Moving with a hybrid – is it worth the switch?

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Being green is hot. Being green is hip. By reducing your carbon footprint on our planet, you help keep the Earth happy. A healthy and happy planet means healthy and happy you.

The Green Way of Living

While all of us can turn our daily life “green” without having to spend a dime, some decide to go a few steps further and invest in green products, including “green” cars, i.e. hybrids. Driving “green” takes it easy on the environment. But does it always help keep that piggy bank satisfied?

Numerous sources will vouch that hybrids will definitely show themselves more efficiently while driving shorter distances with lots of frequent stops. That’s the very concept of a hybrid – they capture energy when braking which recharges the battery and allows to use more electricity and less gas. But what if you need to drive a much longer distance than just going grocery shopping or visiting a friend in a nearby suburb?

Maybe you got a job offer somewhere across the US or simply decided to give your life a fresh start and move to another state. You would not want to leave your hybrid behind, but is it going to be more efficient to drive it to your new destination or hire an auto shipping company to do it for you? Practice shows that the highway is not where most hybrids shine.

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Hybrids versus Highways

Joe White of the Wall Street Journal took a 2012 Toyota Camry on the experimental 569-mile ride just to see what all the hybrid fuss is about. While he was inching along with some detour on the interstate road stuck in a city-style traffic jam, the Camry hybrid, to his amusement, was driving on its electric engine alone, without any use of gasoline. The disappointment kicked in once he was able to push the gas pedal to the metal to enjoy faster driving.

All in all, fuel efficiency is almost as important as mileage, and Camry Hybrid did not turn out to be so easy on Mr.White’s wallet. At least, probably, not as easy as he was hoping for. The trip aftermath showed savings of only $21 in gas money. Apparently, not all hybrid vehicles are meant for city driving only. New York times recently promoted the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which, unlike most other hybrids, achieves better fuel economy on the highway, about 40 miles per gallon, versus 36 miles per gallon in the city.

To Drive or to Ship?

If you are an environmentally conscious person, which you most likely are, since you chose to drive a “green” car, you would probably feel better driving one that “breathes” less carbon monoxide into the air than any conventional non-hybrid vehicle. But given that most hybrids work on a principle of  “regenerative braking” which converts the energy of the car slowing down into electrical energy and recharges the battery, the cross country trip (where you are at a freeway speed and rarely braking) will cause gas engine run almost as much as in all-gas car. That may bring you to a conclusion that long-distance trip in your hybrid is not so environmentally friendly as you may have thought.

It will not make much difference in your gas money allowance either. Thus, just like with any other car, whenever you need to go a long distance it will be better to ship your hybrid vehicle rather than drive it across the country.

Consider Hiring Shipping Company

Although using a transport company implies that a large diesel engine will be in use that does not mean that more CO2 will be discharged into the environment than if everybody chooses to drive their automobile. Consider the fact that one auto transporter will load from 6 to 10 standard vehicles or SUVs. This will surely reduce the produced emissions per passenger mile. The Environment Protection Agency and the American Trucking Association to reduce the emissions produced by the trucking industry and positive results have been shown since new standards took effect in 2007.

Under these new standards, both Nitrogen Oxide and Particulate Matter emissions must be ten times lower than 2004 levels, and the 2007 standards represent a 25-fold reduction compared to emission standards in the early 1990’s. The ATA (American Trucking Association) has even implemented the ‘Green Truck’ program, which is a voluntary avenue for truckers to learn about emissions standards, retrofit their equipment for increased efficiency, and explore alternative fueling options.

Trucks are also most likely to cross a long-distance area quickly with no stops, which will furthermore help save wear and tear on your hybrid, while you can relax in the comfort of an airplane seat on a way to your new destination.

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