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Declare Independence From Oil By Choosing A Hybrid

Energy is such a valuable part of our everyday lives but sometimes we are not as aware of it as we should be. Hybrid cars are excellent at conserving energy and not polluting the environment further with nauseous gases. It is estimated that a hybrid car can reduce in the area of ninety percent or more of smog pollution, as compared to the cleanest non-hybrid cars on the road today.

Since our country has an increasing independence on energy, we are fast becoming high on the concept of hybrids! Interesting to note is that the very first hybrid vehicle to burst onto the U.S. market came about in 1999 with the production of the Honda Insight.

This first hybrid model was powered electrically and could go 70 mpg on the highway and 61 mpg in the city. Following closely on the heels of that model was the debut of the Toyota Prius in 2000. This hybrid car was capable of reaching speeds of 45 mpg on the highway and 52 mpg within city limits. In 2002 the Honda Civic Hybrid took shape, to much success. This vehicle could go 51 mpg on the open highway and 46 mpg in the city.

There were more hybrid vehicles to come. The first full-size pickup hybrids made their appearance in 2004. These were the Dodge Ram and the Chevy Silverado.

As well 2004 saw the first SUV hybrid hit the streets in the form of the Ford Escape. Hybrid cars are powered by two sources- gasoline and electric, and contain smaller, more fuel-efficient engines than their non-hybrid counterparts. They are also equipped with a battery for longer life.

Energy efficiency is made possible in hybrids due to the use of lighter materials to build the automobiles. The lighter parts are made possible when less numbers of cylinders are used and engines are operated at a load of maximum capacity. When cars are equipped with large engines this makes them automatically heavier while the opposite is true for smaller engines.

When a car has a heavy engine it is burdensome and it requires a great deal more energy to drive up hills and also to accelerate to higher speeds. The harder a car has to work, the more energy is used up, much the same way people are when it comes to work and tasks such as shoveling snow or doing housework. More difficult tasks require more energy than lighter tasks.

Non-hybrid cars with large engines also have heavier internal machinery, such as pistons. More time and energy are needed for them to make the trip both up and down in the cylinder, which expends an extra amount of energy. Speaking of cylinders, in a non-hybrid car there are generally more cylinders therefore more fuel is used to fire the engine. This is also the case even if the car is stationary. Another thing about cylinders is that in cars with heavier engines the displacement of the cylinders is greater making it necessary for more fuel to be required by each individual cylinder. This exerts a lot of energy output, which is not a good thing.

Perhaps this explains why hybrid cars are becoming more and more attractive to drivers. To optimize mileage and energy output in a hybrid car you can observe three special driving tips- slow down, keep your car at a constant speed and try to avoid sudden, abrupt stops. Did you know that the aerodynamic drag on a vehicle increases tremendously the faster speeds you drive? It does.

Learn to drive at a slower speed and you will increase your mileage, and save on energy a great deal. Accelerating and then slowing down constantly wastes energy needlessly. Try to get into a habit of maintaining a constant, steady speed and you will use your hybrid's fuel much more efficiently. Not stopping or braking suddenly is the last important tip.

Sometimes this cannot be avoided but try not to make a habit of it. In a hybrid vehicle the electric motor works much like a generator, energy is lost when the car is in the process of slowing down. More energy can be saved if the car is given more of a recovery time when slowing down and stopping. When you stop suddenly and abruptly the onus is on your brakes to do much of the work and in this way, precious energy is lost.

Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get quality car care products at

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