A hybrid electric car is a car that uses electricity as well as petrol to power the engine.
This increases fuel efficiency, is gentler on the environment, and economical to run.
On average a hybrid electric car uses less than 50% of the fuel of a typical family car.
However there are other financial issues to bear in mind when considering the purchase of a hybrid vehcile.
- Extra cost. Although costs are coming down as the technology becomes more and more refined, chances are you'll pay a lot more for the hybrid car than for a petrol powered equivalent. Work out the extra cost; calculate the savings based on your average kilometres travelled per year and work out where you stand in 10 and 20 years.
- Maintenance. This is to some extent an unknown factor. As the technology is newer, its stands to reason that there may be more attention needed to the car than a gas powered car. Things such as battery life should also be taken into account.
However whether it works out over the long run to be cheaper or slightly more expensive, one thing a hybrid electric vehicle will give you is an assurance that you are helping the environment is a big way.
Hybrid vehicles are currently available (in Australia) from Toyota, Honda and Lexus. However, with nearly every major manufacturer releasing new hybrid models around the world, the choice will get greater and greater as the costs go down.