Without a doubt when you are comparison-shopping for a new car, many factors need to be considered. For instance, things like fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, overall cost, and, in the case of the hybrid vehicle, tax breaks. Taking all of these factors into account together with environmental friendliness, Hybrid cars are a clear winner over regular cars.
Most Hybrid cars average between 33 and 60 miles per gallon during city driving and between 27 and 68 miles per gallon in highway driving. These figures represent some of the best EPA figures known to the car industry. Averaged into these figures are Hybrid SUVs, but for the most part smaller, compact cars and sedans get a high number of miles per gallon compared to their counterpart gas-powered cousins.
Now, these figures are not always accurate, because some owners beat the system or are beaten by it due to driving conditions or habits. If a driver is consistently driving over the speed limit, fuel efficiency may not be what the owner expected. In addition, as will be discussed, depending on car design and conditions, the actual fuel efficiency can be compromised.
With the average gallon of gasoline costing $3, the obvious choice for a car buyer would be to purchase an automobile that gets the maximum number of miles per gallon. The Hybrid car and SUV has shown to be not only a winner at the pumps but also a winner environmentally. Clocking in at the average of $600-$700 a year for the average driver (compared to $2000 a year), the clear advantage leans toward the Hybrid owner.
Service and Maintenance Costs
Just like conventional gas-powered vehicles, regular maintenance is necessary. There is, however, cause to believe that the overall cost of maintaining your Hybrid may be equal to or less than maintaining a conventional car.
Currently, the maintenance costs, comparatively, for a Hybrid versus a conventional gas-powered vehicle are nominal. In fact, engine wear may turn out to be less for a Hybrid due to its ability to shut itself down during idling. This, in turn, will create less wear on the engine. This is especially favourable for city drivers. However, it remains true for drivers in any environment, city, suburb or country.
The other bonus feature a Hybrid has that a conventional gas-powered vehicle does not have is its braking system. In a Hybrid, when slowing to a stop, the electric motor slows the vehicle taking much of the strain off the braking system.
To sum up, engine use and brake use is less in a Hybrid as compared to a gas-only powered conventional car. These two factors weigh in on the maintenance list when comparison-shopping or simply when owning a Hybrid car or Hybrid SUV.
The one component to be most concerned with when owning a Hybrid is the life of the battery. Keeping in mind that the battery provides life to the electric motor, the battery is an essential piece of the puzzle and one third of the three main components of the power sources in a Hybrid vehicle. The battery is constantly drained and recharged by the electric motor. Although replacement of the battery is a necessary part of owning a Hybrid car or SUV, many manufacturers sell their vehicles with excellent warranty packages.
Most Hybrid cars or SUVs can cost between $3000 and $8000 more than their gas-powered only counterparts. However, when factoring in maintenance costs and lower fuel costs, the savings are eventually passed on to the consumer. Additionally, the government has stepped up and offered tax breaks to those who decide to go with the environmentally friendly Hybrid.
Tax breaks for Hybrid owners average in the region of $2000 to $3000.
The Benefits Outweigh the Costs
If one saves $2500 on a tax break and $1400 on gas each year, not to mention the savings on maintenance, the added dollar amount paid for a Hybrid car is balanced out. In the years that the Hybrid owner has the car, the savings continue to grow, based on fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs.