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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

September 23, 2008

Save gas, consider driving a hybrid vehicle

Picture_34 When you think of gas saving vehicles you automatically think of hybrids, though there are a large number of vehicles that get good gas mileage without a hybrid system. Hybrids combine a gas engine with an electric battery and both help move the vehicle and energize it’s components. The battery is most commonly charged by a combination of a generator driven by the gas engine (when it has surplus power) and by recovering power used in braking. There are Full hybrids and Mild hybrids and each have different benefits.

The average gas mileage of a vehicle in the U.S. is 17 miles per gallon. This figure includes light trucks. Hybrid vehicles typically get better than 30 miles per gallon and several get up into the 40 mpg range.

The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid were some of the first popular models. Now many vehicles are outfitted with a hybrid system including the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, GMC Yukon, Saturn Vue, Saturn Aura, Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Honda Insight, Ford Escape, Nissan Altima, Mazda tribute and the Mercury Mariner.

I recently drove the Chevy Malibu Hybrid at Shearer Chevrolet in South Burlington, VT and you can check out the video test drive here.

To help you research the best hybrid vehicle here’s a comparison chart for hybrids at fueleconomy.gov

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