The hybrid car has been around for several years but has only recently seen a substantial increase in popularity. Rental car fleets are using them, public transportation is making the conversion, and auto makers are introducing more and more hybrid models every year. So what’s so great about driving a hybrid car?
The obvious first place to start when talking about hybrid gas and electric cars is their environmental impact when compared to gas only vehicles. Not only do hybrid cars emit fewer emissions because a substantial amount of their power comes from a battery, they also lessen the ancillary pollution that comes along with the need to produce oil and refine it into gasoline.
And, if you believe that carbon dioxide produced by man is having a substantial effect on the environment through the greenhouse effect, hybrid cars also product much less CO2 than their gasoline powered counterparts.
Lower Cost of Ownership
Although the prices of hybrid vehicles are coming down they’re still, on average, more expensive than normal cars. The savings in gasoline through better fuel economy will eventually make up for the higher sticker price but the real savings, at this point, come through government incentives and higher resale value.
The federal government and many state governments give tax breaks to those who purchase a hybrid vehicle. Not having to pay 20% to 30% tax on several thousand dollars of your income can provide a huge cash infusion during the year you buy the car. In addition, hybrid cars tend to have retain more of their value than gasoline-only cars so when you’re ready to move up to that new model your used car will have a higher resale value.
One of the early criticisms of hybrid cars was the lack of attractive and utilitarian models. It’s nice to get 60+ miles per gallon in fuel efficiency but if you have to drive around in something the size of a closet it just wasn’t worth the tradeoff for most people. With more car manufacturers entering the market offering a wider range of hybrids (including more popular styles like pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles) today you have almost as many choices buying a hybrid as you do buying a traditional vehicle.
Although they’ve taken a few years to really become a viable alternative to gas powered vehicles, hybrids now make up an increasing market share that continues to grow with each model year. In fact, electric-only cars are just around the corner so it looks like the age of the gasoline powered vehicle seems to be ending.