Are Hybrid Vehicles the Answer to Rising Energy Prices?

There are a number of hybrid cars on the market today. Some of the more popular models are the Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Ford Escape Hybrid. As a result of those who are environmentally minded, many more hybrid vehicles are coming to market, in addition to cars. Now hybrid trucks and hybrid SUVs are also becoming very popular.

There are some viable alternatives to the gasoline or diesel engine, available to the average consumer, when looking for a new vehicle. The hybrid car has become much more popular recently. A hybrid car is one that operates on more than one fuel system. The most common hybrid vehicle combines fossil fuel with electric energy. These cars primarily run on gasoline, but are assisted by electric current that is supplied by a rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), battery pack. With this combination of fuel systems, there are two positive outcomes; fuel efficiency is improved, and engine exhaust emissions are cut down.

If you are buying a used car, be a little leery of hybrids. The battery packs in a hybrid car have to be replaced after 80,000 to 150,000 miles. In some states they are warrantied for 150,000 miles, or up to eight years. Depending on the age of the car, it may cost you more to replace this battery pack than the car is worth.

When comparing the price of a hybrid vehicle versus a non-hybrid, it’s wise to get quotes on like models for your comparison. What I mean is this. If you are looking at a Civic Hybrid, compare its price to the regular Civic. You can then calculate the difference in price. The difference is what you are paying extra for the hybrid. By doing this, it will help you see if you can actually save money in the long run by spending a little more up front.

How much better is the gas mileage with a hybrid car? It all depends on the type of driving you do. Overall, hybrid cars save at least 15% on the amount of fuel used. In some driving environments, you may not save anything. For example, trying to accelerate while going up hills will decrease your efficiency, as it can with any vehicle.

Here are some driving styles that can affect how a hybrid car works: When at a full stop, the gas engine usually shuts off. This eliminates idling, and reduces emissions. However, in traffic with a lot of stop and go situations, this can also save a fair amount of fuel. If you are in stop and go traffic all day, the gas engine may have to switch on to keep the battery fully charged.

When accelerating from a stop, if you do it like your grandmother, the electric motor usually propels the hybrid car through the current supplied by the battery pack. This is where you can save the most with a hybrid. Unfortunately, that’s not how I drive most of the time.

When you use heavy acceleration, this draws power from both the electric motor and the gas motor. If you do a lot of this style of driving, you probably won’t save much, if anything, with the hybrid car.

During highway driving, the car is typically powered by the gas engine alone. Whenever the gas engine is running, it is charging the battery pack, but you don’t receive any added fuel efficiency because of the hybrid design. If most of your driving is on the highway, you may not save much gas at all with the hybrid. The only advantage of a hybrid car in this instance is a slight improvement in gas mileage, due primarily to the smaller engine. Several of the hybrids also are equipped with a variable transmission. This will allow the engine to operate more efficiently, by using an optimal RPM at all times.

When you break gently, coast, or decelerate, the hybrid electric motor works in reverse. It is now converting kinetic energy into electric energy as a generator. The process used to charge the battery is known as regenerative braking. This process charges the battery pack, which eliminates any need to ever plug the car in for charging. By the way, a hybrid car can’t be plugged in to charge the battery. That isn’t part of its design.

When you back up in a hybrid car, the electric motor does all the work, as the gasoline engine is disengaged. Since most people don’t back up that much, the savings of fuel in this mode is very minimal.

If a hybrid car is driven properly, one can see a fuel savings of at least 15% or more. In that case, the hybrid vehicle may be the answer to rising energy prices.