As we all become more environmentally conscious, efforts are being made worldwide to reduce the pollution caused by the cars you drive, the trucks that deliver the goods to your favorite stores, your kids’ school buses.
You've probably seen newspaper articles and TV news reports on hybrid cars. But what exactly are hybrid cars?
Hybrid electric vehicles combine smaller gas engines with electric motors powered by a battery system that charges as the gas engine operates. This powertrain combination provides significantly improved gas mileage as well as dramatically reduced CO2 emissions. In these days of $3 gas and global warming, that's no small improvement.
If you regularly drive in an urban area, hybrid vehicles are particularly cost-effective as you can drive almost completely on electric power, which obviously saves gas dollars as well as the environment. This is the exact opposite of traditional gas cars that tend to get better mileage on the highway than driving in more stop-and-go city traffic. Take into consideration the type of driving you most frequently do when considering a hybrid.
Interestingly, when a hybrid car is running on electric power, particularly at low speeds such as in the city, they are practically silent, reducing noise pollution as well as air pollution. This means drivers of hybrids have to be more careful as pedestrians have a hard time hearing them coming. . . and being a more attentive driver is a positive thing.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that not all hybrids are created equal. For example, should you need a larger family vehicle, such as an SUV, a hybrid SUV very likely will not be as fuel efficient as a standard SUV. While this will surely change in the future, don't be fooled into thinking that just any hybrid is going to be better.
In addition, hybrid cars are definitely more expensive than “regular" vehicles. While the savings in gas mileage will help offset the higher purchase price, particularly if gas prices remain high, if you are thinking about buying a hybrid simply to “save money" you might find yourself unpleasantly surprised if the car does not meet your other needs.
On the other hand, if your major concern is the environment, the extra cost of a hybrid vehicle can be well worth it.
Steve Longoria writes on the growing Alternative Fuel Vehicles market, encouraging people to adopt greener fuels and, ultimately, to help people save money. For more info on Biofuel Vehicles visit EZAlternativeFuelVehicles.com