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Frequently Asked Questions

(source: U.S. DOE, Clean Cities Program)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Q: Can I buy an HEV yet?
A: Yes. Several manufacturers have a variety of models to choose from. Learn more about available HEV models.

Q: How do HEVs perform and compare to conventional vehicles in terms of mileage, fuel use, safety, greenhouse gas emissions, etc?
A: HEVs either meet or exceed conventional vehicle performance characteristics and perform similarly to gasoline vehicles.

The Fuel Economy Website is a comprehensive resource for all automobiles, including the newest hybrids. Click on "Find a Car" and use the pull-down menus to select the automobile you are interested in. It gives complete information on annual fuel costs, mileage, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, safety studies, and more.

Q: What tax incentives or rebates are available to me for purchasing an HEV?
A: Hybrids purchased or placed into service after December 31, 2005, may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400. Credit amounts begin to phase out for a given manufacturer once it has sold over 60,000 eligible vehicles. For more information, see www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax_hybrid.shtml .

Also see the Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Incentives Information Center for information on electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles.

Addtional information is available at Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency , a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Q: Is an HEV simply a transition vehicle between a conventional vehicle and a pure EV?
A: No. Most experts agree that the car of the future will be an HEV of some kind. Because the energy density of electric batteries will never equal that of liquid or gaseous fuels, these fuels will likely need to continue to be a part of future vehicles. Even fuel cells, which are a promising long-term technology for personal transportation, will most likely still be put into an HEV configuration with a high-power energy-storage/buffer device on board. With further development, we might get to the point where we can select the propulsion system on our HEV in the same way we select a 4-cylinder engine or a V8 today.

Q: I am interested in retrofitting my standard automobile to an HEV. Where can I get information on retrofitting companies or qualified mechanics that can perform this service?
A: Most retrofits are transforming a conventional gasoline vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquid natural gas (LNG), or biodiesel fuel. Presently, it is costly to convert a gasoline vehicle to a HEV. You can learn more about retrofits on DOE's AFDC vehicle retrofit page.

Q: What is the life expectancy of HEV batteries, and what are the costs associated with replacing them?
A: Most warranties for HEV batteries typically cover a driving range from 80,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer. Therefore, costs associated with replacing the battery depend on the warranty and time elapsed. For a new battery not under any warranty, costs can range from $3,000 to $8,000. For specific details check with the HEV manufacturer.

Q: My primary interest in buying an HEV is in doing my part to clean up the air. Can my decision to purchase an HEV now really make a difference?
A: Yes. Conventional vehicles release harmful chemicals, or pollutants, through their tailpipes. These chemicals, such as oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, particulates, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, are produced through the combustion of fossil fuels. In addition to causing "smog," and possibly contributing to global warming, these chemicals have been determined to cause or aggravate human respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and asthma. HEVs, with their increased fuel economy and reduced use of fossil fuels, emit fewer of these pollutants into the air we breathe. And because every little bit helps, your decision to purchase a cleaner vehicle now can have a big impact on the quality of our air in the future.

Q: Where can I find ratings of hybrid vehicles?
A:
A: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) Green Book ® is a valuable resource for comparing fuel-efficiency and other features of passenger vehicles. For a table showing a simple hybrid comparison, see www.greenercars.org/highlights.htm.

Another useful resource is the Federal Fuel Economy Guide website.

 

 
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