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Written by Rachel Patten   
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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Hybrid and Low Emission Vehicles

As gas prices continue to rise, more and more American drivers are trading in gas-guzzling SUVs for fuel efficient hybrid and low emission vehicles. While it was not so long ago that a few hybrid car options seemed like a whole new world, there is now a booming market with many different manufacturers offering a variety of makes and models of hybrid vehicles. American consumers have more options than ever to drive green. If youíre thinking of investing in a hybrid car or low emission vehicle, it is probably a good idea to do some research into the different choices available to find the one that is right for you. This article focuses on several of the more accessible green vehicle options in the market, and briefly outlines some general information about each one.

Toyota Prius
48 mpg city/45 mpg hwy
Cost: around $23,000 for new
The Toyota Prius is the most popular and well known hybrid vehicle in the United States. Combining a unique body design, incredible fuel efficiency, and cutting edge technology, the Prius has received almost only good reports from owners and drivers. Many people have reported that driving a Prius has allowed them to save money, drive with a cleaner conscience, and make a public statement about environmental commitment to neighbors and friends. Because it is such a recognizable icon, the Prius is often instantly associated with cleaner technology. For some drivers, however, the Priusí unique design is not a selling point. If thatís you, donít worry, because there are plenty of less conspicuous vehicles that also offer increased fuel efficiency. Some consumers have raised concerns about the battery in the Prius Ė how long it will last and what the costs (environmental and monetary) of disposing and replacing it will be. These concerns, however, have not been confirmed and, thus far, the first Prius cars are still running just fine and generally showing no sign of slowing down.

Honda Civic Hybrid Sedan

40 mpg city, 45 mpg hwy
Cost: around $23,000 or $24,000 depending on options
The Honda Civic Hybrid Sedan looks just like its non-hybrid counterpart, but is more fuel efficient (and about $3,000 more in cost) and environmentally friendly. For consumers who arenít as excited about the Priusí design, this Civic Hybrid might be just the car that youíre looking for. With a sleek design and improved fuel efficiency, there is no doubt that owners will save money at the gas pump. However, some critics have raised concerns over the overall cost effectiveness of this vehicle. Because the non-hybrid vehicle (which is about $3,000 less) also has a fairly high fuel efficiency, some argue that economics alone donít set this car above the rest until you have drive more than 100,000 miles. However, from an environmentalist perspective, this car is the best option between the two. If youíre looking for a dependable, fuel efficient vehicle, that is stylish and comfortable, Honda has set the bar high and offers you a great product.

Smart Car for two
33 mpg city/41 mpg hwy
Cost: Between $12,000 and $14,000
These Smart Cars have already taken over Europe and are now moving on to North America. Seating two people, these cars are so small that you can back in perpendicularly to a parallel parking spot. Because of their small size, their fuel economy is quite impressive. However, aside from two passengers, there is little room for anything else. They are cute and have a certain charm, but for the same price, you will probably be able to get something with almost as good fuel efficiency and a little more room.

Toyota Yaris
29 mpg city/36 mpg hwy
Cost: around $13,000 depending on options
Even though the Toyota Yaris isnít a hybrid vehicle, its small size and efficient design will save you gas money and carbon dioxide emissions. If youíre concerned about your environmental impact but also about cost, the Toyota Yaris offers an affordable, low-emissions vehicle option, particularly if youíre planning on doing any highway driving. Because of its small size, donít plan on hauling any big furniture or large cargo, but with a hatch back and a back seat, it offers you a little more room than the Smart Car fortwo. While it isnít as fancy as the Honda Hybrid or the Prius, this little Toyota will offer you a quality vehicle that will leave you will a smile on your face and a clear conscience.

Ford Escape Hybrid
29 mpg city/27 mpg hwy
Cost: around $30,000
Several auto manufacturers have begun to offer hybrid SUV options for people who need a little more room than the Prius or the Civic Hybrid. The Hybrid Escape is more reasonably priced than some of the other hybrid SUVs and offers an outstanding fuel economy for this sized vehicle. However, in terms of environmental impact, if you could settle for a little less room, the Prius or the Civic Hybrid will offer you better fuel economy for a much cheaper price tag.

Beyond Hybrids

Depending on your specific needs in a car, you may want to look at some other options besides the ones listed here. Of course investing in a new car is a serious decision and it is advisable to consider whether you need a car at all. If you live in an urban area, there are many options for you, including car sharing programs, public transportation, and new bike-friendly initiatives. If you do decide that a car is necessary for your lifestyle, please consider these low emission and hybrid vehicles before you look elsewhere. Not only will you contribute less greenhouse gas emissions, but you will also save a bundle at the gas pump.

Some good places to continue your research:

For additional information about alternative fuel vehicles, check out the Greeniacs Guide on the subject available at: Alternative Fuel Vehicles Guide

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Comments (5)
RSS comments
1. 31-03-2012 02:31
Yes Hybrid car option is best for stop environmental issues.... 
2. 22-08-2011 22:16
Many hybrid cars and electric car are now available in the market. The continuous rise in fuel price and the change in the environment is forcing the manufacturers in the hybrid technology.
3. 18-08-2011 00:10
If we need to cover the short distance then the electric car is good for saving fuel and pollution. But you cant ride on highways with electric vehicle so the better option is hybrid car. By both ways we gonna save the fuel and environment. 
4. 19-07-2011 03:20
Used Trailers
Due to the increased level of the pollution the hybrid car which minimize the polluting air is the need of the environment. 
Used Trailers
5. 28-06-2010 16:28
Used Trailers
I have seen the electric cars during the Autoshow in LA. The car seem nice but the prices are quite expensive. Plus, the [URL=]car parts los angeles[/URL] for the hybrids are costly too.

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  • Youíll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.

  • It takes 6,000,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.

  • Recycling for one year at Stanford University saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

  • Recycling 100 million cell phones can save enough energy to power 18,500 homes in the U.S. for a year.

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months

  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.

  • 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from burning fossil fuels.

  • For every 38,000 bills consumers pay online instead of by mail, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved.

  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.

  • Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent stands of trees.

  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.

  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.

  • Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save as much as 10 gallons a day per person.

  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70%.

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away instead of recycled will still be a can 500 years from now!

  • A tree that provides a home with shade from the sun can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

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  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

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  • Nudge your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

  • 77% of people who commute to work by car drive alone.

  • Recycling 1 million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by 3,657 homes in the U.S. over the course of a year.

  • One recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

  • You will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 miles you drive if you always keep your carís tires fully inflated.

  • In California homes, about 10% of energy usage is related to TVs, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVD players.

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  • Glass can be recycled over and over again without ever wearing down.

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  • States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.

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  • The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die prematurely worldwide every year due to air pollution.