What to Consider Before Buying a Hybrid Car

When it comes time to find a new car, there are plenty of choices to make. Do you ever start the thought process by deciding how you want your car to be powered?

If you’re considering the switch to a hybrid vehicle, we have a few ideas to help guide your thought process. These vehicles are not for everyone, but we think it’s worth exploring all available options to find a good fit. Read on for our suggested considerations before buying a hybrid.

The Environment

A hybrid might be a good choice if you want to lessen the negative impact your driving has on the environment. Being able to make use of cleaner energy sources such as electricity can lower the amount of harmful emissions your vehicle creates. Reducing your fuel consumption is a move in the direction of reducing our collective fuel dependency. And if we’re able to lower our fuel dependency, we might eventually see the cost of gasoline go down.

If you’re considering both a hybrid vehicle and an electric vehicle, remember that hybrids can allow flexibility in fuel sources. In other words, you can fill up on gas if there are no charging stations nearby.

Efficiency

In addition the fact that hybrids do not rely solely on conventional fuel sources, they are also widely known for efficiency. Because the gasoline engine is only one source of energy for the car, hybrid engines tend to be smaller, lighter, and more efficient compared to your average car engine. On a similar note, hybrids tend to be composed of lightweight materials and this adds to the vehicle’s efficiency.

Many hybrid vehicles are designed to allow regenerative braking as well. This means that any energy produced when braking can be funneled into the battery to help fuel the rest of the vehicle. Bonus: this process can also extend the life of your brakes. Although braking alone will not produce a huge amount of available charge, regenerative braking is a good example of how hybrids are designed to reduce gas consumption and run efficiently.

Cost

The upfront cost is probably one of biggest reasons a person might decide against purchasing a hybrid. These vehicles tend to have a higher sticker price than their conventional counterparts. And although your annual fuel costs are expected to be lower with a hybrid, this might not justify the purchase for some folks. If an economy price is one of your priorities, you might want to consider a cheaper conventional vehicle with great fuel economy, or even a purely electric vehicle.

If lightening your load on the environment and saving at the fuel pump is a priority, then the upfront cost might be worth the price. And you might even be able to get a tax break in return. The federal government and some states have incentive programs to help off-set the overall costs of buying and owning a hybrid. If you own a hybrid with plug in technology, you’re most likely eligible for a federal tax credit. And you might want to check with your state to see if you’re eligible for a rebate on the purchase of your hybrid vehicle.

Depending on how you drive and care for your vehicle, cost of routine maintenance and minor repairs are usually in the same range for both hybrids and conventional cars. These costs can vary from vehicle to vehicle, too. Before buying a new hybrid, it might also be a good idea to make sure you have a dealership or reliable maintenance personnel that can work on your hybrid close to home. Not every dealership or service center is equipped to service a hybrid.

When it comes time to part ways with your hybrid, know that these vehicles tend to have a higher resale value when compared to conventional vehicles. This is because the used hybrid market is relatively small, so vehicles are often times in high demand.

Performance

One of the best ways to learn more about the performance of hybrids is to go out for a test drive. If you live for the vroom-vroom of your engine, a hybrid might leave you disappointed. Hybrids tend to be eerily quiet and provide a completely different driving experience than a conventional vehicle.

You might find that you love how easy they are to drive. Or, you might be disappointed by a design that favors economy over speed. Hybrids tend to have a different feel of acceleration when compared to a gas-powered vehicle. And, the battery placement is slightly different which could affect weight distribution and ultimately vehicle handling in certain driving conditions. Again, we recommend getting behind the wheel so you can make an assessment of performance for yourself!

From your experience, what other considerations would you recommend before buying hybrid? We want to hear your tips in the comments below.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Rob

    Because hybrid technologies are different, ensure the one used in the car you buy actually matches drIving needs. E.g., running only the electric motor when under 25 MPH doesn’t help you if you don’t drive much in city traffic.

  2. 3
    Tom

    I was anti-hybrid. Was. I drive roughly 1000 miles per week and was driving a Mercedes S500. My fuel costs alone were staggering heading into the $200 and more per week range not to mention the expense of keeping a Mercedes road ready. I bought a Toyota Prius C that was two years old with 21,000 miles. My fuel costs are averaging $25-30 week and the up keep of the vehicle is extremely reasonable.

    I realize the “C” is for city driving, but I still average around 52 MPG on the interstate. (59 MPG in the city)

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