What Is a Hybrid Car?

Hybrid cars are all over the road these days – the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Escape are just a few of the many.

But what exactly is a hybrid car?

At its most basic, a hybrid car is any vehicle that has the option to run from two or more different fuel sources.

Most of us know hybrids as cars that run on gasoline or electricity, called hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs). However, some types of hybrids can also run on (or could potentially run on) coal, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, solar power, or waste heat from an internal combustion engine.

Many who drive hybrids drive them for the environmental and financial benefits. The hybrids on the market today generally get better emissions ratings than their traditional counterparts. The Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, and Honda Civic, for example, set their emissions standards even higher than the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

While hybrids are still in the minority on the road and in annual car sales, finding a used hybrid can be a great bargain both at time of purchase and throughout the time you own the car. Hybrid cars that are just a couple of years old are significantly cheaper than their brand new counterparts. Plus, you’ll save plenty of money on gas.

If your motives for choosing a hybrid car are purely environmental, used is still the way to go. There are plenty of cars already on the market that need new homes. And with a little research you can find out which hybrid cars offer the best gas mileage, have the lowest carbon dioxide emissions, and use the least toxic batteries.