Dec 23, 2009

What’s so special about hybrid cars? Very Little.

The idea of green driving embraces hybrid cars, albeit in a half-hearted manner. Since hybrid cars run on both and electricity, they combine efficiency with power but the benefits offered ends somewhere here and I’ll tell you why.

Why the world loves hybrid cars

Almost anyone with deep pockets and a green-conscience has a hybrid car. I don’t say this new technology is futile, but I certainly say it’s over-rated. Hybrid car manufacturers claim the following benefits exist over traditional cars:
  • They conserve fossil fuels by consuming electricity the majority of the time (petrol is only injected into the engine when immense power is needed)
  • They offer better mileage than cars purely dependent on petrol and diesel on account of their smaller, lighter engines
  • They cause very little pollution (especially plug-in hybrids because you simply plug them into the nearest socket and use regular electricity to charge them)
All this is sounds very appealing, but there’s a flip side to this.

Why the world shouldn’t love hybrid cars

Let’s go about this one step at a time:
  • Plug-in hybrid cars don’t always reduce pollution. They depend highly on electricity so the potential for causing pollution simply travels up the line to the actual power company and if the power source is fossil fuel, we’re back to square one. But even if the power plant produces alternative energy(such as hydro power or wind power), the actual setup is not always green. You can read more about this here.
  • Plug-in hybrids also greatly increase your electricity bill, so you now And as power companies see this trend emerge, they are beginning to raise power tariffs to exploit the opportunity.
  • Hybrid cars aren’t very compatible with your wallet. You now have to determine whether you can afford to go green. Not only are hybrid cars around $10,000 to $15,000 more expensive than regular cars, plug-in hybrids add to your electricity bill as well and power companies are set to exploit this trend by raising power tariffs.
Green living has always been about simpler living. Shunning wild consumerism and adopting a cleaner, low-cost lifestyle. But the hybrid car solution still has a long way to go before it fulfills its potential.

Sources: How Stuff Works, Future Pundit, eZine Articles, Only in Silence (Image)
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