Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hybrid Cars do the Figures Add Up

By: lar

Hybrid cars are the new environmentally aware way to drive. They are very fashionable among the young professional classes at the moment, and a great way of displaying your green credentials to the world.

Although the ecological advantage may be the main factor in your wish to buy a hybrid car the cost implications are important and it is worth having a look at the main points and how the costs ad up.

Until now, many that might otherwise have purchased a hybrid car have been unsure as to the cost benefits of this new breed of automobile. While the environmental advantages have always been clear, the cost advantages have not. The average hybrid cars can produce anything between 20-90 pre cent less emissions than its gas guzzling counterpart. The 90 per cent being achieved while primarily using the electric motor at low speeds around town. There has always been an uncertain cost analysis as to whether buying a hybrid car saved you money in the long run, or actually added to your motoring costs.

Hybrid cars have always maintained a price premium compared to their more conventional counterparts due to the cost of the extra, and much more complicated technology involved. This is not only due to the separate electric motor that is needed to power the car but also to the need for seamless integration of the two power sources when switching from one to the other.

And also there aware other expensive features in hybrid cars such as weight reduction, generating capacity to top up the batteries and regenerative braking that all add to the higher cost of hybrid cars. This is used when the car is braking, instead of the brakes being applied to slow the car the electric motor is engaged without power and so runs backwards. The drag from this assists the braking motion and at the same time generates electricity for the batteries. This effectively saves power that would otherwise be lost

All of these systems on hybrid cars are expensive to produce and thus the cost of a hybrid cars is usually well above that of a similar, traditionally powered model. The argument over this has always been that you recoup these initial outlays in the lower running costs. This became an especially valid argument after the recent, dramatic rises in fuel costs, a trend that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

But does it all ads up? Is the fuel cost saving with hybrid cars enough to offset the original cost outlay? Or is running a hybrid car just an expensive way of helping the environment while leaving you poorer, despite the considerable saving in fuel costs? .

Well the long and the short of it is that it depends on the sort of driving you do. If you are doing no more than 10,000 miles a year and intend on keeping your hybrid cars for an average of five years then it is unlikely that you would accrue enough savings at the fuel pump to off set the original higher cost of owning a hybrid car. If however you are a higher mileage driver covering 30-50 000 miles a year then the fuel efficiency factor turns it into a whole different ball game.

If you regularly cover these sorts of mileages and are not too heavy with the gas then you could rack up substantial savings with a hybrid car. Under these circumstances the economics make much more sense and real savings can be made especially if the car is kept for a long for several years. The saving grace for the hybrid car as far as costs are the federal tax breaks that are now being applied, and these may help to push you towards a decision that hybrid car can indeed be a viable cost effective alternative to conventional motoring.

Although cost is not always the main reason behind the decision to buy a hybrid car it is still worth taking a little while to consider the cost advantages or otherwise. The cost of motoring is a substantial part of the equation in any household budget and not one that can readily be ignored. But if the type of motoring you do fits then there are considerable advantages over a traditionally powered car. With the price hikes at the gas pump set to continue this may be a much easier and much more straightforward calculation to make in the future.

Article Source:

Larry Westfall is the owner of
Article Submission done by:
Courtesy of:Asian_daily