Although the technology used in hybrid vehicles has existed since the early 1900s, it is only recently that hybrid cars have gained a following. This is largely due to the decreased cost of manufacturing them. People are concerned about the environment these days, and many are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you may want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid vehicles.
What Is a Hybrid Vehicle?
A hybrid car uses a conventional engine that runs on either gas or diesel and an electric motor. When you are driving at low speeds, the car is powered by the electric engine. The conventional engine only kicks in when you pass a certain speed threshold. Some common examples of hybrid vehicles in 2015 are the Ford Fusion (pictured), Toyota Prius and the Hybrid Civic. Essentially, a hybrid vehicle blends features from standard vehicles and electric cars. Here are some of the benefits of using them.
The common reasons for choosing a hybrid vehicle include environmental or financial reasons – often both. Hybrid vehicles use less fuel than traditional cars, and they also produce less CO2 emissions. Knowing what we know about global warming and the detrimental impact we have on the environment, using a hybrid vehicle is a much more eco-friendly way to travel. Hybrid vehicles conserve energy and have better gas mileage than other cars, decreasing their impact on the Earth.
In addition to drastically reducing fuel costs, owners of hybrid vehicles can take advantage of some enticing incentives and credits to reduce their upfront cost. Hybrid vehicles also have lower yearly tax bills and they are exempt from congestion charges. Because of the environmental benefits, there are various government programs in place to encourage people to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. These incentives are similar to the benefits received by homeowners who use solar power.
Hybrid vehicles are not yet a perfect solution for everyone. One problem is that they are not as powerful as traditional cars, making them more ideal for city driving. Although there are tax credits, exemptions, and other incentives to offset the initial cost, hybrid cars still tend to be more expensive than traditional cars. However, many owners view that extra cost as an investment that pays for itself in fuel costs over the years.
As noted by David Lockwood from Cash Plus Lender notes, “Hybrid vehicles are generally more expensive to maintain, because the technology is constantly evolving and there are two engines to work on.” Furthermore, not all mechanics are able to work on hybrid vehicles, making it a niche market that often costs more than standard mechanics charge. Hybrid vehicles also have batteries, which may need to be replaced eventually. For some drivers, the cost of maintaining a hybrid vehicle isn’t worth the overall savings.
Making the Choice
Consider your resources and where you live. If you live in a city and need a car to get from point A to point B occasionally, a hybrid vehicle may be perfect for you. However, it may not be suitable for people who commute long distances every day. Find out if there is a local mechanic who can work on your car, otherwise you will have major problems if you break down. Hybrid vehicles are popular for a reason, but make sure you do your homework first.