Hybrid cars get their name because they operate using two engines. The gasoline engine helps fuel the turbines that spin and power the electric engine that is also found in the car. The electric engine powers the vehicle and any extra power that it generates is stored in batteries, which are usually located in the trunk. The gasoline is merely a replacement to having a fully electric car that needs to be plugged in to get power.
Two of the main benefits of hybrid cars are economical and environmental. Economically, the cars save consumers money on gas because the performance of the electric engine, and use of regenerative braking, allows the car to have high MPG. This means that a full tank of gas could last twice as long as a regular gasoline-powered vehicle. The economic benefits also bring environmental benefits because having a higher MPG rating means that cars will emit less CO2 in the air.
Some of the most-popular hybrid vehicles include the Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Lexus RX 400H and the Ford Escape Hybrid. Prices for these cars range from $20,000 for the Civic and Prius to $50,000 for the Lexus RX 400H. Hybrids are still fairly new, so it is rare to come across a lot of used vehicles but they are available from dealers.
As hybrid cars expand, and become perfected, the MPG and performance will only increase. This presents many benefits for the consumer and the hybrid car may eventually become the standard in the automotive world once prices and availability change. New improvements are constantly being made to the electric motor and more efficient lighting and use of battery power.
While most hybrids are made to provide with a higher MPG, some are created purely for performance reasons. These cars can increase in speed quicker and have greater horsepower, but their MPG tends to be comparable to most regular gasoline-powered cars. Be sure to look into each hybrid car for statistics instead of merely looking for the hybrid label because it can be deceiving.
For over 50 years drivers have used gas-powered engines, but the unstable economy and poor environmental outlook has resulted in the need and want for new concept cars. The most popular version has been the hybrid car, providing better miles per gallon (MPG) and cleaner emissions than gas-powered vehicles. The hybrid is slowly becoming the car of the future and the next step towards a cleaner atmosphere.