Are Hybrids Really More Efficient?
The Toyota Prius was initially released in Australia in 2001, and rising fuel costs over the past decade have led to a growth in the market demand for electric cars. Today's consumers can now choose from options like the Nissan Leaf and Honda Jazz hybrid, with an even greater range available outside Australia. Motorists can choose from fully electric, hybrid, plug-in, and super fuel economy cars in a bid to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions. However, do the savings really justify the high sticker price of hybrids? For those interested in saving both emissions and money at the pump, do the numbers add up, it’s time to really do your research on motoring sites.
One of the primary reasons why consumers are interested in hybrid vehicles is to reduce their impact on the environment. On a basic level, hybrids are green-friendly because they significantly reduce carbon emissions in comparison to conventionally powered cars. The reduction in hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide can be as high as 90% with the most efficient models. Hybrids also reduce greenhouse gasses by at least 25% in most cases. When reading car reviews, this is one area to look closely at to choose the most efficient hybrid or electric vehicle.
Strides are consistently being made in engine technology, allowing today's hybrids to become increasingly efficient on an environmental level. Although energy is used in the production of these cars; particularly the lithium ion batteries that help fuel them, it's hoped that in the future the environmental benefits will cancel out the initial expenditure of fuel in production.
Perhaps the first generation of hybrid owners were purely interested in a more environmentally-friendly vehicle. Their high price tag and lack of conventional amenities made them hard to justify under any other circumstances. However, today's consumers are turning to hybrids as a reaction to rising petrol costs. Although hybrid vehicles carry a higher sticker price, consumers hope to balance this out by paying less on fuel over time. With the state of today's technology, it could take many drivers a decade or more to break even in many cases, according to data compiled by TrueCar.com.
At the moment, the most efficient and cost-effective models are the Toyota Prius and Lincoln MKZ. However, other models available in Australia and abroad cost so much up front that the savings at the pump don't justify this initial cost. On a purely economic level, it can take several years to pay off this investment.
For hybrid vehicles to prove more efficient both in terms of environmental and economic cost, either the price tag will need to fall or the cost of fuel will need to rise. When you look at current trends, it seems like both of these scenarios are likely in the next few years. Fuel prices show no signs of falling any time soon, and with increased consumer demand for hybrid technology, it's likely that prices will lower to meet the mass market. This is good news for those who want hybrid car technology to succeed, and it's likely that in the next ten years almost all new cars will include some hybrid components.