I’m more than a little confused with all of the different kinds of hybrid cars that are starting to make appearances in the American market. Is the Toyota Prius your best bet? What about the Honda Insight? Or are hybrid versions of Toyota cars that already existed, like the Malibu and Camry, better? Should you get a full hybrid, a mild hybrid, a two-mode hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid?
Well, good luck finding an answer to those questions. I tried, and I just ended up even more confused about hybrids than I was before. At least I know it’s probably not a good idea to get a Lexus LS600h hybrid to try to save money, because I would be dead and gone by the time I would ever save any money driving it. It seems sticking to the Prius or Camry hybrids may be your best bet as of now, with USA Today reporting that the time it would take to make up for the cost of a hybrid is shrinking dramatically and very quickly. They reported that, for a Toyota Camry hybrid, it would now only take about 2 years to recoup costs, whereas just a few weeks ago, it would have taken about 5.
This dramatic difference is occurring because gas prices are rising so much and so often. So if it takes about two years to recoup costs now, and prices continue to rise, within a few weeks, it may end up only taking a few months to recoup costs. Hybrids are looking like a better and better option for American families who are beginning to feel the effect of the rising costs of gas. It may difficult to fork out the money now, but if you have it to spend, you may want to bite the bullet and trade your SUV or minivan in for one. The sooner you get one, the better, because companies that sell hybrids realize that the demand for them is going up, and this means the price will, too, which will close the gap on how much you can save and how quickly you will notice those savings. Also keep in mind that some hybrids can qualify you for a tax break.
There is another green option coming, and it could turn out to be even better for the environment. The New York Times reports that in 2010 Nissan plans to start selling a fully electric car in the U.S. This is, of course, the best option, because there is only so much fossil fuel available on our planet, and when it’s gone, that’s the end of it. Of course the price tag is going to be pretty high, so a lot of families may not see it as a very good option. But if fuel costs skyrocket over the next two years, these families may not have much of a choice.
Looking even further into the future Popular Mechanics reports that Tata Motors, a company that has started to produce cars that run on compressed air in India, is hoping to someday sell the tiny, extremely environmentally-friendly cars in the U.S. The only problem with them is that their light-weight design won’t be safe enough for most American’s dangerous driving habits: driving at high-speeds on interstates and highways with lots of traffic. This car could possibly get 100 miles per gallon, would cost around $18,000.00, and it would be the best bet of all, environmental-wise.
So there are other options out there, but it could be awhile before we see a dramatic change on what kind of vehicles we see on the road. Hopefully researchers will continue to find new cost-effective, environmentally-friendly ways for us to get around. One thing is absolutely for certain: Americans aren’t going to give up driving anytime soon, so they’ve got to start making some serious decisions on how their lives are going to be affected by the fuel shortage. Who knows? We could all end up back on horseback a decade from now.