We all want to take care of our planet as best as we can. One of the exciting new ways we can maintain our current lifestyles while minimizing the damage we leave in our path is by driving hybrid vehicles. Instead of clogging our atmosphere with huge carbon deposits thanks to burning fossil fuels, we are able to use renewable sources of energy to supplement our transportation needs.
These vehicles have a lot of promise. They also have some negatives that must be considered before everyone runs out to purchase one. Here are the key points to consider when looking at the pros and cons of hybrid vehicles.
The Pros of Hybrid Vehicles
1. It conserves energy.
Hybrid vehicles come equipped with a standard engine, but they don’t produce the same level of emissions. That’s because they are designed to conserve energy from numerous sources to lessen fuel consumption. Gas mileage is much better thanks to regenerative brakes, electrical power from batteries, and other energy sources.
2. It reduces our consumption of fossil fuels.
Oil is a commodity that our society needs, but it can be an expensive one when demand is high. It wasn’t that long ago some people in urban centers in the US were paying nearly $5 per gallon for gasoline. Reducing our consumption of fossil fuels means keeping other utility costs lower because 70% of the oil consumption in the US goes to transportation needs.
3. There are often tax incentives available.
Hybrid vehicles may cost more than a standard vehicle, but there are often tax incentives in place to minimize this cost difference. When the higher resale value of hybrids is also added into the pricing structure, the actual cost to owners of hybrids can actually be lower over the long run when compared to the costs of owning a standard vehicle.
4. They are just as safe as standard vehicles.
Some people have stayed away from hybrids because they are often made with lighter materials than a standard vehicle. This lightweight nature of hybrids helps to save fuel costs, but thanks to modern technology, it doesn’t reduce the safety features a vehicle may have. Hybrids today are just as safe as any other vehicle.
5. Hybrids ease the pain of stop and go driving.
For a standard vehicle, urban driving habits can kill gas mileage. Some standard vehicles get below 15 mpg in the city. Hybrids are perfectly suited for this type of driving thanks to their regenerative energy, letting drivers use less fuel to get to where they need to go.
The Cons of Hybrid Vehicles
1. Many hybrids have a lower overall power output.
Hybrid vehicles have been built to conserve energy. Most of them are not built for rapid acceleration or speed. Many of these vehicles have smaller engines to reduce power consumption than a standard vehicle, which means there is often less power output from a hybrid.
2. Hybrid vehicles tend to feel a little loose while driving.
This is because of the emphasis on reducing the weight of the vehicle. There isn’t as much bracing within the structure of the vehicle. For most driving situations, the changes in how the vehicle drives are rather miniscule. When taking a curve quickly or in high wind situations, however, hybrids tend to feel a bit loose and inexperienced drivers may struggle to maintain control.
3. There are usually higher overall maintenance costs.
Every car eventually needs to visit a shop for a repair or two over its lifetime. Because of the complexities of the system that reduces emissions, it can cost a lot more to repair hybrids when compared to standard vehicles. Tire wear also tends to be an issue, especially in the first years of owning a hybrid, because of the differences in how they handle for drivers.
4. And then there’s the cost to consider.
A hybrid vehicle that is the same make and model as a standard vehicle may have an additional $10,000 cost to the consumer – or more. Even with incentives in place to make this investment worthwhile, the fact remains that not every household which needs a new vehicle is going to be able to afford a hybrid.
5. There are no “standard” hybrid regulations.
Not every hybrid is created equally. Some hybrids have limited functions when stopped. Others may not have regenerative brakes or small capacity batteries.
The pros and cons of hybrid vehicles show that there can be many advantages to owning this type of car. As long as all of the negatives are considered and the price isn’t out of a household’s budget, then it can be a very beneficial experience.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.