Hybrid Gas/Electric or Conventional Vehicle, Which is Right For You?
The question could also be posed as "Short Term Thinking or Long Term Savings" which is right for you?
With gas prices reaching for the stratosphere, better mileage is a must. But, is a hybrid the answer?
Increasing gas mileage is a primary mode for saving money. When gas was a buck a gallon, commuting 40 miles a day in a car that got 20 miles per gallon wasn’t a really big deal. Now, with gas averaging between $3.00 and $4.00 per gallon, driving the same distance has taken us from $10.00 per week to as much as $40.00 a week and from $40.00 a month, four weeks at $10.00 per week, to as much as $160.00 per month and yearly from $480.00 to over $1900.00.
Before we rush out and buy a new car, one that we’ll pay a premium for solely because of it’s MPG rating, let’s look at the bigger picture.
In a conventional car you have an engine and drive train and an established cost per mile for maintenance. In a hybrid you have the same basic costs, plus batteries, regenerative charging systems, switches, more computer requirements, more required charging capacity, plus the car weighs more, probably has less space, costs more for repairs on an hourly basis, takes more hours to do the repairs and has no long established cost per mile maintenance figures that you can check for MPD (miles per dollar).
Weight is a factor in MPG, MPD, maintenance and performance. The heavier the car the faster the brakes and other drive train parts wear out , the more often they need to be replaced and the slower the car accelerates. Everything wears out, and once the car is out of warranty and the batteries fail, the regenerative charging system needs repair, or if any of the switches, computer or other hi-tech systems need repair or replacement, the price for repairs can get ugly, real ugly and possibly cost more than the resale value of the car.
So what now? There are ways to increase fuel economy without courting bankruptcy. First, you need to retrain yourself to drive like you want to save on fuel and not like the most important thing in life is to be the first to the next stop light. Stop light Gran Prix can be a hard habit to break, but you can do it if you want to. Is 75 MPH fast enough on the freeway? Probably, and you’ll get a lot better MPG and MPD than you will at 85 or 90. Speeding tickets can have a very negative impact on your MPD and they have a direct connection to your insurance rates. All of which translates to money, money, money.
Next, if you have a car that was built after 1996, it’s OBDll (on board computer, type 2) compliant, the computer hasn’t been rechipped for speed, and you’ve purchased the right system, once you’ve done the initial installation of the gas saving device(s) you can get improved mileage and let the computer make all the changes for you. If you have an early non-computer car with carburetion, and not fuel injection, a good quality system that can save you money will also work, but you have to manually rejet the carburetor and reset the timing. Selecting the right system is where you have to do your homework concerning what really works, what’s hype, deceptive advertising and outright scams.
There are some websites that profess to have tested and rated the available fuel saving devices. If you hover over the links they provide, unless the link is "cloaked," you’ll find the site is nothing more than an affiliate and, if you know how to check, you’ll find the higher rated links are also those that pay a higher affiliate commission.
Saving fuel is a hot topic. Some items are worth the price and a lot more aren’t. Price is also not the determining factor. Some very expensive items give very little or no gains, and others that are a fraction of the cost provide more. The information you need to seek out should come from someone who’s been there and done that, and not for just a few months since it’s been a hot item. The information should be time tested, proven and from a reliable and long established source. One system on the market is based on over seventy years of proven use. A good looking woman, or man, is appealing to the eye but that doesn’t mean they know anything about fuel economy. More information can be accessed by searching the Internet for Larry R. Miller, AKA Mileageman1.com
You can beat the hybrids on MPG, but you have to have the right stuff to do it and it can’t cost more than what you’ll save long term.