Every day, people are becoming more and more involved in finding ways to protect the resources on this planet. For millions of Americans, driving a hybrid car is paramount to being a responsible citizen of planet Earth. Hybrids are gaining more fans, more news coverage and even more popularity. That's one of the reasons why some 2011 hybrid models, like the Nissan LEAF, sold out before the car even made it to the showroom floor. In fact, it seems as though everywhere you look these days, someone is driving one. So what about you? Why haven't you bought a hybrid vehicle?
Sure you have many reasons why you're still on the sidelines about purchasing one. Maybe you think they cost too much. Or you're perfectly happy with the conventional car you already have. But there are even more reasons why you shouldn't wait to buy one. We'll arm you with the facts to motivate you to get in the game. Read on for five excuses people give for waiting to buy a hybrid car -- and why they won't work anymore.
We all know that everyone is talking about "going green" these days. This catchphrase is craftily woven into practically every subject matter from politics to religion to pop culture. In fact, finding ways to be good stewards of planet Earth is the new attitude to adopt-- no matter what part of the continent you live in. However, you can join the movement slowly. You don't have to feel pressured into jumping into the deep end with both feet. Driving a hybrid car is one little step that can make a big difference.
So, if you're waiting for an engraved invitation to take a ride on the green train, here it is: Buy a hybrid. The hybrid car is just one way you can do your part to combat the greenhouse effect. Hybrid cars are the signature crown jewels of the green movement because they produce less emission than traditional gasoline-powered cars, which in turn means less pollution in the air we all breathe. They also save drivers money on gas because they get more miles to the gallon [source: Consumer Reports]. For example, when you drive down to your local Toyota dealer, you'll find that a 2010 Toyota Camry 4-cylinder hybrid gets 34 miles (54 kilometers) to the gallon while the 4-cylinder conventional Camry that's sitting right next to it, gets 26 miles (41 kilometers) to the gallon. [source: U.S. Dept. of Energy]. Owning a hybrid car is one of the more demonstrative ways to show you care about your surroundings. People see you driving around in one, and they know you are making a small, but critical contribution towards preserving the environment.
You adore the car that's been with you through three break-ups (two with the same person) and the move to a new city. You're so in synch with "Betsy" that you feel like she's more human than automobile. Besides, you're a little concerned about the physical appearance of hybrid cars and SUVs that you see out on the roads. Some of them look funny or boxy to you, and honestly, they just don't fit in with your swagger.
We get all of that. But when it's time for you to retire your current ride, think about a hybrid. You can make beautiful new memories with one while getting the opportunity to be environmentally responsible at the same time. And for those who are worried they will have to substitute being chic for being environmentally responsible, there are hybrids that are stylish enough to turn people's heads when you hand over your keys to the parking attendant at the new steakhouse. The BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid, the Ford Fusion or the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid are three that come to mind. These hybrids and others are part of the newer models that manufacturers are showcasing to offer a more upscale look and feel for the discriminating hybrid driver. Beauty and brawn are now compatible.
Companies are perfecting hybrids and electric cars with each new model. But the image of being stranded on the side of the road because your electric car ran out of juice is ever-present. With the hype around the newer versions of hybrids like the 2011 Chevy Volt, you're definitely tempted. But driving a car around with a dual engine and a motor doesn't necessarily instill confidence. The thought of waiting on a tow company that proclaimed they were on their way two hours ago is enough to make you keep driving your gasoline-powered vehicle.
Don't be a worrywart on this issue. Getting stranded is unlikely to happen because the vehicle has an engine that operates on gasoline and a motor that operates on electricity. The vehicles are smart enough to know when to use what. For example, the Toyota Prius automatically decides how to use the engine and motor in the best way possible. It's dependent upon factors like traveling speed [source: Toyota]. Some of the alternative vehicles like the Nissan LEAF have a driving range of 100 miles (161 kilometers) before they need to be recharged. Other cars are better for shorter distances like the 2011 Chevy Volt which can run on electricity for up to 40 miles (64 kilometers). After that, its backup gas generator kicks in to power the car for another 300 miles (482 kilometers) [source: CBS News]. And many plug-in hybrids can be charged in household electrical outlets. So just think. You can plug in your hair dryer and your vehicle at the same location.
No one can dispute that our country's dependency on oil is increasing day by day. The U.S. Department of Energy says more than 70 percent of all oil consumed in this country is used for transportation purposes [source: The Tribune-Democrat]. With this many cars on the road, it's a no-brainer to think about selecting an alternative vehicle. Driving one does make a big difference. You can't imagine giving up your car because it has become a source of reliability, convenience and independence. With a hybrid, you don't have to.
Reducing our dependency on both foreign and domestic oil is a key factor to the sustainability of the planet we call home. Oil can't be reproduced, so once it's gone, it's gone. That's why it's a necessity -- and not a choice -- to reduce our consumption. One way to cut back on our oil dependency is to cut back on our demand for it. And one of the big ways to cut back on the demand for oil is to drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle. By driving a hybrid, you are making a substantial impact in reducing the number of trips you make to the gas station. An average Honda Civic Hybrid driver uses 344 gallons (1,302 liters) of gas a year, while an average conventional Honda Civic driver uses nearly 500 gallons (1,892 liters) [source: U.S. Dept of Energy]. One more person using less oil? Yes, you're making a difference.
Yea, okay. Let's really get into why a hybrid isn't sitting in your driveway yet. They cost too much. Aren't we supposed to be carefully monitoring every dollar we spend now in this economy? The cost issue is the number one reason why most drivers pass on purchasing a hybrid [source: J.D. Power]. The fact is, they do cost more than traditional vehicles. Drive down to your local Toyota dealer and you'll find that a 2010 Toyota Camry hybrid is as much as $6,000 higher than the conventional Camry sitting right next to it [source: Toyota].
But before you nod your head in agreement, remember this: You'll recoup your initial investment through incentives like rebates and overall long-term use. Hybrid owners who purchased their vehicles after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Dec. 31, 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit worth up to $3,400 [source: Fueleconomy.gov]. Even states understand the importance of enticing drivers to purchase a hybrid. For example, Georgia also offers an income tax credit for 10 percent of the cost to buy or lease a new hybrid [source: U.S. Dept. of Energy]. Additionally, those hybrids will prevent your credit card from getting a regular workout at the gas station. If you drive the Toyota Camry we talked about earlier for 15,000 miles (24,140 kilometers) a year with gas being $3.00 per gallon, over the course of five years, you'll spend $8,654. If you purchase that same model in a hybrid, you'll spend $6,818 in gas [source: U.S. Dept of Energy]. As you see, over the lifetime of your ownership, you'll feel the savings where it counts the most -- in your wallet.
Is an all-electric car a bad investment? Keep reading to learn about electric cars and if an all-electric car is a bad investment.
- Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. "Federal & State Incentives & Laws." (Nov. 17, 2010) http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/GA/5424
- Bloomberg Business Week. "Automobile Magazine Names Chevy Volt Top 2011 Car." (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JHGH1G0.htm
- BMW.com. (Nov. 15, 2010)http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/efficientdynamics/phase_1/5series_activehybrid_introduction.html
- Consumer Reports. "Best Fuel Economy for the Buck - What to Buy When You Need to Make Every Dollar Count." (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/cr-recommended/best-fuel-economy-for-the-buck/overview/best-fuel-economy-for-the-buck-ov.htm
- Ford Vehicles. "Ford Fusion." (Nov. 15, 2010)http://www.fordvehicles.com/cars/fusion/
- Hadhazy, Adam. "Will Past Be Prologue For the Electric Car?" CBSNews.com. Nov. 17, 2010. (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20023111-501465.html
- Howard, Brian Clark. "12 of the Most Effective Ways to Reduce Your Oil Consumption." The Dailygreen.com. (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/reduce-oil-consumption
- Hybridcars.com."Foreign Oil Dependence Rules." (Nov. 15, 2010)http://www.hybridcars.com/oil-dependence
- J.D. Power and Associates. "J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Future Global Market Demand for Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles May Be Over-Hyped; Wild Card is China." Oct. 20, 2010. (Nov. 6, 2010)http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/news/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2010213
- Lincoln.com. (Nov. 15, 2010) http://www.lincoln.com/cars/mkz/
- Toyota. "Toyota Model Selector." Toyota.com. (Nov. 10, 2010)http://www.toyota.com/modelselector/
- Toyota. "Why We Make Eco Cars." Toyota.com. (Nov. 6, 2010)http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/kids/eco/hybrid.html /
- U.S. Dept. of Energy. "Compare Side-By-Side." Fueleconomy.gov (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm
- U.S. Dept. of Energy. "Federal Tax Credits for Hybrids." Fueleconomy.gov. (Nov. 10, 2010)http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax_hybrid.shtml
- U.S. Dept. of Energy. "Reduce Oil Dependent Costs." Fueleconomy.gov. (Nov. 15, 2010)http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/oildep.shtml
- U.S. Dept. of Energy. "Save Money" Fueleconomy.gov. (Nov. 17, 2010)http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/savemoney.shtml
- Ward, Matthew and Lavine, Mary P. "Putting Our Appetite for Oil on a Strict Diet." TheTribuneDemocrat.com. Nov. 11, 2010. (Nov. 11, 2010)http://tribune-democrat.com/editorials/x967711272/Putting-our-appetite-for-oil-on-a-strict-diet