Everybody remembers the rise of the hybrid vehicle, it was a hot topic in the media especially when just before the big economic downturn the price for a barrel of oil peaked at around 140 US Dollar. Right after the economy went down the drain, so did the price for a barrel of oil, they exchanged hands for roughly 30 US Dollars per barrel. Currently the prices have gone up again and today the price for a barrel of Brent crude has reached the 100 US Dollar mark again, what’s next?
Advertising the rise of the gas price near your - Link
Rising oil prices is what drives the sales of hybrid vehicles; with such an efficient drive train you get more bang for your buck. Or drive farther at least, there’s not so much bang as they are often a lot quieter than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. The same goes for electric vehicles as often electricity is a lot cheaper than gas in the first place.
The current internal combustion engine powered vehicles have an average mileage of 25 MPG, while the well known hybrid vehicle the Prius has an average mileage of 50 MPG. Now these figures are simply averages and are highly dependant on for example how you drive, the traffic conditions and weather conditions. Currently the easiest way to improve the efficiency of the gas powered car is to convert it to a hybrid drive train. The main reason that hybrids score a lot better on their mileage than conventional cars is through their efficient drive train.
The Toyota Prius, arguably the best known hybrid vehicle in the world - Link
Generally speaking you can save half on your gas bill when going for a hybrid vehicle, something that should be very attractive to a lot of people with the oil prices rising again. If you want to check how much you spend on gas every day when driving to work for example, is to take the distance and combine it with the mileage. If you drive 25 miles to work (and 25 back to home at the end of the day obviously), the general internal combustion engine vehicle consumes about a gallon. The Prius would consume only half a gallon. At the end of the day, the Prius has consumed a gallon for both the trips while the conventional vehicle did two.
This efficiency quickly adds up to huge savings, savings which should allow for the higher initial investment for a hybrid vehicle. It is no secret that (currently) hybrid vehicles are (a bit) more expensive than conventional vehicles, so how do you determine if it is cost efficient to go and buy a hybrid vehicle? The assessment that is made for this is often referred to as the Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO. It lists the price to purchase the vehicles, the various taxes (including the benefits), maintenance and repair costs and the price for fuel over a period of time and shows for example when it is profitable to switch to a hybrid vehicle. In a following post I will detail more on TCO and the cost of driving with some examples.