Hybrids Make Little Sense for Highway Drivers, Study Shows | Edmunds.com
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Hybrids Make Little Sense for Highway Drivers, Study Shows


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Just the Facts:
  • Hybrid vehicles cost more without much benefit to the environment if you do the bulk of your driving on the highway, according to a new study.
  • But for drivers who spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic, a hybrid "could lower lifetime costs by 20 percent and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half," said the study by Carnegie Mellon University.
  • The study also found that aggressive driving can cut vehicle range by 40 percent or more for electric vehicles.

PITTSBURGH — Hybrid vehicles cost more without much benefit to the environment if you do the bulk of your driving on the highway, a new study shows.

But for drivers who spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic, a hybrid "could lower lifetime costs by 20 percent and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half," said the study by Carnegie Mellon University.

The study also found that aggressive driving can cut vehicle range by 40 percent or more for electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf. Researchers called that a "notable risk for pure electric vehicles, which already have limited range and take a long time to recharge."

"But with hybrid electric vehicles, which run on gasoline, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that use electricity for short trips and switch to gasoline for longer trips, there's no added risk of being stranded," said Jeremy Michalek, a Carnegie Mellon professor who headed the study.

The study, which analyzed the potential cost and greenhouse gas savings of hybrid and electric vehicles under different driving conditions, was funded by the National Science Foundation, Ford and Toyota. The list of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles used for the test includes the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid and 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Edmunds says: Before you buy, consider how you drive. That's the bottom line of this study.

Comments

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Didn't we already know this about hybrids? I see the other shocker is that aggressive driving screws your gas mileage. Who knew? ;)

  • texases texases Posts:

    Pretty negative way of presenting what we've ALWAYS known - if you drive mostly freeway a hybrid isn't for you. EARTHSHAKING NEWS! Why isn't the headline: "City drivers stand to save 20%!!"?

  • financeman2 financeman2 Posts:

    This article is a waste of binary....intellectually weak, with little value. Come on Edmunds, you can do better.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I cannot believe that somebody at Carnegie Mellon University thought that this was not already common knowledge and needed to do a study. Doh!

  • The benefit of the hybrid is obviously in slower, stop and go urban traffic. When you're cruising on the highway at stable speed, there's little energy to be recaptured by the batteries.

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