Why Hybrid Cars Get Great Mileage

By: Thomas Jones

You've heard about hybrid cars from everywhere, including the news and the papers. People talk about them in chat rooms and the internet has information on the too. You know that hybrids have many features that conventional cars just can't match up to. One of those features is the fact that hybrid cars get great gas mileage. You would love to trade in your supposedly "greener" compact car for a new hybrid version of the same model.

Why do hybrids get great gas mileage? Are they really as efficient as everyone wants to believe they are?

The answers to these questions can be both quite simple yet also a bit complicated. Hybrid cars have two sources of power that make them work. One is an internal combustion engine that is just like a conventional car. The other is an electric motor. Both of these power sources are connected to each other by a battery pack that transmits information between them and also to a computer that runs the car.

If a hybrid still burns gas how can it not be wasting fuel and still get great gas mileage?

Conventional cars require gasoline to do everything for them such as start, drive, idle and start again. When your driving a conventional car and sitting at a traffic light you are idling. You are wasting gas just sitting there so that when the light changes to green you can automatically accelerate the car. Something similar happens when you are traveling at slow speeds, driving in the rain or snow or even sitting in a traffic jam.

Hybrids are "smarter" than a conventional car. The hybrid engine does not begin burning oil until you have reached speeds greater than 15 miles per hour. This means that the hybrid does not waste fuel while driving slowly or being stopped which is the area of driving where conventional cars burn the most fuel.

Not only that but many hybrid are equipt with a feature that will shut off the internal combustion engine when the hybrid car is idling such as when your sitting at traffic light or in bumper to bumper traffic and then turn it back on when you accelerate. This allows you to coast rather than use power.

How can it still coast if the engine is off?

As was said before hybrids have two types of power sources. The electric motor which is one of their power sources is made to handle many of the small task that a car performs. These task include things such as braking, idling and coasting. The electric motor also helps out with things such as getting up large hills. This is a point where conventional vehicles waste a lot of gas but the hybrid only uses electric energy.

So in short a hybrid gets such great gas mileage because they use two different power sources, an internal combustion engine and electricity. If it uses electricity for a portion of the time it is running, it also uses less gas which means more miles run per gallon of gasoline.

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