Alternative Fuel and Transportation

Published on October 24th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


Choosing a Hybrid Car

To many people, sustainable living means more than just recycling bottles and cans.  For people who embrace the green lifestyle, the purchase of a hybrid vehicle makes perfect sense.  Hybrid vehicles run on a combination of 2 or more power sources (thus the term hybrid).  In today’s vehicle market, this usually means an electric motor and an internal combustion engine—the electric motor provides energy to start the vehicle and will generally run until the car reaches 30 to 35 miles per hour.  Once more power is needed, the combustion engine (powered by gasoline), takes over.

When considering the purchase of a hybrid vehicle, there are quite a few things to take into consideration.  Obviously, the car’s fuel efficiency is one of the top priorities.  Measured in miles per gallon (mpg), a hybrid should have a combined fuel efficiency of no less than 30 miles per gallon.  Some are rated to have reached up to 50 miles per gallon (the combined mpg is found through an average of the city and highway mpg).

While looking at the fuel efficiency, look at other reoccurring costs as well:

  • How much does it cost to drive the vehicle 25 miles?
  • How much does it cost to fill the tank?
  • What is the annual fuel cost?

Although these are only estimates due to the price of gasoline, they can give you an understanding of how much your hybrid car can save you in the long run.  While the fuel efficiency is certainly good for the wallet and welcomed in these times of high gas prices, reducing your carbon footprint is the ultimate goal of a green purchase.

For any vehicle, be sure to look at the annual greenhouse gas emissions.  While the cars with the best fuel efficiency have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, between 4.3 to 4.4 tons, this is not a direct ratio.  Finally, sustainable living is about protecting resources for the future.  Protect your most important resource—your family—by checking the safety rating of each vehicle.

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