Hybrid Cars: Time to Take Plunge?
In 1997, Toyota released the Prius, the first mass produced hybrid vehicle. Today, hybrid cars account for about 10% of all cars on U.S. roads and future projections suggest robust growth. Most of the major car manufacturers offer one or more hybrid models and there are dozens of choices. Consumers are likely to consider a hybrid as a hedge against rising gas prices and volatility. The eco-conscious may also be interested in reducing fossil fuel emissions or reducing their carbon footprint. Hybrid cars operate two powertrains, a gas engine and an electric motor. They offer gas saving fuel efficiency.
Is a hybrid car right for you? Yes, they do offer savings at the gas pump, but they cost more upfront and sources estimate that it may take as long as five years to recoup that price premium. Before you pat yourself on the back for saving the planet, find out if your city and state operate its power grids on clean energy or hydropower. Power grids fueled with coal or oil will likely do more environmental damage than your car is saving. Enthusiasts revel in the fun-to-drive, video game nature of hybrids. “It’s actually quite addictive to drive hybrids like that–keeping an eye on the battery meter and power bars to use as little energy as possible,” said Green Car Reports. Still undecided? Take a QuickQuiz: Should I Buy a Hybrid Car at Cars.com.
Kia unveiled its 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid the Chicago Auto Show in February and they are now hitting showroom floors. The Optima Hybrid is 2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6 speed Automatic, delivering an estimated 40 MPG at an MRSP of $28,340. According to Kia Motors, “The 2014 Optima Hybrid builds upon the advancements of its award-winning gas-powered sibling, which went on sale in late-fall of last year. Debuting with its own exclusive enhancements, including front and rear fascia updates designed to increase aerodynamic efficiency, new wheel designs, and unique grille and lighting elements, the 2014 Optima Hybrid improves upon its predecessor, which was named one of the ‘Top 11 Most Fuel-Efficient Sedans for 2013’ by Edmunds.com.”