Trade In Your Gas Guzzler for a Hybrid
We’re all looking for more ways to save on fuel these days as oil supplies diminish and gasoline prices continue to soar. Indications are that the price at the pump will remain at current levels or rise even more in the near and long term. So we seek ways to drive less and get better mileage.
Perhaps the best way to save gas is to get rid of that old heavy heap that guzzles gas and the money right out of your pocketbook. One of the most popular options is driving a hybrid vehicle.
A hybrid combines the benefits of both gas and electric. With these two sources of power they can be configured to obtain different objectives to suit your driving needs. These configurations range from fuel economy to increased power.
The hybrid concept is not new. Liquid fuel and electric hybrids date back to the late 1800’s. Of course, fuel economy wasn’t necessary back then. Even today, drivers have been reluctant to switch until gas topped four dollars a gallon.
This caught the attention of most major car manufacturers with hybrids now available from GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, Ford and Mercury.
Hybrids save in ways other than engine economy. The hybrid recaptures energy normally wasted during braking with a process called regenerative braking. Plus, it shuts down the gas or diesel engine while stopped or when coasting.
A sleek automobile is not only pleasing to the eye, but with aerodynamic styling, it creates less drag, hence less fuel is used. Hybrids also use an improved design of tires, which creates less drag as well.
How much gas can you save by driving a hybrid? Well, that depends on the one you choose. Mileage varies just like a pure gasoline model. It can range from 28 to 45 miles per gallon.
As an example, assuming you drive 15,000 miles a year and gas is a little over $4 a gallon, only 10 extra miles per gallon can save you about a thousand dollars a year. Do the math and that’s over five thousand dollars in only five years. With most hybrids you can expect to do better. You may also qualify for a federal tax savings.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the annual fuel cost of a hybrid vehicle that gets 45 mpg at $1,315. If the car you’re driving now gets only half that you’re spending twice as much.
If you’ve delayed switching to a hybrid because of size, larger models are now being offered. But, as the size goes up gas savings go down. The cost of replacing the batteries if needed is also being reduced. Compare your needs with the benefits and a hybrid may be in your future.