Thinking of buying a hybrid vehicle? Here are some facts to help you make the right decision
Fans of hybrid vehicles will often tout envious amounts of fuel economy and “being green” as reasons for driving a car like the Toyota Prius. The naysayers, on the other hand, might be quick to bring up the feared “failed battery.”
At CARS of America, we want you to be fully informed. If you’re considering buying a hybrid, here’s a more comprehensive of list of advantages and disadvantages:
The Advantages of Hybrids
- Hybrids thrive in stop-and-go traffic. The gas mileage on hybrid vehicles is better around town or sitting in a traffic jam than it is cruising on the open highway. And one thing we have no shortage of in Evanston and Glenview is stop-and-go driving conditions.
- The cost of the battery. You’ll notice we include this among our “pros” and our “cons.” That’s because replacing the battery has long been the downside to buying a hybrid— that looming knowledge that someday your battery is going to die and cost thousands of dollars to replace. The good news now is: At CARS of America, we can recondition your battery at a fraction of the cost. And rebuilding the battery is far greener than discarding the original battery and replacing it with a new one. That’s a win-win.
- HOV here we come. In several states, hybrids and ultra low-emission vehicles are allowed in HOV lanes, even if the driver is the only one in the car.
- Fewer trips to the gas station. We all know you save money with your increased mpgs. But a side benefit to that? Fewer trips to the pump. That saves time and, sometimes, aggravation. Just think of busy holiday weekends, such as Thanksgiving. You’ll be able to wave to all the motorists waiting in line as you cruise by with the gas needle solidly above “E.”
- Less dependence on oil. We know there are some folks who debate the “green”-ness of a hybrid because of the big battery that powers it. But the more hybrids we drive, the less we rely on fossil fuels. This can lower gas prices for all of us, and we believe it’s a good thing to have more than one option for anything, such as how we power our vehicles.
- Higher resale values. As hybrids become more mainstream and more desirable, they also command higher resale values. So this may be a way for you to recoup some dollars from #4 on the “cons” list.
- Car insurance discounts and tax incentives. Looking for other ways to recoup some of those dollars from #4? Check with your car insurance company and your tax accountant to see what incentives are available for hybrid vehicle owners.
The Disadvantages of Hybrids
- Fewer choices when it comes to auto service. Typically, if you bought a hybrid, you planned on heading back to the dealer for the next decade because who else could service your Prius or Honda Insight? Now, CARS of America can. We’ve invested in extensive training for our technicians and specialized hybrid equipment. We can now service your hybrid from bumper to bumper, including the battery.
- They still have a regular 12-volt battery. We hear a lot about the high voltage batteries that power hybrid vehicles. But what you might not know is that the Prius, for example, also has a regular old battery just like any other car to power the accessories. And like regular old car batteries, they wear out over time and could require a jump start.
- Lower mpg on the highway. While hybrids thrive around town, they don’t do as well on the highway because the gasoline engine kicks in. While mileage in the high 30s to lower 40s is nothing to scoff at, you can also buy diesel and gasoline-powered compact cars that rival that mileage.
- They cost more to buy. The sticker price on a hybrid is typically a few thousand dollars more than the same make and model with a gasoline engine. And when hybrids are in high demand, dealers have no incentive to wheel and deal. When gas prices were at an all-time high, motorists who clocked a lot of miles every year could calculate a return on their investment. Now, with gas at $2 per gallon, it will take a lot longer to just break even. So if you’re looking to save money, a hybrid may not be the way to go.
- The cost of the battery. This has long been the downside to buying a hybrid – that looming knowledge that someday your battery is going to die and cost thousands of dollars to replace. The good news now is: At CARS of America, we can recondition your battery at a fraction of the cost. And rebuilding the battery is far greener than discarding the original battery and replacing it with a new one. That’s a win-win.
- Slow down, Speed Racer. The majority of hybrids on the market today are known for their mpg, not how fast they can go from 0 to 60 mph. Despite the entertaining Super Bowl commercial during which a Toyota Prius eluded the police for days, if you have a lead foot, you may need to keep with your gas-powered car a bit longer and start saving up for a Tesla.
If you own a hybrid and need a new auto repair shop, look no farther than CARS of America. If you’re considering a pre-owned hybrid, we highly recommend a pre-purchase vehicle inspection.