If you are in the process of looking for a used car you may be overwhelmed
with the amount of choices you have out there. While out shopping for
your used car you probably have been made aware of the new hybrid vehicles.
If you haven't considered a used hybrid car yet, maybe you should
look a little deeper into what the fuss is all about. A used hybrid
may be just what the doctor ordered for your lifestyle needs, especially if
you are a commuter. Below is a series of questions that you may have
about buying a used hybrid car.
Just why is everyone looking for a used hybrid car anyway? Well,
it's no secret that a used hybrid car gets better gas mileage, but what
are the other advantages of buying a used hybrid car? What are the
disadvantages of buying a used hybrid car? Does a
used hybrid car offer the same bang for your buck as it's sister model
that's not a hybrid? Does a used hybrid car offer the same kind of
power that a 100% fuel powered car can offer? What is the price of a
used hybrid car compared to a used 100% fuel powered car? Is a used
hybrid car just another fad, or will they be the vehicles of the future?
Finally, is a used hybrid car right for you? Below is an article
that should be helpful to anyone considering buying a new or used hybrid car.
Hybrid Hype and a Small Price Hike
by: Michael Walker
Drive by any car lot in the United States and ask to see the latest hybrid
car models. Don’t be stupefied if eight out of ten tell you that they can’t seem
to keep them on the lot—that they’re just selling too fast! There is reasoning
behind the hype: consumers believe in one (or all) of three things, that they’re
going to be getting a better deal once gas prices hit $2.50 a gallon, that
they’re not sacrificing performance and that they’re helping the environment.
Let’s first take a look at how these cars are put together. First, we have to
understand the concept of “hybrid”. A hybrid car might be defined as any vehicle
that uses two or more sources of energy to propel itself. Seems simple enough.
Hybrid machinery is all around us in the form of diesel-electric, such as city
buses, and nuclear-electric, such as those used on many US submarines. So, the
idea and the technology have been around awhile—it’s just now that another
energy scare like that of the 1970s, that we start becoming resourceful and a
little ingenious. Hybrid power is on the up-rise (and in-demand) only because
the two different types of propulsion possibilities (gasoline/diesel and
electric) standing alone have proven an ineffective means to get both power and
efficiency in one package. But, working together, there is promise.
A hybrid car, in modern terminology, is usually referring to any car that has
a combination of an electric and a gasoline (or diesel) motors. These cars use
kinetic energy (referred to as regenerative breaking), absorbed by your breaks
when you slow down to a stop, to recharge batteries that in turn push the
electric motor. All of this is combined into one finely tuned schematic—the
result being power to the transmission and propulsion power (i.e. wheel
All hybrids contain a gasoline engine, an electric engine, a generator
(mostly on series hybrids), fuel storage container, batteries and a
There are basically two different types of hybrid engines. The first is a
parallel hybrid. This sort of hybrid actually contains both a gasoline and
electric motor that both operate independently to propel the car forward. It’s
designed to have two power sources working with one goal in mind. In many ways,
they are still “connected”.
The second hybrid is often referred to as a series hybrid. In a series
hybrid, the gas or diesel powered engine doesn’t connect to the transmission
directly, meaning that it doesn’t actually propel the car by itself. It actually
works indirectly, powering a generator, which in turn (controlled by computer
monitoring systems) either feeds power to the batteries or directly feeds power
to an electric motor that connects to the transmission.
As stated above, hybrid buyers are looking for the combination (and
compromise) of power and energy that these cars seem to provide. Many
gas-powered cars have a lot of horsepower. This is useful for modern driving
experiences. No one wants to be doing the minimum 45 mph on the interstate and
stopping to “refuel,” as with purely electric motors. Plus, there’s no need to
feel like you should have placed your slow-moving reflective magnet on the
trunk. However, many gas-powered cars are truly “wasteful” resources because out
of those 175 horses, you’ll only have to use less than half that power for
everyday driving. We don’t even have to get into the harmful environmental
factors of pure gasoline engines. We are just now starting to see the results of
our apathetic attitudes on this subject.
The engines in hybrid automobiles are usually much smaller (except in some
brand new V-6 models). While this reduces fuel consumption, it means that for
the extra “power” that drivers are looking for has to come from somewhere else.
That’s where the electric motor and batteries come into play. In some models,
sensors detect that the car is in need of extra energy for going up hill, for
example. That’s when the “hybrid” half of the engine kicks in. It will do a
dandy job of giving the engine that extra oomph or boost that it needs, without
using any more gasoline.
Newer hybrid models do a lot of extra tricks so that your car gets as many
miles to the gallon as possible. For example, when you’re stopped at a traffic
light, another sensor will trigger the gasoline engine to idle down to a
complete stop, while the car stays “running” solely on its electric power. Did I
Since the idea behind the hybrid powered car is reduced fuel consumption
without the loss of speed or power, many cars are being designed to move through
the streets with the utmost in aerodynamic form; meaning that a hybrid will
create less “drag,” simply due to its body structure. Many also use much lighter
building materials, reducing weight and pull. Some models even have wheel covers
and no mirrors (replaced with cameras and navigation equipment), which saves an
enormous amount of energy.
Hybrids don’t seem to be a fad or some social experiment. Consumers and car
enthusiasts alike are enjoying what they’re seeing in the market. Everyday it
seems a better designed, lighter; more fuel-efficient and powerful hybrid
enters. Recently released models are even beating their gas-powered
counterparts. One boasts a 255 hp engine with other capabilities such as being
able to shut down half the cylinders (without notice) while in motion to
conserve fuel and energy.
Hybrid-engineered cars cost a bit more too. Usually the price difference is
around 3,000 bucks. And, it may take a few years (depending on gas prices) for
you to actually make the savings in fuel worthwhile. However, it’s still better
for the environment, and that lingers (and makes it worthwhile) in some
And, if you are still one to wholeheartedly grip the stick of your V-8
without budging, you might take into mind that newer hybrid models are gaining
on those petal-to-the-metal peelers of yesteryear. Hybrid models are inching
nearer to (and even beating!) gas powered cars in 0 to 60 mph road tests.
So, when you decide that a new car might be a viable option in the near
future, don’t expect to see too many hybrids in dealers’ lots. You may have to
do some across-the-state driving to find a choice. Do some preliminary searching
on the Internet and find out what model may benefit you and your lifestyle the
most. Keep in mind all that we’ve mentioned and perhaps—in the future—you’ll
have no other choice than a hybrid, which at this time seems to be by far the
best choice around.
About The Author
Michael Walker is a freelance author providing tips and hints on engine
related topics in his website
His articles are a valuable source of information for the auto enthusiast.