Hybrid CarHybrid vehicles are becoming more popular each year. While the initial release of the Toyota Prius was met with considerable scepticism, the benefits have been shown to be substantial. By saving energy that would have otherwise been wasted, hybrids allow drivers to use their fuel more efficiently, and concerns about battery prices have been shown to be without merit. While the batteries on electric vehicles are still a question mark, there is little doubt that hybrid batteries last for years and are not prohibitively expensive to replace. How much can you save by driving a hybrid?

The comparison must first start with a particular vehicle as all vehicle have different mileage ratings. For purposes of comparison, a vehicle that averages 30 miles per hour is a reasonable baseline. A reasonable estimate for a hybrid vehicle is around 50 miles per hour. For every dollar that would be spent on fuel in a traditional vehicle, drivers of hybrid vehicles would spend roughly 66 cents. A typically driver will spend roughly $100 on fuel per month; by switching to a hybrid, the same driver would spend a bit under $67 each month. Over a year, this could save approximately $400.

Other drivers, however, may spend considerably more. Parents often drive their children around, which can easily double the amount of money spent on fuel. Those who drive for their jobs may spend more as well, and people with lengthy commutes may spend two or three times as much money on fuel compared to the average driver. Families that spent $300 per month on fuel can save approximately $1200 per year by switching to a hybrid.

When driving a hybrid vehicle, it is important to take steps to ensure that the vehicle is being driven in an efficient manner. While 50 miles per gallon is reasonable in a hybrid, certain driving techniques will make it less efficient. Those who drive too quickly will see their fuel efficiency drop considerably, and it is not uncommon to hear reports of drivers increasing their mileage only modestly after switching. By accelerated slowly and braking early, drivers can be assured that they are saving as much as possible.

Further, certain driving scenarios may make a hybrid less efficient. Those who live in remote regions of Australia may spend the vast majority of their time driving on highways. Hybrids depend on braking to recharge batteries, and highway driving will prevent the vehicle from being able to recharge the batteries fully. As a result, the savings may be modest. Drivers will want to consider their typical driving scenarios before switching to a hybrid.

Fortunately, governments around the world are placing a high priority on fuel efficiency, and tougher standards will cause manufacturers to find ways to increase fuel economy. Over time, mileage figures are expected to rise substantially. Hybrid technology, however, will not be mandatory in the near future, so those using hybrids will reap the benefits of both the hybrid engines and of the other increases that come to all vehicles.

Carlos is a self-confessed car enthusiast. He has recently bought his dream car, a 1998 Skyline GTR online from www.cars4saleaustralia.com.au. Carlos plans to conquer the German Autobahn next year with a group of like-minded friends.