Hybrid cars vs gas cars? The answer depends on your priorities.
Maybe you’re tired of paying high prices at the gas pump or sending U.S. dollars to the Middle East. Perhaps you’re concerned about the environment and the fact that oil is a depleting resource that shouldn’t be wasted sitting in traffic jams.
Whatever your priorities, fuel economy is not the only factor to consider when looking at hybrid cars vs gas cars. To make a sound financial decision, you might also want to compare the purchase price, tax benefits, insurance, repairs and maintenance costs.
Starting with fuel economy, realize no one gets the numbers posted on new car window stickers. The average driver only gets about 75% of what’s been promised.
And that includes hybrid cars. But hybrids still get much better mileage than conventional gasoline vehicles. Smaller four cylinder models are the only gas cars that come close to hybrids in fuel economy.
The hybrid, however, comes with a higher sticker price than similar gas models. Some are as much as several thousand dollars higher in cost. This extra cost is expected to come down in the near future as consumer demand increases and manufacturers achieve greater economy of scale.
Consumer advocate testing has shown that hybrid savings in fuel economy usually fails to offset the extra purchase price. But, for many buyers, federal and state tax benefits can help make up the difference.
Hybrid cars may also get relief on insurance costs too. Some automobile insurance carriers are now offering as much as 5% to 10% discounts on hybrid cars. Apparently, preliminary research has shown that hybrid car drivers make fewer insurance adjustment claims and that’s being reflected in their premiums.
Another thing to consider is repair and maintenance. Some believe the new hybrid technology may be too sophisticated for local auto mechanics, requiring hybrid car owners to always return to the dealer for repair. But that’s not just true for hybrids. As cars become more electronic, auto mechanics will need a degree in computer science to keep gas cars in tune too.
Hybrid car manufacturers, like Toyota, Honda and Ford, must feel confident about their cars because they offer at least 8 to 10 year warranties on hybrid-specific components. Toyota, for example, reports their battery pack will last for more than 180,000 miles. For the average driver that’s over twelve years.
And, as far as maintenance is concerned, most hybrid components need no regular maintenance. Of course, you’ll have to change the oil in the gas engine every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, just as you would in a conventional car.
One distinct advantage hybrids have is that you won’t need to change your brake pads as often. Because of their regenerative braking technology, hybrid brake pads last much longer. Prius customers have reported driving as far as 85,000 miles without a replacement. The brake pads of most gas cars last only about 15,000 miles.
The bottom line for hybrid cars vs. gas cars gets down to your own personal priorities. But, there’s one thing for sure, as consumer demand increases you’re going to see more alternative car future choices at better prices.
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