Buy A Hybrid Car!

“There is a difference between saying that change is hard to achieve and saying that the average person will never [change]. One is a challenge, and the other is cause for despair.” -Unknown

Carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm up – global warming. Coal-burning power plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution – they produce 2.5 billion tons every year. Automobiles, the second largest source, create nearly 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually. Cars, SUVs and light trucks consume 8.7 million barrels of oil every day. Despite improved technology, fuel economy is lower today than in the mid-1980s.

One major step towards curbing our dependence on oil, and slowing global warming, will be the phase-out of conventional automobiles. Until the world makes the full transition to 100% sustainable fuel sources, such as clean-fuel, electricity, or solar, hybrid automobiles are the best option available.

Well, maybe you don’t have to go out and buy one *right now*, but if you’re in the market for a new car, you shouldn’t be buying anything but hybrid.

What in the heck is a hybrid? Hybrid cars combine a smaller gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor, effectively doubling the mileage of conventional cars. Hybrids burn little fuel when they are slowing or idling, and some capture and then use later energy created during braking that would otherwise just produce heat. Hybrids don’t need to be plugged in – they recharge their batteries while you drive.

Although reports abound of high profile celebrities driving hybrids, they are not expensive;the average sticker price of a hybrid estimated at $20,000. Coupled with savings on gasoline, hybrid cars are actually cheaper to own than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles.

Hybrids come with tax breaks: $2,000 in 2004 and 2005. However, under President Bush, the tax cut will be phased out by 2006. Many environmental groups are working to lobby the White House to extend the tax cut over additional years.

Although the benefits of hybrid cars are clear, hybrid cars accounted for less than 1% of automobile sales in 2003. Abandoning conventional cars is absolutely essential to the well-being of our planet and all of its inhabitants. So, if you are in the market for a new car, the choice is clear – if a fully sustainable option is not available, buy hybrid.

Resources on the Web

Break The Chain – from the National Resources Defense Council
How Hybrids Work

Hybrid Decision Tools:
Compare Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrid Car Buying Guide
Greener Car’s Best of Hybrid Cars