As the price of gas continues to climb, more and more Americans are considering the benefits of hybrid cars. While there a number of environmental benefits of hybrid cars, most drivers who have been looking into alternatives to combustion engines are concerned about the economic benefits of hybrid cars. But before you run out to trade-in your “gas guzzler”, it’s important to understand how hybrid cars work and if they will fit within your driving needs.
The Best Hybrid Cars
While there is a long list of benefits of hybrid cars to the environment, not all hybrids are equal. Technically, when a conventional combustion engine is augmented with an alternative energy source to propel a vehicle, it is considered a hybrid. But how that electronic energy source is fueled defines what kind of hybrid you are driving.
Plug-In, Full & Mild Hybrids – What’s the Difference
Before you ask if hybrid cars are fuel efficient, it is important to understand that not all Hybrids are the same. There are three main types of hybrid vehicles; full hybrids, mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Knowing what works best for you means understanding the difference. While do hybrid cars use gas and electricity, depending on the model, what kind of gas does hybrid cars use will vary between traditional petroleum and diesel fuel.
A Full Hybrid (FHEV) offers three alternative ways to fuel your vehicle. It can run on just the combustion engine (i.e.gas/diesel), the electric engine (i.e. power from batteries), or a combination. In a FHEV, the electric system propels the vehicle up to a predetermined speed (ie. 30 mph) then the combustion engine takes over. A full hybrid is self-sustaining and doesn’t require to be plugged in. Instead, the battery is recharged by running the combustion engine. This is the only hybrid model that can hybrid can run on gas only.
A Mild Hybrid has an electric motor and combustion engine which always work together. Mild hybrids cannot run on just electric or just combustion engine mode. The engines/motors always work in parallel, switching fuel source based on the acceleration of the vehicle. Mild hybrids typically have stop-start and regenerative braking, but are not capable of the MPG figures of an FHEV.
A Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), as the name suggests, requires plugging into the mains in order to fully recharge its battery. PHEVs can be run in just electric mode offering the greatest fuel economy; but they come with a dependency on charging stations to recharge the battery. While being the most fuel-efficient model, it also is the one with the “highest” maintenance for charging.
Driving Needs – Are Hybrid Cars good for long distance driving?
There is no question that hybrids are the most gasoline efficient of all cars. But the real question at this point; is how many miles can you go before you need to plug-in and recharge. According to the experts at the Institute for Transportation Studies, “Plug-in hybrids may drive for 10-50 miles using only electricity before they start using gasoline, and can then drive for about 300 miles (depending on the size of the fuel tank, just like any other car).”
Most models will typically record anywhere from 48 to 60 mpg. However, this is only about 20% to 35% better than a fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered vehicle, which begs the question, are hybrid cars worth it?
To answer that question, consider the following:
- How many miles a year will you be driving?
- How long do you plan on owning the vehicle?
Here is where the math comes in when deciding why hybrid cars are better for YOU. Most hybrid models are more expensive than their conventional engine counterparts. The real savings will come with how much you will be saving in the cost of gasoline and the depreciation of the vehicle. While your annual fuel costs may be reduced by $200-300 a year, you need to figure out how many years you need to drive this vehicle to compensate for the additional upfront cost to buy the hybrid.
What Are the tax benefits of Hybrid Cars?
In 2010, the Federal Government, in an attempt to encourage people to “go green” instituted a Tax Credit of up to $7500 for anyone who purchased (not leased) a Hybrid Vehicle. However, this tax credit opportunity will expire once the participating manufacturing sells 200,000 EVs in the U.S. Many manufacturers; those first to the hybrid market, have already reached that limit so there is no tax credit for their vehicles. It is important to review the list of available tax credits on the Department of Energy’s website.
All in all, there are a lot of reasons why hybrid cars are popular and why hybrid cars are better for the environment, but the big question Is a Hybrid car is good for you? At Flemington Car & Truck Country, we have a variety of Hybrid models that might fit your driving needs and be good for the environment. Our team has been serving the Hunterdon County, NJ, Buck County, Pa, Bridgewater, Edison, Princeton, Hamilton, Somerset County and Mercer County areas for the past 45 years. So, whether if you drive a Ford, Lincoln, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, INFINITI, INFINITI Q50, INFINITI Q60, INFINITI QX50, INFINITI QX55, INFINITI QX60, INFINITI QX80, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Subaru, Honda, Jaguar or Land Rover in NJ, know that our team is here to help you make the most of your driving experience.