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There is no denying that there has been a shift in consciousness regarding leaving our carbon footprint on Mother Earth. This is most apparent in the automotive industry, hybrids and electric cars are being mass produced because there is a demand for them, it is as simple as that. So, let’s talk about hybrids. What are the benefits? Well, first and foremost, yes the environment and secondly your wallet. Win win. Some may say that you have to give up performance in order to get in good with mother nature. Myth? Well, that depends on the type of hybrid you want. If you want the top of the line then you will indeed not have to sacrifice horse power but will sacrifice their efficiency. When the first hybrids came out you got a great deal when it came to going to the pump and great gas mileage but now, you either get one or the other.
So who buys hybrids? Well, as most trendsetters will tell you, it starts at the top which is why most of it comes from the A-listers of Hollywood. Actors such as Cameron Diaz have been seen rocking the hybrid. Taking care of the environment is not only necessary but very cool.
There are also those who say that hybrids, let’s say the Toyota Prius for example are not all they are cracked up to be. When it comes to the carbon footprint that this car leaves it begs to reason that this refers to the car as a whole. It is common belief that when a car is considered to be environmentally friendly it is from the point you purchase it forward. This however is not the case, it has been discovered that the Prius for example requires a lot more energy to construct the parts needed to make it an environmentally friendly. This car model has nickel- metal hydride batteries and it consumes so much energy to produce that the carbon footprint it leaves is substantial even before you own it. The manufacturing phase of these hybrids is not something that most people take into consideration but it is an important fact to consider. Now lets consider what more upscale hybrids offer and if the environmental impact and the impact to your wallet are worth the investment.
Confusing? Yes it is, because some cars that tend to be higher end give you great performance but their MPG is not impressive to say the least. Most hybrids on the market do just fine, but here we focus on the ones that are surprisingly non- green. According to most reports it is close to 80% of Americans who’s main concern is gas mileage, let see if these numbers are worth the hefty investment.
Hybrid cars cost more, compared to a similar model that might come in hybrid or regular manufacturing models. Most of these cars especially the higher end models in theory offer some of the advantages of a hybrid at a glance until you start to analyze the actual data. There are also some cars that are considerably cheaper with slightly lower MPG but then again at what point does it become cost efficient to pay less and receive a slightly lower MPG over time?
Hybrid cars weigh more than regular vehicles. How does this affect you in a practical manner? It means that if you are interested in performance then this here is a big red flag. Also, lets talk about battery packs and what happens when they need to be replaced? Well the truth is the first hybrids came out in the 1990’s and even though they have amazing warranties, sometimes even going so far as to extend past most common car warranties there is not enough empirical data to say with certainty just how long they will last.
Considering that the winters here in Houston are more mild then lets say Siberia, this reason is important to note regarding battery efficiency in cold weather. Batteries discharge much faster in the colder weather, why? Because when it is cold you need the heat on in the car to be comfortable and therefore it will effect your cars efficiency and fuel mileage.
The last reason for which hybrids may be more of a complication than a relief is because the recharging systems in public areas are not at full functionality. This is specifically for PHEVs or Plug in electric vehicles. Some bigger cities have them, but smaller towns do not and what do you do then? You have a car that is totally unpractical.
What is most important when considering buying a hybrid car is to do your research. You need to put into perspective what you gain for what you are paying for. If there are less and less advantages for the amount of money you will be investing in your car, then maybe it is not the best investment you can make in the moment, a hybrid might not be for you.