The debate over climate change and how much humans actually have to do with it hasn't slowed down much. But it's definitely worth noting the impact conventional vehicles have on the Earth and how hybrid technology has the potential to lessen that impact. Burning fossil fuels, like the gasoline burned in an internal combustion engine, releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, where they collect and warm the planet. As the global climate changes, significant consequences can arise, including elevated temperatures, rising sea levels, freshwater scarcity and crop failures.
Hybrid cars are just one of the many ways that we can begin to reduce CO2 emissions. While the average gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the United States went from 23.1 miles per gallon (9.8 kilometers per liter) in 1980 to 24.7 miles per gallon (10.5 kilometers per liter) in 2004, current hybrids typically offer between 40 and 50 miles per gallon (17 and 21.3 kilometers per liter), practically twice the national average [source: Carr].