Called the “cars of tomorrow,” hybrid car sales have increased every year since their unveiling in 1997. To date, no hybrid is more demanded than the
Toyota Prius. The average time spent on a car lot for the hybrid version of this vehicle is six days. Toyota simply can’t build them fast enough. The Prius’ statistics are quite impressive; 60 miles per gallon (mpg) on city streets and 51 mpg on the highway. The only other hybrid that comes close to matching those mileage numbers is the Insight, another Honda creation. The Insight claims 61 mpg in the city and 68 on the highway.
So, why exactly are these cars so sought after? The obvious reason is the outrageous gas prices. The smaller hybrid engines use electricity 99% of the time, when the car isn’t going uphill or quickly accelerating. A rechargeable battery provides this electricity. Most of the battery’s power comes from braking or coasting, while the rest is gained when the car’s computer signals the battery to charge when it gets low on juice. The car’s owner can just leave the charging to the car itself. Where extra torque is necessary, it utilizes the little bit of gas in the tank to get the job done. Hybrid cars are often known to be much lighter than standard cars and are usually more aerodynamic. Tires are often more stiff and inflated higher to reduce drag. The energy used when braking in a hybrid is often recovered and used to charge the battery.
When given the facts about hybrids, there is no surprise that they are in such high demand. Many car manufacturers currently have hybrids available including Honda, Lexus, Ford and GM. As the gas prices rise, it will soon become a necessity to own these economic-friendly cars. With that being said, expect nearly all car companies to announce plans for their hybrid counterparts in the near future.
It’s a fact that hybrids will save you considerable amounts of money on gasoline if you keep the car long enough to make it worthwhile. In most cases, you should expect to pay thousands more than you would for their standard gasoline counterparts. Eventually, as new technology arises concerning hybrid cars, and as gas prices soar higher than they currently are, you can expect the price to drop significantly.
So, do you think you are ready to take a leap into the future of transportation by investing in a hybrid? If so, then the next step would be finding one that will meet your needs. If you are concerned with the size of your vehicle, those with large families may want to consider the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It seats seven, the most seating you’ll find in any hybrid thus far. A hybrid minivan has yet to be manufactured. The Toyota Highlander Hybrids begin at $33,030.
If you want something a little more compact, you may want to look into the sporty Honda Civic Hybrid. Roughly the same size as its non-hybrid counterpart, the hybrid Civic has slightly less room in the trunk due to the battery. Being a sedan, however, it will seat five people comfortably. It has been redesigned in 2006, and is now sleeker and sportier than ever before. Expect the Honda Civic Hybrid to set you back about $21,850.
Are SUVs a little more your style? Just released in the summer of 2006, the Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid may be what you
have been searching for. Starting at $23,995, this affordable SUV will comfortably seat five people. SUV lovers will never feel guilty again. This is sure to be the quietest SUV you have ever heard.
When it comes to space-saving hybrids, none would be more fitting than the 2-passenger Honda Insight. Probably the most eye pleasing of the bunch, this hybrid will cost you $19,330 for manual transmission or $21,530 for automatic.
A hybrid car purchase is a very wise decision and as gas prices continue to increase, it will definitely save you money in the long run. Many companies sell these models, but expect to be put on a waiting list for the more popular selling hybrid vehicles.