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Clearing the Air About Hybrid Cars

Clearing the Air About Hybrid Cars

As hybrid vehicles become more mainstream, we are learning more about them all the time. But some myths persist. Here are the three most commonly asked questions about hybrids:

Do you have to plug in a hybrid car?
No. Hybrid car batteries are recharged entirely by braking energy in combination with the internal combustion gasoline engine, and never have to be plugged in. (However plug-in hybrid advocates, e.g., have converted regular hybrids to plug-in hybrids—PHEVs—to significantly increase mileage.)

Do you have to replace the batteries every few years?
No, the Honda and Toyota hybrid batteries are designed to last for the life of the vehicle.

Will hybrids reach the EPA–rated mileage?
No. EPA MPG ratings are under ideal conditions and will not be reached by the hybrids in real life. However, the same applies to all other cars rated under the system. Therefore, EPA mileage ratings are still a good way to determine the relative fuel efficiency performance of cars, including hybrids.

Read more: Life, Transportation, , ,

Adapted from The Carbon Busters Home Energy Handbook by Godo Stoyke (New Society Publishers, 2007)

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:12PM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

Thanks for the info; just wish I could afford one.

4:43AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Let's hope these cars are sold in large quantities very soon.

7:22PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

had 2 hybrid civics (one was totalled), this 2nd bought used and seems to get less mpg, but still 40+ under reasonable conditions....our older one (that I miss) always got 40+ (up to 55 mpg per tank twice) except on the coldest snowiest winter conditions where it still got mid 30s.....

wife now owns a Volt, mostly driving short distances, gets equivalent of 150 mpg by almost exclusively using electric battery again except in extreme cold....sorry, its a little off subject since not technically a hybrid...

in general, if everyone was willing to drive a smaller more fuel efficient car and drive it smarter w/r efficiency we would be much better off w/r environment....

8:57AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011


6:33AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:34AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

Hybrids are a practical alternative to plug-in electrics. For people living in apartments and condos EVs aren't really an option. I also like the fact that the cruizing range for the prius is close to 600 miles.

5:09AM PST on Jan 4, 2011

Thanks for the info.

1:45AM PDT on May 22, 2010


7:47PM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

Thank you so much!

12:25PM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

thank you

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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