Hybrid cars have been a popular choice for environmentally conscious drivers. The principle of an automobile running on two kinds of propulsion is nothing new but the idea has gained traction as car companies are racing to offer improved fuel economy. Mild hybrids such as the General Motors cars equipped with eAssist can shut down the fuel-burning engine automatically but reengage it when the accelerator is applied. Vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are described as full hybrids. A full hybrid can run on an internal combustion engine alone, solely on an electric motor or with a combination of both. The third and final kind of hybrid is the plug-in hybrid, first introduced into mass production with the Chevrolet Volt. A plug-in hybrid is essentially a short-range electric vehicle with an internal combustion engine and runs mainly on its electric power source until it is exhausted. The internal combustion engine provides the driver with a considerably greater driving range than a pure electric car. Since plug-in hybrids can run solely on an electric charge for a reasonable distance, these types of hybrid cars will likely provide the greatest fuel mileage. While hybrid cars are usually cheaper to operate than an equally performing gasoline-only vehicle, the hybrid drive technology results in a higher upfront cost.
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