Hybrid vehicles may bring benefits to city drivers

June 19, 2013 12:00 AM

Hybrids and other environmentally friendly cars come with a long list of well-documented perks. Now, new research from Carnegie Mellon University points to even more advantages that emphasize the payoff that goes along with investing in a hybrid or plug-in car.

The study found that city drivers who regularly find themselves in stop-and-go traffic can reap the most benefits from hybrid vehicles. In fact, purchasing a hybrid car could help these motorists decrease their lifetime auto costs by up to 20 percent while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half.

"The new labels are improved, but no single test can capture all kinds of driving," said Jeremy Michalek, the study's author. "Hybrid and plug-in vehicles will do the most good at the lowest cost if adopted by city drivers who spend a lot of time in traffic. For these drivers, hybrids are a win-win, and the benefits may be much more than the labels suggest." 

On the other hand, motorists who are primarily highway drivers cannot take advantage of the same positives. They have to face higher sticker prices upfront, as well as more expensive costs for vehicle maintenance, without a drastic improvement in fuel economy. 

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