The typical hybrid car functions on an electric powered motor backed up by gasoline. The most obvious benefit of driving a hybrid car is improved fuel efficiency. Overall, hybrid cars are more expensive to buy, but there are other benefits that hybrid car owners and buyers should know about.

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Fuel Savings

Most hybrid car buyers are interested in reduced fuel consumption. But how much savings should you expect? According to Edmunds, true hybrids use a small gas engine that gets a boost from an electric drive system and from regenerative braking power. Unlike full electric cars, hybrids do not need to be charged. Among the best of this class, the Toyota Prius gets 50 mpg and the Ford Fusion gets 47 mpg.

Plug In Hybrid Tax Benefits

Other hybrids run strictly on electricity, but can be backed up by a small electricity generating motor when the charge runs out. The drawback is that this type of hybrid needs to be plugged in to charge. On the other hand, big tax breaks are available to plug-in hybrid owners. These credits can range from $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the vehicle.

Other Hybrid Owner Perks

The HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes in many urban areas allow vehicles to pass only if they carry multiple passengers. However, in some states, hybrid car owners may apply for a special decal that allows them to drive in the HOV lane. This incentive is meant to award those who choose environmentally friendly modes of transport.

What About Car Insurance?

Hybrid drivers tend to drive less often and shorter distances. Plus, the drivers of hybrid vehicles tend to drive safer. For this reason, some car insurance carriers offer a discount on insurance coverage for hybrids.

Are Repairs More Costly On Hybrid Cars?

There is some debate about the repair cost data of hybrids vs. conventional combustion engine vehicles. While your vehicle is under warranty, there’s no real risk. However, once the warranty expires, you could face some big repair charges especially if it’s a technology component that fails. Thankfully, most battery packs tend to last a fairly long time, and repairs and replacement costs seem to be falling.

In any event, an extended vehicle protection plan can help make sure your repair costs are covered.

Hybrid Car Cost Vs. Benefit Overall

Whether or not you actually save money overall with a hybrid is a bit tricky to answer, since it depends a lot on gas prices. If gas prices are around $3.50 a gallon, with regular driving, it might take about 5-6 years to pay off the sticker price difference. However, if you take into account car insurance and HOV lane benefits, you might find your hybrid pays itself off even faster.  Ultimately, though, many hybrid owners don’t just want savings; they also want to help protect the environment.

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