Hybrid Cars: To buy or not to buy?

Nowadays, hybrid cars are becoming more popular all around the world. As people begin to take the threats of global warming and atmospheric pollution more seriously, many countries, companies, and organizations are coming up with greener ideas, products, and regulations to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. According to a report by the San Diego State University, there are some 900 million cars in the world in 2011. Cars are a major cause of global warming due to the combustion of fossil fuels and their sheer numbers. To help reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, major car companies have introduced various lines of hybrid vehicles. Unlike conventional cars, which are equipped with just the gasoline-powered combustion engine, hybrid cars are built with the conventional gasoline-powered combustion engine as well as a motor which is powered by battery. Due to this technology, hybrid cars use less gasoline than traditional cars. Hybrid vehicles are considered to be relatively new technology and they are surely growing in popularity. Is it the right time to buy a hybrid car? Here’s an unbiased look at the pros and cons of hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles produce lower emissions in comparison to traditional vehicles that run solely on gasoline-powered combustion engines. With the battery-powered motor, hybrid vehicles help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide which is released into the environment. When the levels of pollution decrease, the effects on global warming are also predicted to be reduced. Hybrid cars are also known as green cars because they are more environmentally friendly.

In comparison to similar conventional vehicles, hybrid vehicles are more fuel-efficient. For instance, the conventional 2012 Toyota Camry averages about 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway but the 2012 Camry Hybrid averages about 39 miles per gallon in the city and 43 miles per gallon on the highway. This translates to a significant savings in fuel costs for some motorists. Due to the superior fuel efficiency, it’s cheaper to drive a hybrid car in comparison to a conventional model translates to savings in fuel costs.

In the United States, there are purchase incentives for hybrid vehicles. The IRS offers tax credits for qualified hybrid vehicles. For instance, the credit amount for the 2011 BMW Active Hybrid X6 is $1,550 and the credit amount for the 2011 Mercedes Benz ML 450 Hybrid is $2,200. There are also tax credits for qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles and the maximum credit amount is $7,500. Other than the federal tax credits, you can also check with your state government to find out if there are additional purchase incentives for hybrid vehicles. Some of the popular hybrid vehicles in the United States are the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Lexus RX-450H, Ford Fusion, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda CR-Z.

One of the main cons of hybrid vehicles is the higher upfront costs. For instance, the 2012 Toyota Camry starts at $21,955 but the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $25,900, which is $3,945 more expensive. Also, the 2012 Ford Fusions starts at $20,200 but the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid starts at $28,700, which is $8,500 more expensive. It can be seen that the differences in upfront costs can be quite substantial. Due to this, many make the argument that it is not worth purchasing a hybrid vehicle if the reasoning is based solely upon saving money.

People who have driven hybrid vehicles will realize that the vehicles are less powerful than similar conventional models. It’s logical because hybrid vehicles are designed to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency so the performance will be somewhat compromised. With less power, the acceleration of a hybrid car is slower than a conventional model. Since hybrid cars have more complicated systems, the costs for repairs can be substantially higher than conventional cars. For instance, the battery pack costs $5,000 or more, depending on the model of your hybrid vehicle.

All in all, there’s no fixed answer as to whether it’s a good idea to buy a hybrid car or not. On the plus side, a hybrid car is green, fuel efficient, and you may get some purchase incentives. On the negative side, it’s more expensive, less powerful, and more expensive to maintain. It’s best to weigh your options in light of the pros and cons that are mentioned above.

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