In this article we look at the main advantages of owning a hybrid and try to address any concerns you may have about owning one. Hybrid cars rely on an electric engine as well as a conventional engine. If the car is running at low speeds, it switches to electric and stops burning gas. Because they run on electricity as well as conventional fuel, hybrid cars only release a fraction of the emissions do that normal cars do. For example, the Toyota Prius has emissions of about 104.00 g/km, much lower than conventional cars and lower than a lot of other hybrids too.
It is true that a hybrid will struggle to match the raw power of a conventional gas-guzzling SUV. That said, performance isn't bad either with many small hybrids posting around 150bhp beneath the hood, which should be more than adequate for running around town, nipping down to the shops or dropping the kids to school. There are also some excellent hybrid SUVs on the market now. The main advantage of hybrid cars is that you get the best of both worlds. You get the clean efficiency of electric power which has no emissions and is quiet. You also have a conventional engine so you don't have to worry about covering long distances.
While the technology is still relatively new, most major car manufacturers now have hybrid models that are as safe and reliable as any conventional car, and in some cases even more so. Hybrid cars do cost a little more than conventional vehicles but hybrid owners find out that they easily recoup that money and more in just a few years. Hybrids work out cheaper for a number of reasons.
Savings To start with you will save significantly on fuel costs, and the more that the price of oil rises the greater these savings will be. You can easily get 30 extra miles per gallon from an SUV compared to a conventional car. How, much you save every year will depend on your mileage, but for most people it is in the region of hundreds of dollars. There are also other savings to be made. The government offers ongoing tax benefits to hybrid owners that can cut motoring costs significantly over time, while there may also be savings to be made on the cost of insuring the car. Whether a hybrid car will save you money will depend on how you use it.
Those who clock up high mileage every year will make the biggest savings. However, if you clock anything above 10,000 miles a year a hybrid should make good financial sense as the fuel costs will save you money in the long run. A few years ago, anyone looking to buy a hybrid car was limited in choice. However, that has changed with Toyota, Honda, Ford, Lexus and more top car manufacturers releasing quality hybrid models. And since hybrids first began appearing on the market in 2000, the technology has continued to improve and any early teething pains seem to have been ironed out. If you are looking for the greenest car on the market, the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civic hybrids are the best choice for you.
Other models offer better power and acceleration but higher emissions. At present, California has by far the highest rate of hybrid car use in the United States. In 2006, 67,533 hybrid cars were registered there, followed by Florida in a distant second with 12,900 hybrid car registrations. In the same year, just over 1.5 per cent of all new cars registered in the United States were hybrids. Of these, the Toyota Prius was by far the most popular, accounting for 42.
8% of the hybrid market. The Toyota Highlander came in second at 12.5%, followed by the Honda Civic at 12.3%. More than 75% of all hybrid cars registered in 2006 were manufactured by Toyota/Lexus, so there is little doubt who the market leader is.
The number of people driving hybrids is increasing steadily and they are likely to account for a much higher proportion of vehicles on the nation's roads in coming years. Also, manufacturers are constantly exploring new ways to fuel hybrids more efficiently and to reduce emissions further, so they will only get better. Expect to see vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells and bio fuels and various other combinations on the roads in the near future.
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