As automakers continue to move away from traditional gas-powered vehicles, you want to know if a hybrid vehicle is right for you. While the hybrid car isn’t fully electric, it does feature special equipment making it more efficient and better for the environment. We look closer at the pros and cons of hybrid cars so you can make an educated decision.
Whether you are looking at the benefits to the environment or the overall cost of a hybrid car, our evaluation will help you make up your mind. We also touch on the basics of hybrid vehicles.
What is a Hybrid Car?
The hybrid vehicle contains a minimum of one electric motor combined with a gas engine to propel the car. The hybrid system can recapture energy with the help of regenerative braking. At some points, the gas engine and electric motors work together in combination, while other times, it is just one being used.
The electricity is provided with a high-voltage battery back, running separately from the 12-volt automotive battery. Hybrids also use the gas engine to maintain this battery pack, or a plug-in hybrid design can be used for additional recharging.
Hybrid Car Pros
1. Environmentally Friendly
Gas-powered cars create a lot of environmental hazards. For starters, gas cars emit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases coming directly from the tailpipe into the atmosphere. This conventional operation has a profound impact on the environment.
Hybrid vehicles use gasoline and electricity for power. While the car runs on gasoline, it will emit the same greenhouse gases. However, many of them get far better fuel economy, ensuring there are fewer greenhouse gases being pumped into the air.
Additionally, the hybrid has the capability to run on electric-only power. If you have a short commute, you might choose this option as it creates zero emissions for a healthy atmosphere.
Because of the better fuel economy, you will spend less time at the gas pump with your hybrid vehicle. If you can travel twice as far on a gallon of fuel, you have cut your gas prices in half.
On top of that, there are many tax credits you can take advantage of when you purchase a hybrid vehicle. By choosing a plug-in hybrid, you might be able to save up to $7,500, along with any local or state incentives that might be available.
3. Quiet Operation
With the electric motor in use, the hybrid vehicle is much quieter than a gas-powered car. In fact, automakers constructed such a quiet design that the federal government passed a law requiring all models to include some audible sound when traveling for safety purposes.
If you are tired of all the engine noise in your gas-powered car, you might prefer the hybrid models. It will be easier to hold a conversation in the cabin with your family or friends.
4. Less Maintenance
With hybrid models using two forms of power, there will be less wear and tear on the engine. This design ensures that less oil is needed and fewer maintenance tasks need to be performed.
With that in mind, some hybrid models do have more expensive parts. If you truly want to save money on maintenance, make sure you do your research before buying.
5. No Range Anxiety
You might be interested in an electric car because of the environmental benefits. However, the lower range and lack of charging stations might give you anxiety.
Driving a hybrid alleviates this problem. When the battery runs out of juice, the hybrid will automatically switch to gas power instead. You won’t ever be stuck without a way to get to your next stop unless you run out of gas.
Hybrid Car Cons
1. Higher Upfront Cost
While there may not be a substantial price difference, most automakers price hybrid cars slightly higher than the comparable gas-powered models. Whether you are looking to lease or buy a hybrid vehicle, you can expect to spend a little more.
However, as we discussed in the pros, there are also incentives worth checking into if you buy a plug-in hybrid model. After the savings, your price might be closer to the gas-powered model after all.
2. Expensive Parts
While maintenance isn’t needed as often, the service can be expensive. Parts can be a little pricey, especially if you are dealing with the battery. Additionally, you have to find a qualified mechanic that will work on hybrid vehicles, which can be difficult if you don’t live near a busy city.
On the bright side, many manufacturers warranty the battery for up to ten years. Plus, these batteries should last over 150,000 miles. Look into the reliability of your car’s battery before you buy it because some can cost more than $2,000.
3. Not as Clean as EVs
While hybrid cars can cut down on greenhouse gases, they aren’t as friendly as EVs. However, the hybrid is going to be cleaner than the gas-powered vehicle, so it’s a step in the right direction.
The overall environmental impact depends on how often you use the electric motor and where the power comes from. By making smart driving decisions, you can reduce the impact greatly.
Should I Buy a Hybrid Car?
After reading through the pros and cons of hybrid cars, you may still not be sure what’s right for you. Hybrid cars suit people that do a lot of traveling around town, allowing you to rely on electric-only power. This form of transportation is nearly free and benefits the environment the most.
With that in mind, if you only travel around the city for short distances and have no need for a gas-powered engine, you might do better to buy an electric vehicle instead. With no tailpipe emissions, you have a better way to travel in urban areas.
On the other hand, if you have a longer commute and travel a lot of miles, you want an efficient diesel or gas-powered vehicle. Look for something with superior fuel economy ratings that will let you do your part for our Earth.