Want to spend less on gas, but can’t afford to alter your lifestyle? Consider a hybrid. Hybrid cars (formally known as hybrid electric vehicles—HEVs) make use of internal combustion and electric power sources, using gasoline power to generate electricity, and switch between the two while you drive. Once limited to small passenger cars, hybrid technology now exists for midsize and luxury sedans, and even SUVs. In some cities, such as New York City, taxi fleets are being converted from older models to hybrids. Hybrids are significantly better for the environment than traditional gas-powered cars: Not only do they use less oil, but they also produce fewer harmful emissions, capable of cutting an American family of four’s footprint by 20%.
Though hybrids do tend to cost more than their conventional counterparts, they quickly create savings—to the tune of roughly $5,000 over five years of ownership, compared with an average $4,000 higher sticker price. While hybrid technology in such vehicles as SUVs and large sedans is preferable to traditional technology, the hybrid label does not necessarily mean that a car is more efficient—hybrid SUVs still get less than 30 mpg. Remember that hybrid technology is relatively new and more models are in development. Stay aware of advancements as you approach your next vehicle purchase or lease, and make an informed decision that is best for your wallet and the environment.
Take Action / Next Steps
Learn more about hybrid technology and how to improve your mileage here .
Check out hybridcenter.org for news, information on specific models and side-by-side comparisons.
Did you know that you can receive a tax credit for purchasing a hybrid?
While the federal tax
credit is being phased out for most models, many states still offer their own versions, along with other perks like free
parking and HOV lane permission, says the Union of Concerned Scientists.