More and more drivers are switching to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. At the most basic level, these vehicles offer better fuel efficiency. Potential drivers are also buying hybrids because of high customer satisfaction ratings, tax credits and low emission levels combined with an environmentally conscious mindset. If you’re on the fence about buying a hybrid car, the following benefits will help make your decision easier.
Compared with regular, gasoline or diesel engines, hybrid vehicles outperform their mother models by significant estimated miles per gallons. According to Consumer Reports survey, hybrids can increase fuel efficiency up to 30%. In a society reliant on personal automobiles, savings on monthly gasoline or diesel payments is quite beneficial for consumers. Researching EPA estimates of gas mileage reveals the difference in hybrid and regular vehicle fuel efficiency. However, driving culture and personal driving habits will influence fuel efficiency as well. For example, unnecessarily accelerating too quickly or stop-and-go traffic in urban areas decreases car fuel efficiency.
To operate, conventional cars burn gasoline and emit carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants. With higher fuel efficiency and decreased dependence on gasoline, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles emit significantly less air pollutants. From surveying national annual averages, The U.S. Department of Energy calculates that conventional vehicles emit 13,043 pounds of carbon dioxide per vehicle, hybrid electric vehicles emit 8,571 pounds of carbon dioxide per vehicle, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles emit 8,875 pounds of carbon dioxide per vehicle and electric vehicles emit 8,035 pounds of carbon dioxide per vehicle. While electric and plug-in hybrids vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, the energy used in the manufacturing process is calculated into these averages to better understand the external environmental costs.
Environmentally Conscious Consumer
Personal consumption at some level reflects personal consumer values. Whether or not potential customers are buying hybrids for fuel efficiency purposes, the emergence of these vehicles contributes to the rising “green” economy and reflects environmentally conscious drivers. If drivers can afford to buy the least expensive kind of hybrid cars and can also afford many other conventional vehicles, their decision to buy a hybrid reveals their dedication to environmental awareness. In many communities, hybrids are viewed as positive status symbols about the individual driver.
While the federal tax credit for hybrid vehicles expired at the end of 2010, other tax credits that pertain to hybrid vehicles exist and should be consoled when purchasing a hybrid model. For example, plug-in hybrids purchased after January 1, 2010 are eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500. The credit depends on the battery capacity and differs amongst vehicle types. Consulting the U.S. Department of Energy’s website to better understand federal, state and local hybrid tax credits should be a necessary step when buying a hybrid vehicle.
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Isabel Sepkowitz is a freelance writer. She is an environmentalist who values sustainability, education, and innovation for the emerging green economy. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.