Pros and Cons of Buying a Hybrid Car
Should you get a hybrid or all-electric model this time?
Any large purchase like a vehicle requires some research. What are the pros and cons of buying hybrid instead of traditional fuel? Will you earn some of your purchase back in gas savings? Or will maintenance be more expensive?
Even if you feel a hybrid car isn’t for you and your lifestyle, you might be surprised to learn about the advantages.
What are The Types of Hybrid Cars?When shopping around for fuel-efficient cars, you will come across a few different options.
The most common hybrids use the power of a gas engine and an electric motor to drive the car. Depending on where you’re driving, a city center for instance, the electric motor may be doing more work. If you’re driving through a series of steep hills, however, the gas engine takes over to power the vehicle.
Other hybrid options have smaller gas engines and stronger electric motors, allowing them to run for longer periods on battery alone. Some models with this design recharge with power from the gas engine and energy from braking.
You’ve likely seen electric charging stations in your city’s parking garages or lots. Plug-in hybrids rely more heavily on their electric motor for propulsion, and owners must charge them via a cable, similar to an all-electric vehicle. If the battery runs low, the gas engine is there to take over.
As more people seek out earth-friendly ways of getting around, hybrid cars now range from hatchbacks to luxury sedans to minivans with enough juice to power entertainment for children in the backseat.
Pros of Buying HybridAs you may have guessed, fuel efficiency is the name of the game in hybrid cars. Depending on the length of your commute, stopping at the gas pump less often will create more room in your monthly budget. When evaluating hybrid vs. non-hybrid models of the same cars, the comparison tool at FuelEconomy.gov estimates a yearly fuel cost savings of approximately $400 to $800.
If you choose a full hybrid versus an all-electric vehicle, you won’t have to worry about finding a charging station when your battery is low. You can simply switch over to traditional fuel and keep on driving. If you travel to more rural areas, you may find this as an advantage.
Eco-friendly vehicles that plug in to charge have come a long way since they were first developed. As they become more in demand, manufacturers are making them more efficient, creating more public charging stations, and extending the range of all-electric vehicles up to 370 miles.
Hybrids also cut your vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions, making your grocery store run gentler on the environment. According to the EPA1, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, in addition to other pollutants like methane and nitrous oxide.
Hybrids often come with extended warranties for their batteries. Some manufacturers offer a warranty as much as 150,000 miles, so you won’t have to budget for the expense of a new battery for quite some time.
When it comes time to trade in your hybrid for a newer model, you can expect to receive a higher resale value. Buyers who want to try out a hybrid to see if it’s right for them may be willing to pay more for your older model, especially if you have a hybrid version of an already popular vehicle.
Tax season is another time to reap the benefits of buying a hybrid car.2 The federal Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit offers car owners a tax break ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the capacity of the hybrid car’s battery. You can also check with your car insurance provider to see if they offer rate discounts for hybrids.
Cons of Buying HybridYou know you will save money each month on fuel costs, but a hybrid car may have a higher sticker price when you first purchase. Higher price often come from a more complex power unit and less demand compared to gas engines. Try our car loan calculator if you’re unsure about your budget. Hybrid-specific maintenance may also be more costly.
You can expect the same price for things like oil changes and tires, but work done on the electric motor or battery will likely cost more. You may also struggle to find a mechanic with the knowledge to work on a hybrid. You may have noticed hybrids don’t make as much noise as traditional models. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration set minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles to reduce the risk of pedestrian crashes, especially for the blind and visually impaired, and manufacturers were required to add noisemaking devices. This might be a consideration if you drive where there is high pedestrian traffic.
Hybrids don’t handle as well as traditional models. Since they have more machinery, namely the electric motor and batteries, some manufacturers countered this additional weight with reduced support in the suspension and body. You may be able to get used to driving a hybrid or the poorer handling could be too much of a difference.
The bottom line: take a good look at your lifestyle and expectations for a car first. A hybrid may fit your budget and commute, or you may need to wait until your next car upgrade to try it out.
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- Consult a tax professional for specific details on tax deductions.