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The Essential Pros and Cons of Hybrid Vehicles

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Ready to Buy a Hybrid? Check Out the Pros and Cons

Hybrid vehicles were once unpopular. But now they’ve entered the mainstream and are fairly normal.

Despite the wide acceptance of hybrids, they still aren’t as common on American roads as you might think. In 2016, just 2 percent of US auto sales were hybrids.

That’s down from 3.1 percent in 2013. The decline is partly due to the rise of fully electric vehicles, as well as lower-than-average gasoline prices (which means lower demand for hybrids).

It’s also possible that the small percentage of hybrids on American streets has something to do with a lag in consumer knowledge.

The Pros of Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrids have come a long way over the past decade. Many of the common shortcomings of these vehicles have been replaced by attractive features.

Here are some of the pros of owning a hybrid.

1. Fuel Efficient

Fuel efficiency is the most obvious benefit. Toyota, for example, claims its hybrids run 80 percent cleaner than standard gasoline-powered vehicles. So if you wish to reduce your negative impact on the environment, a hybrid vehicle is a solid choice.

2. Teaches More Efficient Driving Habits

Not only are hybrids fuel-efficient, but they encourage drivers to be more efficient in their operation of the vehicle. A sports car tends to make drivers want to press the gas pedal and whip around curves, but a hybrid encourages them to think about how they drive, when they drive, and how much impact they’re having on the environment.

3. No Emissions Testing

“When I inquired about registering my car, I was told that a hybrid does not need an emissions test to be registered,” car enthusiast Jason Steele explains. “Since your state’s laws may differ from those here in Denver, Colorado, check with your local DMV to see if an emissions or other test is required for registration.”

No required emissions testing is just one of many benefits. A hybrid vehicle may also allow you to drive in special HOV lanes in certain cities and states.

4. Less Maintenance

“One of the neat things about a hybrid is that the gas engine is not running when you are stopped or driving slowly. It is amazing how often that happens in city driving. The result is that you are putting less wear on your engine,” Steele points out.

“For this reason, Toyota only recommends oil changes every 5,000 miles, unlike my Subaru which specifies oil changes every 3,000 miles.”

Less maintenance is obviously cheaper, but it also reduces your stress. You can simply jump in the car and drive, rather than worry about whether it’ll start when you need it.

The Cons of Hybrid Vehicles

There are reasons hybrid cars account for only 2 percent of US auto sales, though. A handful of negatives accompany the pros for these vehicles. Here are two.

1. More Dangerous (Sort of)

According to the law firm of Herrman & Herrman, the most common factors involved in car accidents are speeding, driving while intoxicated, distracted driving, driving too fast for road conditions, and disregard of traffic signals. But did you know that hybrid vehicles are also more likely to hit pedestrians than standard vehicles? The quietness of the vehicle encourages walkers to step out in front of a hybrid.

2. More Expensive

Another downside is that hybrid vehicles cost more up front. Although you’re likely to recoup the added expense in the future, the premium can increase your monthly car payment or purchase price.

Adding it All Up

“For hybrids to be accepted and purchased by the average consumer, they must be affordable, comfortable, have good drivability, and be attractive to the eye,” automotive dealer Jean Scheid writes.

Hybrids aren’t the perfect solution for saving the environment, but they are a step in the right direction. It’s up to consumers to make smart choices.

If, after adding the pros and cons, you decide that a hybrid is what you want, think about trading in your current vehicle for a cost-effective and energy-efficient option that fits your lifestyle. You probably won’t be disappointed.

Bill is a green living geek writing about various topics including; sustainability, fuel economy vehicles, green design, branding and marketing.

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