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Buying a car isn’t an easy task, and it can seem like you have an endless number of possibilities to choose from. Will it fit into your budget? What will insurance cost? How many people does it need to seat? While answering those questions is a necessary part of the process, deciding between a hybrid and a traditional gas-powered car can be a great place to start. Hybrid vehicles have been available to consumers since the late 1990s, but many people still have questions about the pros and cons. Let’s find out if a hybrid is right for you.

Why Is a Hybrid Car More Efficient?

The hybrid car is designed with a combination of the best features from both traditional gas cars and electric cars. Hybrids use gas and electricity for power, with the electric motor designed to kick in under specific driving situations. This fuel-efficient method reduces the amount of gas you need. While an electric car needs to be plugged in to charge the battery, hybrid cars have an internal system that provides the charge. This makes hybrids more convenient, especially because finding a place to charge an electric car can be difficult.

How Long Does the Battery Last?

This is a difficult question to answer, as each car company will give you a different length of time, and that estimate can be altered by how much you drive. To get a general idea, you’ll need to research the model you want to buy and figure out what the company says about battery life. It’s then important to factor in the amount of driving you normally do, as more driving will decrease battery life. If you already have a hybrid, keep an eye on how much you’re paying at the pump. If you’re paying more for the same amount of driving, it may be time to replace your battery.

Pros

Better Gas Mileage

Although the cost of gas is no longer the staggering high of the early 2000s, the price can still put a dent in your bank account if you’re driving a gas-powered car. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when determining the fuel efficiency of your car, such as the materials the car is made of, the size of the car and where you drive. However, a hybrid car will promise higher miles per gallon in almost all scenarios, meaning less time spent at the gas station. Resources like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can help you figure out which car has the best miles per gallon, as the standard can range widely. Make sure you do your research!

Environmental Impact

Perhaps the biggest selling point of a hybrid is that it’s less damaging to the environment than the traditional gas car. Hybrids emit about half as much carbon dioxide compared to the average car. With carbon dioxide emissions considered the #1 factor in climate change, investing in a hybrid car is a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint.

Tax Incentives

Although the hybrid tax incentive on the federal level no longer exists, many states still offer tax credits to individuals purchasing a new hybrid vehicle. The amount and how it is applied will vary state by state, so you’ll need to do some digging to see if this applies to you.

Cons

Gas Mileage

How can gas mileage be both a pro and a con? It all has to do with how the hybrid car works. When driving on the expressway, some hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, get about the same miles per gallon as traditional cars. You’ll find your biggest savings on gas while driving in a city compared to on the highway.

Cost

While hybrids can save you money at the pump, many will cost more upfront compared to their non-hybrid counterparts. In the long run, the amount you save at the gas station may not be worth the additional costs you paid to purchase the vehicle. This will depend on how much you drive and whether that driving is either on the highway or in the city. It will also depend on how long you plan on keeping the car. If you only intend to lease for a short period of time, it may not be worth it.

Lack of Power

Most hybrids feature two driving modes: power mode and energy saver. While power mode is designed to be used while on the expressway, it doesn’t have the same acceleration capabilities as a traditional car. If power and speed are features you value in a car, then a hybrid may not be for you.

New Battery

Although the battery life of a hybrid is difficult to nail down, the cost of replacing one isn’t, and it’s expensive. On average, it can cost you between $2,000 and $3,000, so if you intend to keep your car for more than 10 years, this is a potential cost you’ll need to factor in.

Do you drive a hybrid and have advice you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I have driven a 2009 GS 450h from lexus for the past ten years. It is one of the best performing vehicles I have ever owned. The acceleration from 40-90 is amazing. It is as good, and much smoother and quieter, then any muscle car I have ever driven on the highway in real traffic. The overall handling on the car is also superb. The braking for example is very impressive. It is a statement to a hybrid being not just a means to be a fuel save but also a great way to be a performance enhancer as well.

  2. I have a 2007 Honda Civic hybrid car that needs a new IMA battery. I was quoted $1, 000 to get battery replaced and car runs good besides that. After 12 years the battery needs to be replaced, not too bad !

  3. Have a 2010 Prius. We like the car – the dislikes we have include 1. it has a lack of power (we always drive on eco mode which dampens throttle response which improves gas mileage) 2.my wife can not see the front corners of the car due to its sleek design3. the bar across the middle of the back window destroys rear visibility and at night the lights from cars driving behind us keep bouncing above and below the bar making it look like they are flashing their lights at us and lastly the car seems exceptionally cheaply built, carpets are thin, seats padding is minimal and sound insulation is pretty much nonexistent (it may be that the high gas mileage tires are just noisier as they have harder rubber.0
    HOWEVER, toyota had a 5 year loan with 0 interest and the car gets fantastic gas mileage. I get around 60 miles per gallon in suburban driving when not using the airconditioner. When using the a/c in the summer i get around 55mpg. I consistantly can drive 600 miles per 12 gallon tank with always over a gallon + left over.
    So considering that the reason we purchase the car was for gas mileage – we still feel we make the right decision. We have 45000 miles on the car with NO problems whatsoever.

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