Hybrid Vehicles: Are They Worth Their Price Tag?

America is trying to go green and more and more people have opted to buy a hybrid vehicle, but not everyone is convinced that they are worth the extra money.
Hybrid Vehicles: Are They Worth Their Price Tag?

If you’re in the market for a new car chances are the discussion of choosing between buying a conventional vehicle and buying a hybrid has come up. There has been a big debate on whether or not a hybrid car is worth the price tag attached to its windshield. In general, these environmentally friendly vehicles come with a price tag that is about 10%-20% higher than their gas-powered counterparts. That is a hefty hit to take on your wallet, or bank account, but when you factor in all the advantages of driving a hybrid vehicle it could be well worth the hit.

What is a Hybrid?

We have all heard the term “hybrid vehicle” before, and it’s common knowledge that these are better for the environment, but do you really know what a hybrid is? They combine the best aspects of two different technologies – electric motors and gasoline motors.

Gasoline Motors
These motors are more powerful and are capable of running for longer distances, but until gas prices drop, they can be extremely expensive and not cost-efficient.
Electric Motors
Electric motors are more cost-efficient than gasoline motors for powering your vehicle. The down side is that they rely on batteries just like your cell phone does, this means that they won’t run on one charge forever. These batteries need to be recharged frequently, which is done by the gasoline powered engine they are paired with. Standard hybrid vehicles will only run on their electric motors for a few minutes at a time during normal driving conditions. The electric motor will power your vehicle when coasting, going downhill, or staying at the same speed for a long period of time. When the electric motor is not running, the gasoline engine is powering the vehicle and usually is recharging the battery. This means that with a normal hybrid, you can drive the normal amount of miles you would with a conventional gas tank. Add to this the added extra energy stored in the batteries for the electric motor and this gives you additional range and better MPG compared to a gasoline only vehicle.

Are Hybrids Really a Money Saver?

The most popular question when it comes to buying a hybrid is whether or not they really save as much money as they advertise, and you will hear arguments for both sides. Some people say hybrid cars are a waste of money because they didn’t see any significant fuel savings, while others say they have saved hundreds over one year. Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple yes or no. The savings you will experience are determined by a number of factors:

  • Your current fuel costs with your conventional vehicle
  • Which hybrid model you choose
  • How you drive

There are many different kinds of green vehicles you can choose from, like a plug-in hybrid, an all electric car, as well as a regular hybrid vehicle, with each offering different benefits and statistics about fuel-cost savings. The biggest factor, however, on how much money you will save, is how you drive the car. If you live in a congested city and you’re constantly sitting in stop-and-go traffic, you could experience a high amount of savings with an electric or hybrid vehicle, due to not using gasoline. The same goes for drivers who drive aggressively, such as “putting the pedal to the metal” and accelerating your vehicle with a high level of RPMs. This type of driving uses more gas and lets out harmful GHG emissions, which would make a hybrid more cost and environmentally friendly.

Hybrids May Offer Tax Incentives

When hybrid cars came onto the market nearly a decade ago, the government was offering tax incentives up to $3,400 to consumers buying a hybrid model. Unfortunately, these incentives stopped after December 31, 2010 after manufacturers were selling upwards of 60,000 hybrid vehicles a year. Now that the plug-in hybrids have been introduced the government is again offering tax incentives of up to $7,500. This sounds amazing, right? Keep in mind that while you’re getting a big tax incentive, you’re also paying a higher price for the vehicle itself. It may not be as sweet of a deal as you think.

What’s the Plug-In Hybrid Hype About?

Buying a car that you have to plug-in seems a little crazy, but they can be a really good option and save you a lot of money if you don’t drive long distances. These hybrids work differently than a normal “green” hybrid car. In both cases, the electric motors are paired with a gasoline motor, but unlike a normal hybrid, a plug-in only uses its gas-powered engine when the batteries run out of a charge. The average distance you can drive in a plug-in without using any gas is about 40 miles. If you work close to home, you could drive to and from work without using any gas and plug it in to charge every night at your house. You could make it a whole work week without using gasoline. It’s harder to calculate the savings you will experience with this type of hybrid because you will need to factor in the amount of electricity you use to charge the vehicle.

As We See It

It’s no secret that a hybrid vehicle, plug-in or not, is better for the environment than a conventional automobile, but as far as cost savings go, it’s really a matter of how you personally drive, and the conditions that you drive in. Some people swear by the savings they have experienced, while others say they aren’t worth the price tag.

If you’re in the market for a new car, Auto Credit Express can help you. We have helped millions of consumers – even those looking for bad credit auto financing – find a dealership in their town to help them get approved. Our network of dealers can help you decide on whether a hybrid car is worth the extra cost for your personal situation. Start today by filling out our online car loan application.

Posted on October 23, 2013 by in New Cars
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