Save fuel, drive a hybrid

By Christina Michaluk
April 17, 2008


Gas prices are shockingly high. The prices may continue to climb over the summer. Consumers are looking for hybrids to elevate some of the cost of high gas prices as well as being more eco-friendly.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, sales of hybrid and diesel-powered cars will more than triple by 2015.

Top car manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, Lexus and Ford are some of the top producers of hybrid models.

Hybrid cars are more environmentally friendly. They give off 80 percent fewer smog-forming emissions.

They also end up saving you money that you would spend on gas, depending on the model.

“I like the idea of using less gas and polluting less. I love sitting at a stop, knowing that my car isn’t spewing fumes from the tailpipe,” Dr. Marilyn Johnson, an English professor, said.

Most hybrids are initially expensive. They can start at $22,000 depending on the make and model. Consumers say that you end up spending less in the end because you save money on high gas prices.

“It is more expensive than your average car. I didn’t buy it to save money on gas,” Johnson said.

Hybrids run mainly on electricity. The way the hybrid works will vary in each vehicle but most have an electric motor that helps to reduce the usage of gas. The electric motor is connected to a battery; The battery recharges itself when the car is running.

Hybrids are quieter because the engine doesn’t run as often as in a car that runs solely on gasoline.

“The Lexus 400 H has different sounds than a SUV that runs on gasoline. I’m getting used to it compared to my other car. It’s quieter,” Dr. Sharon Schwarze, a philosophy professor, said.

The Prius is one of the top-rated hybrid cars on the market.

The car gets 60 miles per gallon for city driving and 51 miles per gallon on the highway.

“It changes the whole driving experience. I look at the Prius screen to see when I am using gas and electric. If I am using the gas I try to ease up on my speed,” Johnson said.

Besides the initial cost when buying a hybrid there is also another setback. In the winter hybrids do not run as well as they do in the warmer months. Gas is used more than the electric.

“I don’t know that hybrids are the future but we may end up going that way. Ethanol is not the way and neither are electric cars. Electric cars constantly need to be recharged and ethanol has it setbacks as well,” Schwarze said.

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Christina Michaluk

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