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Hybrid vehicles: The green way to drive

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Green for the earth, green in your wallet

With gas prices high, and a spreading awareness of the need to lessen our carbon footprint, hybrid vehicles are a good option if you're in the market for a new car. Lisa Drake, chief engineer at Lincoln, gave us the latest info on hybrid cars.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Some of the old "rules" on hybrid vehicles -- for example, that the really high price tag mean years had to pass before the gas savings became worth it -- no longer apply to today's hybrid cars. Lisa Drake, who is the chief engineer for Lincoln, shared some information on hybrid technology. Keep reading to determine if a hybrid vehicle is for you.

What is a hybrid vehicle?

We all know what the word "hybrid" means in general, but what about in relation to our wheels? How Stuff Works explains it simply: "Any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power that can directly or indirectly provide propulsion power is a hybrid." For vehicles, it's generally one that is gasoline-electric.

The cost of a hybrid

While there was a time when the cost of a hybrid vehicle was noticeably greater than a gas one, that's no longer the case. "Lincoln was the first luxury automaker to offer a hybrid vehicle with the same basic price as its gasoline counterpart," Drake explains. "Both gasoline and hybrid versions of the MKZ have the same suggested retail price, a huge value for consumers."

The long-term savings

Now that you know a hybrid vehicle doesn't have to cost more up front, what about the long-term savings? "The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a great example [of long-term savings]," explains Drake. "It's the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. Because it uses gas only at higher speeds -- above 47 miles per hour -- you can expect to get around 700 miles on a single tank of gas." That sort of gas mileage would leave us smiling as we filled the tank.

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More than just money

While consumers often purchase hybrid vehicles for the monetary benefits, it's about more than just money. "When it comes to the environment, at Ford we are absolutely committed to continuously improving the fuel efficiency of all our Ford and Lincoln vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Drake.

Additionally, hybrid cars can be manufactured in a way that is consistent with environmental awareness. "[The MKZ Hybrid] is an environmentally friendly car, thanks to the advanced hybrid system, but it's environmentally friendly in other ways as well," Drake notes. "For example, the incredibly soft, handstitched exclusive leather seats and interior are produced by a sustainable tanning method."

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The future of hybrid and electric

When asked whether she believed that one day hybrid and battery-powered vehicles would overtake gas ones, Drake was cautiously optimistic. "We have certainly seen a rise in the popularity of hybrid vehicles in recent years, she said. "Going forward, Ford has an aggressive global hybrid and electrification plan to introduce new electric and hybrid vehicles that consumers desire."

Tell us

Do you drive a hybrid or electric car? What are the benefits? Any drawbacks? Share in the comments!

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