how the other hybrids fared by following the jump below.

[San Francisco Chronicle]