The Worst Hybrid Vehicles

All things nice and everything nice, this phrase became associated with Hybrid vehicles. However, it was recently known that this statement might actually be not-so-true when information about some hybrid models that proved to be not-so-economical.

Chevrolet Tahoe 2-Mode Hybrid – Most consumers would have thought that when hybrid vehicles emerged into the market, it would be the very answer to every SUV owners’ fuel consumption dilemma. This belief gave a stronger effect when hybrid SUVs found their way into the market once more. Compared to standard SUV models, Chevrolet Tahoe boasts a 2-mode system allowing the vehicle to operate in 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive, gaining 40% improvement, at 20-21 miles per gallon. At a starting price of $50,490 MSRP, you could own this 2-Mode Hybrid baby. However, no matter how positive the modification can be with Chevrolet Tahoe, most consumers may not expect the same fuel economical benefits since this vehicle still cannot surpass nor even match the economic wise advantage of other hybrids can offer. While other hybrids continually amaze their owners for the gallon/mile consumption wonders, i.e., average of 50 miles per gallon, Chevrolet has evidently failed to pass the 2-Mode Hybrid as a cost-effective and ecologically-wise hybrid. With these factors in mind, prospective buyers should think it over first before investing on this hybrid. Would you still want a Major Brand of Vehicle, with a major deduction from your pockets?

Honda Accord Hybrid – How could you purchase a hybrid vehicle when they have not even passed their initial emission tests? This has been the case of Honda Accord Hybrid. In an attempt to modify the problems of the emissions unit, the model was temporarily retracted from the market by its makers. Unfortunately, despite Honda’s effort to regain the Accord’s hybrid image, the vehicle according to some reports in the internet, was said to have failed the emission test once again. Taking this into consideration, we should be well aware that a vehicle’s failure in emission test will cost you more money. First of all, the repair cost has to be shouldered by the owner, apart from this, there is also the cost to conduct the emission test once again. Three emission test failures mean you are in trouble – because it would mean that you will not be allowed to drive the vehicle legally. There is no sufficient info for consumers if Honda Accord Hybrid is still available in the market. Should you wish to check on their website homepage, prospective consumers find themselves looking at low-emissions Honda Coupe model, which is by the way a non-standard hybrid, when they search or click for a Hybrid models. A consumer must be very careful in the process of choosing Honda Accord Hybrid, especially with news such as non-passing of emission test for the first test still looms in the market.

Yes, we can be rest assured that most of the other hybrids available in the market have passed emission test in most of the states, and therefore are true to their name as hybrids. However, there will always be thorns among the roses, and these two hybrids are unfortunately considered as the thorns. Thorns in the ecological system as they have certainly failed the first stage of passing emission tests and thorns to the pocket of the poor consumers who have misleadingly invested for these type of vehicles without knowing the pros and cons.

If you are not yet one of those who have purchased these types of Hybrids, consider yourself lucky and now is the right time to exercise your right to choose. If fuel consumption and eco-awareness is one of the factors you have in mind in buying a Hybrid, then do your share of researching before investing on these vehicles. Remember, this is your money and it is indeed worthwhile to be extra careful before splashing out on these high-priced and yet, not-so-hybrids.

Natural Gas Vehicles Are Beating Out Electric Vehicles for Consumers Top Pick

Consumers have been selecting natural gas vehicles over electric vehicles at a rate of two to one. By year end there will be approximately 123,600 natural gas vehicles on our nation’s road as compared to 65,500 electric vehicles. Despite the lack of marketing or fueling infrastructure for natural gas, it is now the first choice among consumers looking to alternative ways to fuel their vehicles.

The drop in natural gas prices has helped fuel the demand; beating out the more heavily marketed and federally funded electric vehicles (EVs). Four years ago President Obama unveiled his vision of 1 million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by the 2015 and pumped $5 billion into funding for electric cars. In February the Obama admiration proposed the tax credit for plug-in vehicle be increased from $7,500 to $10,000 and also extend the credit to other alternative vehicles like natural gas.

In response to the higher demand from motorist, Honda began showing it’s Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle in car showrooms across the country, where previously it had only been marketed as a fleet vehicle. It is currently the only NGV sedan on the market. Honda says the marketing is paying off big for them, and sales of the vehicle are continuing to break new monthly highs. Although the choices are few for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, it should be pointed out that conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles can be retrofitted for CNG. If natural gas is available at your home you can install a pumping station inside your garage.

CNG is safe or at least safer than gasoline, Although CNG is flammable, it has a narrow flammability range, and if released by accident it quickly disperses making it less likely to ignite than gasoline. CNG is also non-toxic, it dissipates when released and will not leak to contaminate soil and water supplies.

The natural gas used in vehicles is classified into two types compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas(LNG). According to fueleconomy.gov “eighty-seven percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S.is also produced here; which greatly reduces are dependency on foreign imports. It is 60%-90% less polluting than traditional fuels. With 30%-40% less greenhouse gas emissions and is less expensive than gasoline. At the present time the main disadvantages of CNG vehicles is the lack of facilities available to pump the gas, fewer miles to the tank and few choice available by auto makers.

All gas vehicles depend on fossil fuel. The natural gas obtained from drilling is a fossil fuel and while no fossil fuels are considered to be renewable resources because of the millions of years needed for the earth to produce them; natural gas is primarily methane and methane gas can be produced as a renewable resource. Methane gas is currently being collected from landfills and produced from rotting vegetation and animal manure.

CNG vehicles are cheaper to operate than conventional vehicles and burn cleaner than gasoline vehicles. Electric vehicles running on electricity alone put out “0” emissions at the tail pipe, but the electricity providing that power is generated at power plants running off fossil fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy states that “PHEVs (plugin hybrid electric vehicles) and EVs (electric vehicles) typically have a well-to-wheel emissions advantage over similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.

However, in communities that depend heavily on conventional fossil fuels for their electricity generation, PEVs (Plugin Electric Vehicles) may not demonstrate a well-to-wheel emissions benefit.”

The switch from diesel to CNG is the larger trend for cities and municipalities across the country. The U.S Department of Transportation provides grants for upgrading mass transit and many cities are already using those dollars to advance their fleets over to CNG vehicles.

The future for NGV remains uncertain; although the advantages seem clear, reduce dependency on foreign oil, cleaner energy for the environment, lower cost to fuel. The largest drawback is the lack of infrastructure for refueling. As government agencies along with private fleet owned vehicles begin to convert vehicles from gasoline to NGV the private sector will also begin to benefit from their expansion. Improvements in refueling technology and engine performance will also soon follow. It will likely be the consumers, who ultimately decide our next energy of choice.

Does Your Hybrid Vehicle Qualify for Full Tax Credits?

Not all 2007 tax credits for hybrid vehicles are the same, even if the taxpayer bought the same car. How is that possible?

The 2005 Energy Act providing tax credits for new hybrid vehicle owners include qualifications that the owners must meet. Some of the qualifications such as the following are clear cut.

1. The vehicle must be bought on or before 12/31/10 and driven or used after 12/31/05.

2. The tax credit may be claimed only by the original owner of the new hybrid. A preowned or used hybrid vehicle does not qualify for the credit.

3. In order to take advantage of their credit, some first time owners of hybrid vehicles might have to recapture their tax credit if they resell their hybrid car or truck.

4, The vehicle must be driven mainly in the United States.

5. If a hybrid vehicle is leased, the leasing company has the right to claim the tax credit, as the credit is only available to the original purchaser of the hybrid vehicle.

So far the hybrid owner only needs to take basic precautions. But the Energy Act goes farther and places other qualifications to consider such as the date of purchase and number of hybrids sold per car manufacturer.

The number of hybrids is limited by 60,000 hybrids per car manufacturers that may be claimed for taxes. Two hybrids that have met the 60,000 mark in June 2006 are Toyota and Lexus hybrids. Buyers who purchased their Toyota hybrid or Lexus hybrid before October 1 will have 100 percent of their tax credit. While buyers who purchased their hybrids on or after October 1 will have a tax credit that is reduced by 50 percent.

That means that some buyers of a new Prius or Lexus hybrid vehicle will qualify for the full $3,150 tax credit. While other buyers of the same vehicle will receive only a $1,575 tax credit. Therefore, the amount that the taxpayer may claim is not only based on the amount the vehicles qualifies for but also is based on the date the hybrid was purchased.

It should be noted that the tax credit will not last forever, but will be phased out by 2010. This is hurried along by reducing the amount of tax claims until it is gone.

For example, after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim the full amount of credit for that first quarter. For the second and third quarter after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim half or 50 percent of the tax credit. During the fourth and fifth quarter, the taxpayer may claim 25 percent of tax claim. After the fifth quarter the 60,000 vehicles are sold, no tax credit may be claimed.

A further limitation in claiming a tax credit is based on the type of vehicle purchased. This involves the amount of reduced emissions and fuels saved by the said vehicle. Only the type of vehicle is considered. Price is not a factor. You would guess that the more expensive hybrids would bring a higher tax credit. But, this is not always the case. For example, a $40,000 Lexus RX 400h hybrid commands a maximum of only a $2,200 tax credit.

Another consideration in limiting tax credits is the Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM), which may disqualify some other taxpayers.

Other hybrid manufacturers such Honda, Ford, GM have not meet the 60,000 limit and still qualify for the full amount. You do not have the same considerations, at the present time, that others such as Toyota hybrid owners must contend with.