Hybrid Cars: The Long and Short

In it human nature to reject the unfamiliar, as a rule.  We don’t always do well, in the country, with change as it represents the unknown for us.  Things in the United States take a little bit of time before people start catching on to them, and technology is one of these instances.  In a world that has become increasingly environmentally friendly, the green movement has taken quite a bit to gain popularity.  Even a task as simple as recycling is not commonplace in every household in America, where some states offer pickup of recycling, and others still do not.  For the perfect example of this change-based fear, take a look at the hybrid movement.

Toyota has been producing the Prius in the U.S. since 1999, and has been met with somewhat lackluster sales, until more recent years.  Most Americans shied away from purchasing a hybrid vehicle during their maiden voyage because we were all so sure that there had to be a catch as to why the vehicle could get such outstanding gas mileage without massive expense.  Even from an uber-popular automaker like Toyota, people were skeptical about hopping aboard the Prius’ initial inception.

However, in recent years, the hybrid movement is catching on.  More and more households are opting for better gas mileage and increased environmental friendliness.  By 2014, there were over three and a half million hybrid vehicles sold in the United States, with Toyota and Lexus making up over half of that number.  The U.S. was second in sales, only to Japan, who barely edged us out with four million hybrid electric vehicles sold.  It may have taken some time, but it seems as though the hybrid movement may be picking up steam as we progress in our green efforts.

So what do you need to look for when checking out a hybrid car?  As with any car-buying experience there are tips and tricks to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your vehicle.  Typically, purchasing a new car, in general, can be a somewhat overwhelming task to negotiate.  When you add in the difference in technology, engines, and gas efficiency, getting yourself into a hybrid can leave the most patient of shoppers befuddled.  Don’t let the process overwhelm you, and go in to the dealership equipped with the knowledge you need to make the process a pleasurable experience.

  1. The battery – The battery is much different in a hybrid vehicle than in a traditional gas powered vehicle.  They’re not toxic to the environment when disposed of, they charge when the brakes are applied, and they last much longer.
  2. Gas – Yes, most hybrid vehicles still use gas.  There are models that you can plug into a power outlet and will only allow a certain amount of electric traveling time, but most hybrid electric vehicles do not require plugs, and will be running on gasoline.
  3. Simplicity – They’re different vehicles, but when it comes to the actual operation of a hybrid, they’re super simple.  They drive quietly and efficiently, maxing out on mileage and getting you to your destination safely.
  4. They’re Not Slow – Many people believe that a hybrid vehicle automatically means a slow vehicle, but they’ve been shown to perform quite well in terms of speed and power.  While they’re not topping the charts with speeds in excess of 150mph, they’re fast enough to get you from A to B.
  5. They’re Pricier – Going green with your car is going to cost you a little bit more green than a standard vehicle.  Due to the technology being far different from a traditional car, there is an increased price tag attached to a hybrid vehicle.  Many owners would probably say that the difference in price was well worth what they’ve gotten out of their cars.

While this certainly isn’t everything you would need to know before purchasing a hybrid vehicle, this is the long and short of it.  It will leave you well-enough informed to avoid being taken across by pushy salespeople, but still leave some wiggle room for the dealership employees to show you their knowledge as well.  The hybrid movement is no longer a fearful experience.

As always, there are frontrunners in the field of hybrid vehicles, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the Prius.  While Toyota and Honda certainly have shown up as the frontrunners in the hybrid production, other automakers have emerged with some showstoppers as well.  Makers like Volkswagen are offering hybrid versions of their top selling Jetta with gas mileage number topping the charts in the low to mid-forties.  In addition, auto-giant, Ford has made some serious advances with their vehicles, and offers hybrid versions of many different models, most of which boast a gas mileage around 40mpg. 

When approaching new things, it’s okay to be cautious, as it is how we avoid being hurt or swindled.  However, it’s safe to say that the hybrid movement is here to stay, and we might as well hop on board.  There is little that we enjoy more than saving money and preserving the Earth, so why do it all at one time and join the millions of owners luxuriating in low fuel costs and sporty little cars?  It’s time to go hybrid.

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