One of the greatest consumers of fossil fuels is the automobile. In the United States, up to 70% of the oil that is consumed every day is done so to support transportation needs. If we could reduce this dependence, even by a fractional amount, the positive consequences to the environment could be huge. This need is just one of the reasons why hybrid cars were developed. For an added cost, drivers could reduce their pollution output, but still get to where they needed to go.
The advantages of disadvantages of hybrid cards are important to consider if you’re thinking about a vehicle upgrade today. Here are some of the key points to consider.
Advantages of Hybrid Cars
1. They have improved gas mileage over traditional vehicles.
With efficient driving, it is not unusual to have hybrid cars reach 50 MPG ratings and SUVs to approach 25-30 miles per gallon. When you can get more mileage out of every gallon of gas, that’s more money that goes into your pocket. Although you’ll pay more for a hybrid car, you’ll begin making up that cost with your first tank of fuel.
2. They are perfect for city driving.
One of the most unique features of many hybrid vehicles is that they get better stop-and-go city driving mileage than they do out on the highway. This is because many energy resources are generated by stopping so that electricity, not fuel, can be used for low and slow city speeds that may be required. Once that electric motor gets charged, you don’t have to use fuel to get to where you need to be.
3. You get to learn how to drive better.
Hybrid cars are also unique in the fact that they encourage positive driving skills. When you brake gently and don’t power out an aggressive acceleration curve, you will see enormous gains in your MPG ratings. Some even offer real-time fuel consumption information as part of the heads-up display so you can see what the effects of your driving decisions happen to be.
4 You can have a real conversation with someone.
We are so used to the roar of a traditional car engine that we don’t realize how much noise pollution they actually generate. Hybrid cars are remarkably quiet, as if you had shifted a vehicle into neutral and were just coasting down the road. The electric engine has no noise and even the fuel engine has a reduced audio output compared to older vehicles.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Cars
1. Not every hybrid car is built to last.
You must perform your due diligence on all hybrid vehicles before deciding on a final purchase. Some hybrids can’t run on just the electrical motor by themselves. Others don’t collect energy from other sources, like your braking actions. Just about every hybrid will get better fuel economies than a traditional vehicle, but sometimes those gains are only minor at best.
2. High fuel prices always translate into higher hybrid car prices.
If the price per gallon of fuel is around $3 in your area, then you can bet there will be a premium price on a hybrid vehicle. As gas prices rise, the retail price of hybrids also rise. This is because of the simple principle of supply and demand. When more people want hybrids, then there are fewer available and it’ll cost you more to get your hands on one.
3. Many hybrids are not suitable for large families.
There are only a handful of hybrid models that are available right now for larger families or those who have a need to transport more than 5 people at once. For some years, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid was the only vehicle large enough to meet this need, and even then the hybrid gains were rather negligible.
4. Battery power can be relatively weak.
In my hybrids, one of the most common problems that owners face is the accidental draining of their battery. And, once the battery is drained, it may not charge properly any more, requiring a replacement. In a Prius, for example, the cost of an aftermarket battery may be $200 or more. That can be a major unexpected expense for families that are living paycheck to paycheck.
These hybrid car advantages and disadvantages are just a few of the key points to consider before making this investment. Have you owned a hybrid in the past? What did you like about driving it? Were there other disadvantages that you noticed? We’d love to hear about your personal experiences.