Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor. Hybrid cars have been on the market in the US since 1999. A hybrid engine gets significantly sport ter gas mileage than a conventional gas engine. Hybrids consume less gas and produce less pollution per mile than conventional gasoline engines. The hybrid engine currently sold in the Honda Civic Hybrid gets 10 to 15 miles more per gallon than a regular gas engine in the same car. The hybrid engine of the Prius, made by Toyota, produces 90 percent fewer harmful emissions than a comparable gasoline engine.
The hybrid cars currently on the market cost from $3500 to $6000 more per car than comparable cars with conventional gas engines. This means that the amount of money you save, or donít save, by buying a hybrid is very much dependent on gasoline prices. If gas is priced at $1.80 per gallon, it could take the average driver (15,000 miles per year) sport ween 10 and 15 years to amortize the $3500 increase in the initial price. However, the higher gas prices go, the less time it takes to recoup the higher price tag.
Hybrid buyers may be saving on gas, but they are sporting a much more expensive battery. The cost of hybrid batteries ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, although we have gotten reports of some being quoted $4,800 to $8,000 This could be due to the current high demand for hybrid cars. And, although the hybrid battery may be covered under the carís warranty, once the warranty expires, you may find yourself with an expensive battery bill.