top 5 facts you need to know before buying a hybrid

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Hoping to save some cash on gas? Want to put a foot forward in the green direction? Whatever the reasons you’re buying a hybrid, there are certain things you should consider before taking the plunge. Here’s a list of the top 5 facts you need to get straight before stepping foot in the dealership.

5 What you Get for Your Money

Dropping an extra 10 or 15k (or more) for a hybrid means you’re going to be paying extra and yet have to sacrifice certain features and options – often performance and size – in lieu of getting better gas mileage. Over the years, the price gap has been closing, thankfully. Still, you may be able to get something better and much more fitting for your lifestyle for a significantly lower price … if you’re willing to take lower mpg and go all-gas.

4 Government Tax Refund and Other Laws

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Back in the day, buying a hybrid gave you tax breaks/refunds, access to HOV lanes, and sweet parking privileges. Be warned, in many states these laws have changed or have ended to push the sales of pure electric cars. Check your state’s government website for more information, but make sure you look before you sign those papers if you’re hoping for that tax cash or HOV privileges.

3 You Might Not Save Cash

Do the math. If you buy a Kia for 14k that gets 27 to 30 mpg, and you only drive a little bit, then you might actually save money in the long run buying a gas car. You could buy a C-Max or a Prius for 10 to 20k more, but even though they get much higher mpg, you may lose out simply because your initial cost will be so high. If you’re buying a hybrid to save money, consider the facts, do your calculations, then make your decision.

2 The Low-Down on Maintenance and Battery Replacement

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The good news: Maintenance for a hybrid is essentially the same as your gas car. There won’t be an insanely high cost difference (depending on what shop you go to) and very rarely will the electrical hybrid system need to be worked on. The bad news: You might have to replace the hybrid battery. Batteries are supposed to last about 200,000 miles, but that’s not a sure thing. Fortunately, batteries are getting cheaper every year.

1 Every Hybrid Feels and Drives Different

Regenerative breaking and the dance between the electric and gas engines under a hybrid hood make driving a hybrid much different from your gas engine car. Every year, hybrid engines get better, but newer ones are going to feel much better and less wonky than older ones. It doesn’t stop there: Not all hybrid engines drive the same, so don’t assume that the C-Max will feel the same as the Insight. Drive each hybrid as much as you can before buying so you know what you’re getting into.

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