If buying a hybrid car is in your future, be sure to gather as much information as you can – especially about hybrid cars pros and cons. Since there are trade-offs withhybrid cars versus their gasoline-powered counterparts, you really need to weigh and balance several factors before plunking down your money.

Before considering hybrid cars pros and cons, it’s important to recognize that there are two types:

Series – The series hybrid uses a gasoline engine to charge batteries for the electric motor or to run a generator that powers the electric motor.

Parallel – The parallel hybrid uses both gasoline and electric motor together to run the vehicle.

Pros for Hybrid Cars

There’s no question that hybrid cars offer some benefits for consumers. Here are some of the most common:

  • Uses less gas – Depending on driving conditions and mode, consumers can save anywhere from 15 to 70 percent or more in gasoline consumption with hybrid cars.
  • Run cleaner and reduce emissions – Hybrid cars produce about 80 percent fewer emissions than their gasoline counterparts. That means less greenhouse gases and other pollutants released into the atmosphere.
  • Save money on gas – The less gas consumers need to purchase with hybrid cars, the more they save on gasoline costs.
  • Reduce dependence on foreign oil – The more consumers gravitate toward hybrid cars, the less America will be dependent on foreign oil.
  • Plug-in hybrids can be recharged at home – Some of the newer plug-in hybrid cars can be recharged at home using a 120-volt household outlet.
  • Regenerative braking – In hybrid cars with this feature, the power gained from braking helps power the electric motor.
  • 8 to 10 year warranties – Depending on the vehicle and automaker, some hybrid cars offer extended warranties for the hybrid systems – generally between 8 and 10 years.
  • Potential tax deductions/credits – Again, depending on the vehicle and automaker (whether or not the automaker has exceeded its allocation), consumers purchasing hybrid cars may qualify for federal and state tax deductions or credits.
  • Possible HOV lane priviledges – In some states, buyers of hybrid cars can get stickers allowing them to drive in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Cons for Hybrid Cars

Of course, there are some negatives associated with the purchase of hybrid cars, including:

  • Cost more upfront – Hybrid cars typically cost several thousand dollars more to buy compared to their gasoline counterparts.
  • Takes longer to recoup costs – It may take years for consumers to recoup the additional cost of hybrid cars through their savings on gasoline.
  • Battery replacement issues – Although manufacturers of hybrid cars are offering lengthy hybrid system warranties, eventually those batteries and systems will need to be replaced. Availability and cost are issues to contend with over the long-term.
  • Driving affects fuel efficiency – Consumers who buy hybrid cars may not achieve EPA-estimated fuel economy. The amount of gas consumed depends on driving characteristics, modes, and driving conditions.
  • Mostly highway driving nets less fuel efficiency – If most of consumers’ driving is highway, they won’t achieve maximum fuel efficiency from purchasing a hybrid. It may be better to consider the purchase of a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder vehicle powered by gasoline than a hybrid car in this instance.

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