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Hybrid vehicles are taking the
auto world by storm. Ever since Toyota and Honda introduced
their hybrid vehicles into the marketplace, the demand has
exceeded the supply.
Most of those who have been
attracted to the new lines of hybrid vehicles do so out of
regard for the environment followed by a desire to lessen this
country's dependence upon foreign oil and save a few bucks on
high gasoline prices.
Vehicles - Not Just Hybrid Cars
Hybrid cars may have been the first on the market, but the market
has expanded to include other hybrid vehicles as well. Hybrid SUVs,
trucks, minivans, buses and motorcycles are all either in
development or on the market as we speak.
Vehicles See Green
Hybrid vehicle manufacturers have been seeing green because of
the popularity and demand for such vehicles. But, this demand is
mostly because consumers are seeing a different green in that they
hope for a greener environment. Hybrid vehicles form a class of
'green vehicles' that offer very low to zero emissions and take a
step towards making this dream come true.
In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) in its
Westways magazine and ACEEE's Green Book both outline five different
levels of low emission vehicles. Zero-emission, partial
zero-emission, super-ultra-low-emission, ultra-low-emission and
low-emission vehicles all help the environment by putting less
pollutants into the air than traditional vehicles. Not all of the
greenest vehicles are automobiles, either. ACEEE's 'Greenest
Vehicles of 2005' puts the Ford Escape Hybrid on the top 12 list as
a 36 mpg/city, 31 mpg/hwy, partial zero emission vehicle.
Vehicles Use Less Foreign Oil
Gasoline prices have skyrocketed over 40-percent from last year
and there is no end in sight to the upward trend. By consuming less
gasoline as the hybrid vehicles do, we lessen our demand for foreign
petroleum products. Less demand means less dependence.
Hybrid vehicles can also be seen as a logical interim step into
the forthcoming hydrogen economy. Hydrogen vehicles are now being
developed where the only emission is water and will be expected to
hit the showrooms within the next 10 years.
Consumers want a cleaner environment and less foreign oil
dependence now, though, so hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles or
other alternative fuel vehicles make sense until this time. Even
after this time, most vehicles will remain hybrids since this will
mean fuel savings no matter which fuel is being used. This is
especially true for plug-in hybrids, which will most likely be around
for decades to come.
In addition, another interim step may just be the
gasoline-hydrogen hybrid vehicle, which can be seen as a transitory
step into fuel cell vehicles or an internal combustion all hydrogen car. No matter what though, the current
price for a hydrogen car is a cool $1 million with few fueling
options outside of California.
For now, those who want to clean up greenhouse gases and thumb
their noses at Middle East oil can purchase the hybrid alternative
fuel vehicles currently on the market from the major automotive
manufacturers. Go green now and we'll all have blue skies