How Efficient Are Hybrids? And What’s the Best Hybrid Available?

Hybrid cars aren’t exactly new–the ones we’re familiar with have been around for about 10 years–but more and more, they’re becoming the go-to option for drivers in the market for a new car. It’s easy to see why, too. Hybrid cars are better for the environment and they’re great on gas. Fuel efficiency is one of the main reasons drivers spring for a hybrid, but picking the best vehicle isn’t as simple as going with the car that gets the most miles per gallon. If you’re considering a hybrid car, these are a few things you should think about.

Hybrids vs. Traditional Cars

When considering fuel efficiency, modern traditional cars are nothing to scoff at. Ford’s mid-range sedans, the Fiesta and the Focus, get 28 and 26 city MPG, respectively, while SUVs get 5 to 10 MPG less on average. Hybrids, however, blow these cars out of the water. The hybrid Ford Fusion gets a whopping 43 city miles per gallon, which is fairly representative of typical hybrid fuel efficiency. In effect, that means a lot less hassle for the driver. A hybrid car that gets almost double the mileage means you’ll spend half you normally would at the gas station.

Plug in for Better Mileage

What makes hybrids so efficient is a little complicated, but here’s the gist: Hybrids draw power from both a gas engine and an internal battery, and the battery receives charge from actions like braking. But what if you could charge the battery not only through your driving habits, but externally, too? That’s the idea behind plug-in hybrids, a newer variant of hybrid cars that are exactly what they sound like. By plugging in your car, just as you’d charge your phone or laptop, the car builds up a reserve of energy, making these cars astronomically fuel efficient. For example, the C-MAX Energi, which can operate on either gas, electric, or in a combination mode, gets a whopping 95 city MPG while operating on electric.

The Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles

So, what are the most fuel efficient hybrids? As you can see, it depends on the type of hybrid you choose to get. If you’ve never owned a hybrid and you’re not ready for a “full commitment,” the Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid offer a traditional fuel-powered experience at about 42 MPG. However, if you’re totally sold on the idea of using as little fuel as possible, you might be ready to spring for a plug-in hybrid. In that case, the Fusion Energi is Ford’s most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid at 104 MPG.

Other Factors to Consider

Deciding on a new car isn’t an easy choice, and while fuel efficiency might be a high priority for you, it isn’t going to be the only factor in your decision. Although hybrid vehicles might get much better mileage than traditional cars, they tend to be more expensive. So, while you’ll save money in the long run, you’ll face a larger upfront cost. How long it takes for you to recoup that cost in gas savings depends on how often you drive. It’s also important to remember that your driving habits influence your car’s fuel efficiency, so two drivers aren’t guaranteed to get the same mileage out of the same model car.

Are hybrid cars worth it? The answer to that question depends on factors such as your budget and the experience you want out of your car. Nevertheless, for more and more drivers each year, the answer is a resounding “yes!”

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