- Voting with my pocketbook: the only way car manufacturers will create Hybrids is if there is enough demand to justify the expense of building them. So, each time I purchase a Hybrid (or other alternative fuel vehicle), I'm casting one more vote that helps manufacturers know that consumers want this type of green technology.
- Commuting costs: I like getting an average of 30-35 mpg on my 25-mile drive back and forth to work (and even better on the highway), which means I use less gas. Some people (who don't own Hybrids) argue that since you pay more to purchase one, that kind of eats up the gas savings, but again, I bought it to have my vote counted. And, I'm sure the costs to own Hybrids will come down as demand increases and more options become available to consumers.
- The environment: I like sending a significantly lower quantity of smog-forming and global-warming emissions into the Berkshire air.
People sometimes ask me if I have to plug my car in at night! Nope. As a Hybrid, the car uses a mix of gas and electric power to function. The gas runs the engine, the running engine charges the special battery, and the special battery helps give the car additional non-gas power when it needs it. Also know as Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). An odd feature of IMA is that the car totally shuts off at stop signs. It's completely quiet - no motor running at all. It took a little getting used to as a driver, and can also be startling to passengers.
It's also addicting to watch the dashboard indicators that show current average mileage and whether the battery is currently charging or helping the motor.
If you're thinking of buying a Hybrid (and I hope you are) here are my tips from first-hand experience:
- Buy the warranty: my hybrid battery ended up needing to be replaced (I understand this isn't a common occurrence), which would have cost me over $3,000 - thank goodness for warranty coverage!
- Don't just assume you'll get a tax credit: the rules are so specific and may not apply to your purchase. I was surprised to discover that my purchase didn't fit any of the tax credit parameters...no credit for me.
Overall, I LOVE my Honda Hybrid. When I'm ready for my next purchase, I'm hoping to get a Honda Insight! I hear it's meeting or surpassing the Prius as far as mileage. Anyone interested in getting a Hybrid Newsletter can contact Brad Berman - it's great for doing pre-purchase research.