When gas prices start to climb, so do hybrid vehicle sales. Popular opinion says that the gas money saved over time will offset the price of an expensive hybrid car, but is this true? And how else do hybrids stack up against traditional gasoline-powered vehicles?
Gas Powered Vehicles Compared to Hybrid Vehicles:
Cost. If you’re buying a hybrid vehicle to save money on gas, you won’t see a return for a while. Hybrids cost around $3,000 to $6,000 more than a comparable gas-powered vehicle. This is mostly because of construction costs. Hybrids contain a large, expensive lithium ion battery that powers the vehicle at low speeds. This battery, in addition to an electric motor system, adds to the price of hybrid vehicles.
Gas Mileage. According to manufacturer reports, hybrid vehicles are 20-35 percent more efficient than comparable gas-powered cars. The gas money you save over time will depend on your driving habits. Hybrid vehicles are most efficient at low speeds (under 40 miles per hour) and short distances, so they may be better suited to an urban commuter than an avid road tripper.
Safety. Vehicle safety tests show that hybrids score just as well as similar gas-powered vehicles. Reports have surfaced about hybrid mechanical failures but, excluding those isolated incidents, hybrid vehicles are easy to maneuver and just as safe as traditional cars.
Longevity. The life of your vehicle depends on a number of factors, including maintenance frequency and the quality of the car. Hybrids may require additional servicing because they include parts not found in traditional gas-powered vehicles. For example, the lithium ion battery that powers a hybrid’s electric motor can degrade over time, just like a laptop or mobile phone battery. However, manufacturers estimate that hybrid vehicle batteries should last about 15 years under normal driving conditions (approximately 12,000 miles per year). It’s difficult to guess how expensive a replacement battery will be 15 years from now, but as technology improves, the price should gradually decrease.
Maintenance. Since hybrid vehicles are more technologically complicated than traditional gas-powered vehicles, maintenance costs may be higher. Before you buy a hybrid, look for certified mechanics in your area. Because mechanics that service hybrid vehicles are less common, you may end up taking the car to a dealership for repairs, which is usually more expensive than using a typical garage.
Do you have a hybrid vehicle? I’d love to hear about your experience with your hybrid! What is your favorite and least favorite part about hybrid vehicles?