You’ve likely heard a lot of hype about hybrid cars, but as you may suspect there certainly are hybrid cars pros and cons. You also probably have a lot of questions: Are hybrid cars good? Is buying a hybrid car worth it?
If you’re driving and looking for ways to save money, we’re here to help you decide whether a hybrid car is a right choice for you, and if it will make you money or offer other additional benefits.
What is a Hybrid Car? How Hybrid Cars Work
In order to understand the pros and cons of whether you should buy a hybrid car or not, we first need to talk about explaining exactly what a hybrid car is and how it works.
When you understand all the different things to consider for how one of these types of cars works you are going to save a LOT of frustration later down the road!
The hybrid car definition is this: Any vehicle that is powered by two distinct energy sources.
Basically, what this means is you are driving a combination vehicle – it uses energy powered by two completely separate engines.
Hybrid cars are essentially regular types of vehicles, with the exception that they rely on power from two separate engines.
The first engine is your traditional gasoline engine and the second engine is an electric motor.
By combining these two engines, you will be able to save money on gasoline and get better gasoline mileage for your car.
This is best understood by taking a look at under the hood of a Toyata Prius – see the example photo below.
In most vehicles, this means the first engine is the one that powers the car is your customary gasoline engine. The second engine that powers the automobile an as alternative energy source is an electric motor.
Basically, these cars have two separate engines, one that runs on gas and one that runs on an electric battery source.
Are Electric Motors New? Are They Safe?
Electric motors are nothing new, we’ve used them for years in boats for decades.
Even the concept of dual energy sources is not that revolutionary – think of the diesel steam engine!
What’s “new” is the introduction of using two separate power sources in the automobile industry.
Fortunately, with more and more advances in technology, dual powered care are becoming much more common.
Think of it Like This: Hybrid cars work just like your typical standard vehicle. It’s not much different than driving any other automatic transmission gasoline powered car: You get in, you turn it on, you drive.
What really makes the hybrid car so appealing is understood when you realize just how it works to save on gas and fuel costs.
How Do Hybrid Cars Save on Fuel?
The main difference that helps save money on gasoline costs happens when these vehicles are idling. Idling is that precious time the car is on, the engine is running, but you’re not moving anywhere.
A good example of when cars idle most might be when you are sitting at a red light or are stuck in heavy traffic.
If you are a driver for Uber, this could mean it’s that time parked when you are waiting for passengers to load or unload. You do not turn off the car in these situations, but you are definitely not going anywhere either!
This is where a hybrid car shines the most. That moment while you’re driving when the car is turned on and the engine is running but you are not actually going any distance.
A hybrid-powered car simply switches from the gasoline engine to an electric motor anytime you have the car in an idling position.
These combination engine vehicles have an onboard computer that will power down the gasoline engine and keep the car running by using the second alternative electric engine.
When this happens, the car still remains running, but you are not using gasoline. The electric engine is at work in these moments.
This may not sound like a big deal, but it actually can make ALL of the difference!
Much of the gas consumption in our current world is surprisingly not from all the driving we do – but actually from all the “sitting” we do in traffic and anytime we keep a car on while parked.
Think about it, if you are not driving but the car is still powered on – you are getting 0 mpg. Zero! Zelda! Zilch!
Even if you have the world’s most fuel-efficient car, if you’re not actually traveling forward any distance, you’re burning and wasting fuel.
This is how these hybrid types of vehicles really glow with benefits. You’re not wasting the fuel you normally would while driving in stop-start-idling-a-long traffic. If you’re a city driver or driving short-distance trips, you’ll notice this benefit quite quickly!
Are Hybrid Cars Good? Pros vs. Cons to Buying Hybrid Cars
Now that we understand the key difference in what makes these autos stand out from every other transportation type of vehicle on the road, we’re ready to explore hybrid cars pros and cons.
We’ll start with the pros first, because there really are quite a lot of great benefits! You may find yourself quite tempted after you learn about the many benefits – it’s not all just hype!
Here’s 10 Good Reasons You Might Consider Buying a Hybrid Ride
1: Compact Size:
Lightweight smaller sized cars have a lot of benefits – not just in fuel savings. You’ll pay less in tolls and save a lot on parking. A smaller car makes it much easier to find a parking spot no matter what kind of traffic you are stuck driving in.
2. Save Money on Fuel Costs:
Of course using less fuel is one of the best ways to save money at the gas pump. While there may be other costs to take into consideration, you will definitely be spending a considerably less amount in gasoline prices.
3. Less Emissions & Pollution
Pollution is a big problem in today’s world. If you are concerned about emissions and pollution, making the switch to a dual-powered engine that runs on batteries as a backup can help reduce your overall emissions and pollution.
These can help reduce the imprint your driving might have on the environment. Saving on idling time can make a big difference! Batteries are often also recyclable, which helps reduce potential pollution problems.
4. Tax Breaks:
Depending on what vehicle you purchase, you may qualify for significance tax deductions of thousands of dollars. If you are curious about what tax breaks might be beneficial for you, visit FuelEconomy.gov to see the current regulations and guidelines.
5. Smooth Highway Driving:
Hybrid cars are aerodynamically designed to reduce drag and often equipped with special tires for less friction. The electric motor is used for acceleration. All of these things combined helps offer a smooth driving experience.
6. Get Your Favorite Car From Well-Loved Brands:
Most of your favorite manufacturer brands likely offer an option for you to explore. You don’t have to limit yourself to only one make or model. Whether you’re a Honda, GM, Chevy, Toyota or Ford kind of person, there are certainly lots of options for you to explore.
7. Automatic Battery Recharging:
Unlike a 100% powered electric car, you don’t have to recharge batteries when you drive a hybrid. That is one thing many people ask, how do I charge it? Well, the quick answer is, you don’t!
Every time you drive, the engine running on gasoline will help charge your cars electric motor battery. It’s really no different than how most traditional cars and trucks charge their battery while driving – it’s just a much bigger battery!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about your electric engine motor’s battery needing charged regularly. The high function battery regenerates naturally with energy produced by the gasoline engine while you drive.
8. Better Resale Value:
Most cars depreciate quickly the moment you purchase it. While you will still notice the cars depreciate in value over time, hybrids so far have proven to retain their resale value.
9. Economic Improvements:
The money you are saving on gasoline is money that can be spent in other ways. When you are able to enjoy expenses such as entertainment and going out for dinner, you’re able to do fun things AND help the economy support the community with better job openings.
10. Same Performance Level:
There is relatively no difference between the performance in most models currently available. You’ll find the same great features in both types of cars.
As you can see, there sure are a lot of great reasons you might want to consider buying a Hybrid car.
The average hybrid car gets between 50-60 mpg whether driving in stop-start city traffic or gliding along the freeway. That could mean reducing your current gasoline costs in half!
However, as we promised to look at hybrid cars pros and cons, we do have to share the downfalls to these cars.
Here’s 6 Reasons NOT to Buy a Hybrid Car:
1. Higher Upfront Cost:
You’ll find that the majority of these cars cost a good $8,000-$9,000 more than their conventional combustion single-powered engine counterparts. Even with the tax breaks, this upfront cost can be limiting for you if it is not currently within your current budget.
2. Small Car Doesn’t Work for Everyone:
Just ask a mom with a couple of teenagers and a dog – it’s difficult to fit a lot of passengers and a week’s worth of groceries for a large family into a tiny compact car!
3. Tax Break Might Not Make Much Difference:
The tax deduction you qualify for may not actually really make that much of a difference. Sometimes too many deductions can actually push you into a lower income bracket which can result in less returns.
The only way to know if the tax deduction will actually make sense for you unfortunately is to consult with a tax attorney or financial advisor.
4. Used Cars Not As Common:
This is likely one of the reasons hybrids retain their value so well – finding a used one is very difficult! If you prefer to buy used hybrid cars, you may find yourself struggling to find a good deal.
5. Higher Insurance Premiums
When the value of the car is higher, so is the insurance premium. While this may not be that significant of a cost jump, it can be a potential factor to consider while deciding the right choice for you.
6. Repair and Replacement Costs:
If you need to replace or repair your electric motor engine’s batteries, it can be quite a costly expense. Most of the cars come with a battery warranty for a certain period of time or mileage.
This price of battery replacement is usually going to make the biggest difference on whether or not you buy a new or used car.
As you can see, there are some potential disadvantages to both on whether or not this would be the best option for you.
These cons may not seem nearly as bad as you may think. It’s important to do research that is most unique and suitable for your choice.
Not Sure Yet? Here’s 3 Questions to Help You Decide the Right Choice for You
If you’re still not sure yet after reading these pros vs. cons, the best thing you can do is to take a look at your current lifestyle and decide what will make the most sense for you.
By looking at your unique situation and assessing your needs, you’ll be able to know what will work best. Here’s 3 questions to ask before you decide what kind of car to get.
Question #1: How often do you drive?
Depending on how often you drive, there may be a better fuel saving cost that makes hybrid cars a good car to buy.
If you are constantly sitting in traffic, you are going to find that you save a LOT of money on gas simply because you are never using the fuel while idling.
The amount you drive also makes a big impact. If you drive long distances of at least 750 miles or more per week, you will also see a far more significant savings than someone who only drives 100 miles per week.
Question #2: What is Your Current Income and Budget?
Hybrids are generally seen more of an investment than a “save money quick” type of purchase. Yes, even though cars are considered to be a depreciating asset, many people view it as a long-term purchase to save money on fuel.
You will likely see the best return on your investment if it makes sense to purchase with zero or low interest financing or if paying cash.
It’s also a fantastic option to consider to drive on a lease if you were thinking about leasing a car anyways, since the savings on gas will be significant.
If you do plan to finance this vehicle to purchase it, you may find that the fuel savings can help stay within your over all total monthly budget.
Just remember that financing a car is usually a horrible idea.
Question #3: Do You Drive Professionally or for Business?
If you are in the business of driving around, a hybrid vehicle of any type just makes good sense.
You will be more likely to enjoy the benefits of tax deductions and the savings of fuel costs, especially if you already take the standard deductions in your accounting.
Naturally, we’re not tax experts, so something like this is best discussed with a trusted accountant, financial advisor or tax attorney.
Still, many small business owners and people who use their cars to make some extra money on the side have found it is a great way to save money AND maximize their profits.
Quick Math: How to Calculate Your Fuel Costs for Business
Rideshare Drivers: How to Make More Money Driving for Uber & Lyft
We’ve Studied the Pros vs. Cons: The Choice is Ultimately Yours
In the end, it is ultimately your decision on whether or not hybrid cars are worth it in the long run for you.
There are many advantages, but there are also some disadvantages. It’s up to you to carefully think about what really is the right choice for you.
With these cars being newer to the market, it can be somewhat unpredictable what the future will hold in the realm of cars that save money on gas and promote alternative energy sources.
You also may do better waiting, at least for the meantime if it’s not in your budget right now.
There is still a good chance that prices will come down as they increase in popularity. As they become more mainstream and the costs to acquire one are not as expensive, you’ll likely find a great deal.
Used hybrid cars are also starting to be more common for resale now. You can buy a used 2007 Toyota Prius for anywhere from $5,000-$8,000 in 2019. Condition, location, and mileage may vary
Hybrid cars are pretty exciting, because it shows a lot of promise for what might be possible. There is also a lot of potential for it to help us lower our dependency on fuel and stimulate the economy. When the economy is doing well, we all do well!
Bottom Line: You should definitely do your research and consider alternative fuel sourced vehicles as the next type of car you buy.
You might just find after some crunching numbers and weighing the hybrid cars pros and cons that it very well could be the perfect fit for you.
Take all of the things we’ve talked about to know whether buying a hybrid makes sense for you and your personal needs. Everyone’s unique situation is different, but we can all benefit from being informed!
What do you think?
Do you drive a hybrid car? What do you think? Are hybrid cars good? Are they worth it? We’d love to hear your experiences and comments in the comments section below. Your answer might just help someone who is thinking of this option!
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.