Drive a hybrid car
 Benefits of hybrids
- Hybrids purchased or placed into service after December 31, 2005 may be eligible for a (U.S.) federal income tax credit of up to $3,400, see here for more information.
- Current hybrid vehicles reduce petroleum consumption (compared to otherwise similar ICE vehicles) primarily by using three mechanisms:
a) Reducing wasted energy during idle/low output, generally by turning the internal combustion engine off;
b) Recapturing waste energy (i.e. regenerative braking);
c) reducing the size and power of the ICE engine, and hence inefficiencies from under-utilisation, by using the better torque response of electric motors to compensate for the loss in peak power output from the internal combustion engine.
- Trade-offs include higher weight for electric motors and batteries, which may reduce fuel efficiency at highway speeds compared to otherwise equivalent ICE vehicles; for this reason, hybrids may be considered to be particularly well suited to urban applications.
- The internal-combustion engine in a hybrid vehicle is much smaller, lighter, and more efficient than the one in a conventional vehicle, because the engine can be sized for slightly above average power demand rather than peak power demand.
A standard combustion engine is required to operate over a range of speed and power, yet its highest efficiency is in a narrow range of operation—in a hybrid vehicle, the engine operates within its range of highest efficiency. The power curve of electric motors is better suited to variable speeds and can provide substantially greater torque at low speeds compared with internal-combustion engines.
- Like many electric cars, but in contrast to conventional vehicles, braking in a hybrid is controlled in part by the electric motor which can recapture part of the kinetic energy of the car to partially recharge the batteries. This is called regenerative braking and one of the reasons for the high efficiency of hybrid cars. In a conventional vehicle, braking is done by mechanical brakes, and the kinetic energy of the car is wasted as heat.
- Hybrids are much more energy efficient than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles because they generally provide greater fuel economy. This statistic has a major implication for the reducing petroleum consumption and vehicle air pollution emissions worldwide.
- Reduced wear and tear on the gasoline engine.
- Reduced wear on brakes from the regenerative braking system use.
- Reduced noise emissions resulting from substantial use of electric engine at low speeds. Note, however, that this is not always an advantage; for example, people who are blind or visually-impaired, and who rely on vehicle-noise while crossing streets, find it more difficult to do safely.
- Reduced air pollution emissions due to less fuel consumed per travel mile, leading to improved human health with regard to respiratory and other illness. In fact composite driving tests indicate total air pollution of carbon monoxide and reactive hydrocarbons are 80 to 90 percent cleaner for hybrid versus conventional vehicles.
- Increased driving range without refueling or recharging, compared with electric vehicles and perhaps even compared with internal-combustion vehicles. Limitations in range have been a problem for traditional electric vehicles.
- While driving a hybrid reduces petroleum consumption, over the entire lifespan of hybrid cars they use more energy than ICE cars. If you care about energy efficiency, and not just fuel efficiency, then drive a Scion xB, a Neon, or a Tracker, or an Ion, or a Wrangler, or a Corolla, or an Aveo, or an Elantra or an xA, or an S10.
 How to Drive a Hybrid Car for Maximum Efficiency
Many key elements in achieving maximum fuel efficiency as you drive a hybrid car are the same as for other vehicles. Other issues, such as the effects of stop-and-go urban driving, are dramatically different in a hybrid. For instance, the Toyota Prius EPA ratings are higher for city driving than for highway driving, as the Prius uses no fuel when it stops and the engine idles.
1. Avoid aggressive driving, speeding and pedal-to-the-metal acceleration. Gradual acceleration and deceleration is important for hybrid fuel efficiency, just as it is in other cars.
2.Use your air-conditioning sparingly to increase fuel efficiency. Laboratory tests conducted by the Idaho National Laboratory have shown that the using air conditioning has a dramatic effect on fuel economy in a hybrid car.
3.Take your automobile in for regular service visits. A well-tuned hybrid engine, with relatively clean engine oil, will help you achieve maximum fuel efficiency.
4. Maintain proper tire pressure. Soft tires reduce fuel economy, and tires that are too hard reduce handling and control. Maintain pressure at the level recommended by your tire manufacturer.
5. Use common sense. Carrying extra weight around in your vehicle will reduce your fuel efficiency.
6. Try not to drive your hybrid in extreme cold, as it reduces fuel efficiency.
7. Allow ample distance between your hybrid and the car in front of you, which will allow you to maintain your vehicle's momentum and avoid unnecessary braking.
8. Anticipate stoplights and other stops in the flow of traffic by coasting or decelerating, so that you don't have to come to a complete stop. Accelerating from a complete stop requires more fuel than accelerating after coasting.
9. Use cruise control whenever possible. It can help you avoid the "heavy foot on the gas pedal" syndrome that can kill good mileage. A hybrid vehicle that is traveling at 75 mph will use about 10 percent more gasoline than the same vehicle will at 65 mph.
10. Get a cruising pass or transponder for toll roads if you use these roads regularly. You practice fuel economy when you can avoid unnecessary stops and starts.
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