With charging stations for electric vehicles popping up much more frequently as initiatives to switch to greener forms of energy, the market for hybrid electric vehicles is also growing. They're also more attractive options for consumers who are concerned about the amount of mileage that full electric vehicles can cover before needed to recharge. Today's hybrid electric vehicles provide a "best of both worlds" alternative, with their heavily reduced dependence on gasoline and higher mileage capability. If you're considering a new vehicle or are tired of juggling budget changes stemming from a volatile fuel market, these are ten of the reasons why you might want to give the hybrid electric vehicle some careful consideration.
- Because You Spend a Lot of Time Idling – If you live or work in a heavily populated area along major thoroughfares, you're no stranger to streets that feel more like parking lots during peak traffic times. When you drive a hybrid electric vehicle, the automatic start/shutoff feature will turn the engine off when the car comes to a stop, restarting when you press the accelerator. You're not wasting valuable energy when you're stuck in a traffic jam or at a long light, making a very real difference in the amount of fuel you use.
- To Limit Resale Value Loss Due to Depreciation – When you already own a perfectly serviceable car, it's not always easy to make a replacement purchase. Still, you stand a better chance of recouping at least some of your investment and limiting loss of value to depreciation when you unload your gas guzzler while it's still relatively new and in good condition.
- Because Your Electricity Bill Won't Suffer As Much As You Think – With a few minimal habit changes to boost your energy efficiency around the house, you may find that your electric bill doesn't take much of a hike at all. Hybrid electric cars use less grid power than full electric vehicles, and both can be cheaper on a monthly basis when you take savings at the pump into account.
- To Take Advantage of Federal Tax Credits and Rebates – Because the American government is committed to pursuing cleaner energy alternatives and reducing dependence on foreign oil, there are a variety of tax incentives and rebates on the federal level for drivers of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Some states may also have incentive programs in place, making the investment in a hybrid electric car even wiser.
- Because They're More Affordable Than You Think – Because the idea of a car that runs on electricity still seems so futuristic to some people, many are under the misapprehension that they're incredibly pricey. Actually, a hybrid electric from some automakers can come with a bit less sticker shock than you're prepared for, so be sure to shop around before dismissing the HEV as an excessively expensive option.
- You Like to Drive Fast – If you're not looking to save a bundle by purchasing a more economically priced hybrid electric and are put off by the idea of tooling around at a low speed, you're not necessarily forced to sacrifice pick-up and handling in the name of ecological responsibility. Some models, like the high-end Tesla X1, can actually keep pace with big names like the Porche Carrera GT and the Lamborghini Murcielago.
- You Want to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – The idea of running a car off of electricity while trying to limit your energy use may be a strange one to reconcile, but charging your hybrid electric vehicle may not cost as much as you think. Thinkprogress.org estimates that driving a fully electric vehicle creates half of the amount of carbon pollution for every mile driven than the average new car. Also, as renewable energy resources become more available, your HEV will only become cleaner as time goes on. As a traditional vehicle ages, it may actually create more emissions than it did when it was new.
- Because the Support Infrastructure is Expanding Rapidly – Not so long ago, purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric meant that you were almost certainly restricted to charging at home. Now, the infrastructure is expanding rapidly enough that you don't have to rely on the gasoline in your tank if you're far from home, because you're more likely to come upon a public charging station.
- Because You Want to Save Time – If you live in a metropolitan area with ordinances requiring emissions testing, you know that the annual trip can be a real time-sink, especially if there's a chance that your older vehicle won't pass the test. Today's hybrid electric vehicles are so efficient and clean that you may even be exempt from testing altogether, depending upon your local ordinances.
- Because "Fuel" Prices Are More Stable – While you will still need gasoline to power your vehicle, you'll need so much less of it to get where you're going that the wild fluctuations in prices may not be so much of a rollercoaster ride if you're driving a hybrid electric.
As with any vehicle, it's wise to do your homework before making a purchase so that you're assured of finding the best fit for your household. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of several models, including price point and feature availability, and you could be making a cleaner, greener commute each day.