Is a Hybrid Car Right for You?

By: Levi Quinn

Have you been considering whether it would be a good idea to purchase a hybrid car? Sure, hybrid cars are good for the environment, if all the hype about them is correct. After all, this type of automobile uses less gasoline and releases fewer emissions. But would it improve your life significantly, or would it prove too much of a drain on your current resources?

In order to answer this question, you will need to understand just a little about what a hybrid car is. A hybrid car has two motors of two different types, gasoline powered and electric. The gasoline-powered motor means the car isn't completely alien, and it is still a normal car for all intents and purposes. It just has a little help that makes it fuel-efficient.

The electric motor, which uses less energy than gas motors at low speeds and none at idle, comes into play while you drive around town and wait in traffic. The gasoline motor is used when you need your car to speed up, as this motor is actually more efficient at high speeds. It also gives your car more overall power for highway driving.

The hybrid car has a system to capture braking energy, which is then stored in a battery. It uses fuel, but not quite as much as a fully gasoline-powered car, thanks to all of these extra ways of capturing and storing energy. Environmentalists have been saying for years that we are swimming in energy - we just have to get busy making and using systems to capture it.

Fuel efficiency, of course, is the hybrid's chief "pro." People who want this type of fuel-efficient automobile have to weigh the costs of fuel efficiency against what they are willing to pay in order to achieve it. For one thing, if you have two motors, you are dealing with breakdowns twice as often. With this setup, more parts that are moving can go wrong.

Then, of course, there is the price. A hybrid car will probably start at about $19,000 or $20,000, while a regular automobile can be much more inexpensive. In addition, some sources report that mileage usually isn't what it's cracked up to be.

In order to drive one of these cars, you must be willing to take a hit to the pocketbook for the environment. If you are willing and able to do that, then this type of automobile may be a good buy for you.

There is something else to consider as well. Automobile manufacturers haven't been trying terribly hard to make hybrids viable in the marketplace. As the world changes, this type of technology may become more user-friendly. If you are not able to make the monetary sacrifices at this time but are still interested, you can wait out technological improvements until the sacrifices aren't so great.

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