Hybrid—have you heard the term? People have been talking about hybrid cars on the radio and TV a lot lately. What are they? Hybrids are cars that run off both a battery and gasoline. Non-hybrid cars use only gasoline.
Why get a hybrid? What’s so great about them? Hybrid cars are good for the environment and good for the consumer. Hybrid batteries help to reduce fuel emissions because the hybrid engine can draw on the battery when accelerating. Depending on the type of hybrid car, the car can draw on both the battery and gasoline.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the single most polluting thing most of us do is drive a gasoline-powered car. Cars are the largest contributor to ground-level ozone, a major component of smog. In the U.S., 75% of carbon monoxide pollution is produced by motor vehicles, particularly in urban areas. Hybrid cars can reduce carbon monoxide pollution because they use less fuel than non-hybrid cars.
Hybrid cars are economical. They can get up to 43 to 57 miles per gallon in city driving. An SUV might travel 15 to 20 miles per gallon or use three times as much gas for the same distance!
How about all-electric cars? Would they be even better than hybrids? Hybrids are better than all-electric cars because hybrid car batteries recharge as you drive. There is no need to plug them in. Also, most electric cars can go faster than hybrids but not for long periods of time.
Hybrid cars sound great, but what if you can’t afford one? If you’re not driving a hybrid, how you drive and how well you maintain your vehicle can help both the earth and your wallet. Here are two great tips for reducing emissions from your car and increasing fuel economy:
1. Obey the speed limit—Your fuel economy is lowered by about 10 percent when you drive 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour. Driving over the speed limit can also increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles.
2. Unload—Even 100 pounds of extra weight in your car can reduce fuel economy by one percent. Take a minute to unload your trunk or back seat.