The hybrid car has become one of the most popular automotive trends in recent years. With more and more people worrying about the environment and the high cost of gasoline, the idea of buying a car that can run on different fuel types makes much sense. Whether or not you should buy a hybrid often depends on the amount and type of driving you do, although for many people, its symbolism as a more environmentally friendly driving option is what's most important.
Because hybrid cars are a relatively new technology, many governments encourage their purchase. This means buyers may be able to get incentives, tax deductions, special warranty provisions, and the right to drive the car in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. A hybrid car has no marked differences with a traditional car, and requires no special handling or driving skills.
This type of car usually gets much better mileage than the average car, up to 10% in some cases, and emits 97% fewer toxins into the environment. It is lighter and has a gentler impact on roads and soft terrain. With the price of gasoline regularly increasing, a car that can run on both gas and electricity, depending on the circumstance, is a big advantage. Most people who decide to buy a hybrid, however, cite a "feel-good factor" as their main reason for buying the car, and they often feel like it is their small way to contribute to a greener world.
Despite all the benefits cited above, hybrid cars also have some downsides. For starters, they are expensive, and even with a potential tax deduction, one may cost $3,000 US Dollars (USD) or so more expensive than a traditional car. They cost more to register, and repair costs tend to be significant, as all the car systems are intrinsically connected, and only special mechanics can handle repairs. Parts may not be readily available, which could mean being without a car for a longer period as you are waiting for it to be repaired.
How you drive can also affect whether or not a hybrid is a good deal. They tend to get better mileage with city driving, since the engine will use electricity more than gas. This can vary by model, however. In addition, not all models get the extremely high gas mileage that hybrids are known for, and an efficient, smaller car that runs on gasoline only might actually cost less to fuel.