Why is the extra cost worth it? Because it is not all about money. It seems that every day I read somewhere or see on television the complaint of “Well, I won’t buy a hybrid because it would take me years and years to make back the extra expense over a regular gas engine”. Though saving money on gasoline should be a major consideration when deciding on buying a hybrid car, it is NOT the only thing to think of. But unfortunately too many people see it this way and they have doubts about the benefits of buying a hybrid. What else should they be thinking of when making this decision?
For starters, hybrid cars pollute a lot less than conventional gasoline engines. Since most people’s driving is done locally and at speeds lower than 40 miles per hour, your hybrid would probably run on its battery power most of the time. Running on batteries = no pollution. (Yes, I know it takes energy to make batteries and to dispose of them. But I am talking about the use of the car itself here. Batteries and their disposal are a different subject entirely.) So for a person serious about being green, this should be a major consideration. Even if one never made back the extra expense on the hybrid, just the fact that the owner is polluting less would make the cost worthwhile.
Secondly, the more people that buy hybrid cars, the more manufacturers will build them. Don’t think for a second that Toyota and Honda do not know this. That is why they are expanding their hybrid line to get even more buyers in to their showrooms before other manufacturers have a chance to catch up. Brand loyalty is big in the car business, and if Honda and Toyota can create it with lots of new customers, it is good for their bottom line. But even more important than that, the more manufacturers that build hybrids, the better the technology will be. Everyone will be spending money to have the next big breakthrough in hybrid technology, and this can only lead to more fuel efficiency and less pollution in the future.
So the next time someone says “It would take years to make back that extra expense in my gasoline savings” you have a reply. It is not all about saving money on gas; less pollution and better technologies for the future should be a big part of the decision. And the fact that the car would use less gasoline is just an added bonus at this time. Gas engines are still the majority of the market and they are not going away anytime soon. By investing in hybrid technologies, you are helping to push us all towards a cleaner (and probably cheaper) future.
Granted, buying a new car is a very big and expensive purchase. As I have mentioned before, we are in the process of trying to get rid of one car because of the expense. Of course, the best thing to do when buying a car is to buy a slightly used late model car that is fuel efficient. But if you are set on buying a new car, and you have given some thought to looking at a hybrid, be sure to take more into account then the extra few grand you pay to have the hybrid version. Not only will you save money on gas, but you will also be helping to clean the air at the same time.