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Gas prices Go Up, Is a Hybrid the Solution for You?

Mar 7 2011, 9:15am CST | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

Gas prices Go Up, Is a Hybrid the Solution for You?
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Hybrid may not be the right thing

Gas prices are soaring again and will likely continue to go up thanks to unrest in the Middle East and summer driving around the corner when more people tend to drive. Gas prices rising each summer is something that we are used to here in America, but this year prices are already nearing $4 per gallon in many areas.

When gas prices start to soar the way Americans buy vehicles and drives tends to change. Some folks start looking at their large trucks and SUVs and thinking that it would be better to trade that older vehicle in on a new hybrid that is more fuel efficient.

Cars.com asks the question is trading your existing vehicle on hybrid to save a the pumps a good thing? Unsurprisingly the answer is often no. When gas prices are up the trade in price for larger and less efficient vehicles tends to be less. The lower your trade in the more likely you are to have to roll some money over to your new vehicle from the old one you trade. That makes for higher car payments and savings at the pump probably won't offset the extra payments.

"When gasoline goes north of $4.00 a gallon, it changes the types of cars people shop for," said David Thomas, Cars.com Senior Editor. "We saw this in 2008 where the bottom fell out of the SUV market, and people gravitated toward smaller – and often hybrid – vehicles. While we certainly support fuel efficient vehicles as a principle, the mistake we see many people make is automatically thinking an electric or hybrid vehicle will inevitably save them more money than the car they currently own." Cars.com goes so far as to say that the new breed of fuel efficient compact cars with mileage often rivaling that of hybrids may be a better choice for some drivers. The non-hybrid cars are cheaper to purchase upfront and you don’t have to worry about the battery packs inside the hybrid cars.

Cars.com also notes that pure EVs like the Leaf are a nice option for some users. The cars have very low maintenance costs since the drive doesn't have to change oil or buy fuel. The downside to a pure EV is that they driving range is very limited making them less than ideal for any long travel. The typical driver will see 100 miles per charge or less on an EV like the Leaf.

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