|Hybrid cars -- getting one sounds like a great idea. With global warming and rising fuel costs, many Americans are making this choice for a new vehicle. But, are they a good choice? Before you go out and make your purchase, you need to know the pros and cons to see if one of these cars is a good fit for you.
The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cars
Unlike regular cars, hybrid cars have two engines - a standard gas engine and an electric motor. By working together, they can save a lot of money by giving you better gas mileage.
That's the theory. Let's look at the pros and cons to see if a buying a hybrid would really help you save money.
- Hybrid cars drive like regular cars so there is no "learning curve".
- Gas mileage improves by 15% to 70% for city driving.
- Hybrids emit lower levels of pollution.
- Hybrids may be eligible for tax breaks at the federal and state level.
- Some states offer free parking and HOV access for hybrid owners.
- Fewer oil changes due to the fact that the gas engine isn't running full time.
- Hybrids are very reliable and require fewer repairs.
Overall, hybrid cars are best for people who do most of their driving in the city. These owners have benefited from gas savings the most especially if they chose one of the most fuel-efficient models. Tests have shown the most efficient hybrids are the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mecury Mariner Hybrid
- Hybrid cars are more expensive, taking several years to make up the initial higher cost in gas savings.
- Only Prius and Civic saved the owners enough gas to make up for the high initial cost.
- Mileage claims apply to driving in flat regions as opposed to hilly areas.
- If you have a "lead" foot, your gas mileage won't improve that much.
- Hybrid batteries cost several thousand dollars to replace.
- If you spend all day in stop and go traffic, the electric motor battery may discharge quicker because of the more frequent use.
- Repairing a hybrid car is more expensive than standard gas cars
If your motivation for buying a hybrid is for environmental reasons, you should choose between the Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, and the Honda Civic Hybrid. These three models were tested and found to be the best for the environment with the lowest emission rates.
Whether you are considering a hybrid for the gas savings or for environmental reasons, weigh the pros and cons listed above and choose which hybrid would best meet your needs. If possible, talk to people who own the hybrid car you are considering for more insight before you make this major purchase.