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Hybrid Myths and Facts

"As far as I can tell, the 'hybrids ain't so great' rumors are patently untrue," says Umbra at Grist.  With Cher making headlines by proclaiming that hybrids are BS, I wanted to share some information that I found before buying my hybrid, as well as some newer research and information.  It's time to debunk the hybrid myths.

Myth #1:  Hybrids are overall worse for the environment than Hummers.

This bit of "bad science" was circulating around and some anti-environmentalists are still clinging to it.  In 2007, the Pacific Institute issued a paper debunking this myth.  Read the PDF here.

Myth #2:  The manufacturing process for hybrids is so environmentally unfriendly that it cancels out the gas you're saving.

Research from the Argonne National Laboratory and the Rocky Mountain Institute has proven that the fuel savings you get in a hybrid MORE than make up for the eco-unfriendliness of the manufacturing process.  

Myth #3:  You have to be wealthy to buy a hybrid.  

A brand new Toyota Prius starts at $22,800, just about $3,000 more than a non-hybrid Camry.   The Honda Civic hybrid is similarly priced.  These aren't expensive cars.   The wealthy can get a BMW ActiveHybrid for over $100,000.  (Yikes!)

Myth #4:  Hybrids are all kind of funny looking, like the Prius.  

The Prius DOES have a unique look to it, and if you're not into that, you can go for a Hybrid Camry or Honda Civic hybrid, which look like their non-hybrid siblings.

Myth #5:  Hybrid batteries are bad for the environment.

Hybrid batteries are recyclable.  (Thanks, Treehugger, for this info.)  Also:  the Prius itself is mostly recyclable once the car ultimately bites the dust.  (Not sure if this is true for other hybrids...if anyone has this info, please comment below!)

Myth #6:  Hybrids are a fad and it will go away.

Maybe one day there will be readily available cars more efficient than the hybrid (I hope!!!), but I think hybrids are here to stay for the time being.  

Myth #7:  Hybrids are slow.

PC Mag says:  "Most hybrids are a tick faster than the same cars without hybrid electric motors."

Myth #8:  Hybrids aren't THAT efficient.

Check out FuelEconomy.gov.  You can compare different hybrid models and look up non-hybrid models as well.    For instance, I learned that my previous car, a similarly-sized trusty 1997 Toyota Corolla, got 22 MPG in the city, versus my 2008 Prius which gets 48 MPG in the city.  (They get 27 MPG and 45 MPG on the highway, respectively)  

Do I think that hybrids are the answer to the world's energy problems?  No.  We have a looooong way to go.  But the research is obvious:  hybrids aren't BS.  They save more energy than non-hybrids.  There's a lot of misinformation floating out there about hybrids, but hopefully with time people will learn that hybrids do help.