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On the market since 1999, the hybrid car combines a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor. Environmentally friendly, hybrid cars ingest less gasoline and emit less toxins than traditional engines. Because a hybrid engine also gets tremendously greater gas mileage than a standard gas engine, these cars are becoming increasingly popular with the public.

The standard hybrid car is a completely electric vehicle. It has an electric motor to deliver the power to the wheels, and batteries that furnish the motor with electricity. There is also an entirely separate gasoline engine that delivers power to the generator. A hybrid engine produces no more than 10 to 20 horsepower opposed to the 100 to 200 horsepower engines of conventional cars. The gasoline engine is extremely tiny, and is created to go at a set velocity for ultimate efficiency. When the car speeds up, the batteries supply the excess power needed. As the car slows down, the batteries replenish themselves.

The hybrid does have certain disadvantages. One such problem is weight. The hybrid car has to carry the burden of the electric motor, the generator, the gasoline engine, plus the batteries. All this combined can weigh several hundred pounds.

Presently, hybrid cars cost from $3,500 to $6,000 more per vehicle than cars with standard gas engines. The amount of money saved is solely determined by current gasoline prices. While hybrid buyers are saving on gas, the battery in their vehicle is much more expensive than a traditional car. Hybrid batteries can range from as low as $1,000 to as high as $8,000. The outrageous price is most likely due to the current popularity of the hybrid car.

The government is offering tax cuts to those who purchase hybrid cars through the year 2006. The tax break will depend on several factors including the tax bracket you are in, and year you file.