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Is A Hybrid Vehicle Right for You?

April 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 205

This is the time of year when many folks are looking to buy a new or newer vehicle. Gas mileage has now become an important factor in the decision as to what type of vehicle to purchase. That has sparked the growing number of hybrids on the market. Hybrids are a great choice for many people but they are not for everyone. So, how to do you figure out which category you fall into?

Hybrid cars contain both a gasoline engine and an electric motor that is powered by a battery. These vehicles can run on either engine or both simultaneously. Hybrids have many advantages.

Probably the biggest advantage of the hybrid vehicle is that it turns off the gasoline engine when the car is idling such as at a red light. The engine starts automatically once the gas pedal is pressed. This reduces the strain on the engine, reduces emissions and saves a tremendous amount of gasoline. Regenerative braking is the second major advantage of a hybrid. During braking the electric motor applies resistance to the wheels causing them to slow down. It converts the kinetic energy from the wheels to electricity which is stored in the battery. In addition to creating energy, this causes less strain on the brakes.

Hybrids require less maintenance because of the reduced strain on the engine and braking system. Also, the oil does not need to be changed as often as in normal vehicles.

Another advantage of a hybrid is that their gasoline engine is smaller than that in a conventional car. It is smaller because the hybrid can get additional power from the electric motor when it is needed to climb a hill, pass or accelerate. That smaller engine is made with the newest technology designed to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

Hybrid vehicles are very aerodynamic. This reduces drag and improves gas mileage. They are also made from lightweight materials and use low rolling resistance tires. These tires have half the drag of normal tires because they are stiffer and are inflated more.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of a hybrid is the price which ranges from $3,000 to $8,000 more than the gas powered versions. It takes many years to recoup that expense in gas savings. Another disadvantage of owning a hybrid is that it usually has to be service at the dealership. Often, the labor costs are more at a dealership than at a private auto repair shop. Many of these shops do not have the knowledge and expensive equipment required to service hybrids.

In older hybrids, the battery has to be re-charged every couple of weeks. Newer ones do not require it and the batteries are designed to last for 150,000 to 200,000 miles. If the battery does fail, it is expensive to replace. A new battery can cost several thousand dollars. There have also been some claims that the batteries do not work well in very cold weather resulting in the vehicle being powered solely by the gas engine, thus defeating the purpose of the hybrid.

Lastly, hybrids do not get a drastic improvement in gas mileage on the highway because this is when the gas engine is powering the vehicle. Therefore, people who do mostly highway driving will not see a big benefit from a hybrid. Conversely, people who do mostly city driving will see a big benefit by way of greatly improved gas mileage.

Karen Campese is the Co-founder and CEO of Cars4Charities, a not for profit car donation center. They have over 1,000 respected charities that you can donate car to. When you donate your car, you get a tax deduction and help a good cause.

Source: EzineArticles
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