There are many benefits associated with owning a hybrid car. First and foremost are the environmental advantages, which include reduced emissions and less fuel consumption when compared against many traditional gasoline-engine vehicles. Moving past the ecological aspect of hybrid cars, however, reveals a list of financial bonuses as well as a few unexpected improvements in the area of performance offered by this class of battery-assisted automobiles.
Take a quick look at 9 benefits of hybrid cars and see how many of these perks you might not have previously considered when contemplating a gasoline/electric vehicle.
It's the most obvious, and most-often touted benefit of a hybrid car: the amount of money that a battery-assisted vehicle can save you at the fuel pump. There's no question that many hybrid car buyers are attracted to the somewhat gaudy fuel mileage numbers posted by vehicles like the Toyota Prius, which can crest 50-mpg. This is especially true for anyone with a long commute, as a hybrid car's thrifty ways can take a sizable chunk out the monthly fuel bill thanks to the efficiencies associated with steady-state cruising. A hybrid car is also an effective weapon in bumper-to-bumper traffic, where the ability to travel on battery power alone at low speeds becomes a significant asset.
Hybrid cars like the Ford Fusion Hybrid aren't just thrifty when it comes to reducing the amount of gasoline one needs to purchase - their slow sip rate also translates into a significant reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases that they produce. Hybrid cars help to keep the air clean, especially in major urban areas where gridlock can produce smog resulting from the accumulation of atmospheric pollutants. In some states, hybrid car tailpipes are considered so 'clean' that they aren't even required to undergo yearly emissions testing, which saves owners time, money, and hassle.
You’ve no doubt looked at the horsepower and torque figures associated with some hybrid cars like the Acura ILX Hybrid and wondered just how pleasant they can be to drive given their relatively modest output. The secret to the success of many hybrid vehicles is the fact that electric motors deliver their maximum torque rating instantaneously. That means there's no need to wait for the motor to spool or rev up - each and every one of its lb-ft are available as soon as the accelerator is mashed to the floor. This unique characteristic of hybrid automobiles allows them to keep up - at the very least - with the flow of traffic.
You see signs all over the city telling you that you're parked in a 'no-idling' zone, and for good reason: idling a car is not only a waste of fuel, but it's also a major contributor to the smog and pollution that we talked about earlier. Hybrid cars have a leg-up due to the fact that they almost never idle their gasoline motors. Once it has rolled to a stop, the internal combustion engine under the hood of a hybrid car is instantly shut down to conserve fuel and eliminate emissions. The car's battery pack takes over, powering the radio, the seat heaters, and the climate systems, until the vehicle is once again moving at a quick enough speed to require the ignition of the gas engine. More efficiency, and less pollution - it's a win/win for hybrid owners.
Hybrid cars are typically more expensive than their gas-only counterparts, due to the cost of the technologies involved in their research, development, and production. Fortunately, the federal government has created several income tax credit programs that are designed to encourage the purchase of hybrid cars. On top of these programs, at the state level there are often additional incentives available, including discounts on vehicle registration and excise taxes as well as extra income tax rebates that can add yet another financial benefit of owning a hybrid car. It's worth checking into your region's stance on hybrids before making a purchase decision.
Let's face it: most of us aren't professional drivers, and as a result we have developed habits that can sometimes cause us to use a bit more fuel than we really need to when going from point A to point B. Most hybrid cars come with at least a basic 'driving tutor' type of system, which rewards owners for being easy on the throttle and for planning out their braking rather than simply mashing the gas and jamming on the binders at each stoplight. By re-learning how to drive in the most efficient way possible from behind the wheel of a hybrid car, you can easily export those same skills to any other vehicle you might happen to pilot.
We touched on the joys of instant torque, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that some hybrid cars are more gifted than others when it comes to the contributions of their electric motors. In fact, there exists an entire class of high performance hybrid cars - typically in the luxury segment, although the Honda CR-Z represents a more affordable take on the concept - that harness the power of the electron to enhance acceleration rather than conserve fuel. Companies ranging from BMW, to Lexus, to Porsche all build battery-assisted vehicles that deliver exceptional speed thanks to their hybrid designs.
Car-pooling is an excellent way to save fuel, reduce commuting stress, and take cars off of the road to help prevent traffic snarls. How many of us have gazed longingly at the empty high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane beside us while sitting in a jam, wishing we'd been able to rustle up a couple of friends for this particular trip into the city? One of the ancillary benefits of hybrid cars is that they often-times give you access to the HOV lane even when you are the only person riding along. The theory behind this perk that hybrid cars deserve to benefit from the HOV lane due to their reduced tailpipe emissions.
You might have noticed while shopping for a used hybrid car that this class of vehicle seems to hold its value better than same-year gas-only models. There are a few reasons for this interesting divergence. Hybrid cars are sold in smaller numbers and are typically more rare than their gasoline counterparts, which makes it harder to find a used edition in a given area. Hybrid cars are also often equipped with a higher standard of equipment than their gas-only siblings, which adds a bit of cachet to their sticker price. Finally, most hybrid cars have strong records of reliability, which is always a consideration when purchasing a second-hand vehicle.