Those living in the suburbs and enduring a lengthy daily commute probably won’t reap the full benefits of a hybrid powered car compared to those residing in urban areas, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“We found that for highway drivers, hybrid and plug-in vehicles cost more without much benefit to the environment,” says Jeremy J. Michalek, a professor of mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy at CMU. “But for drivers who experience a lot of idling and stop-and-go traffic, a hybrid could lower lifetime costs by 20 percent and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half.”
That’s because a hybrid car’s electric motor does more of the work at slower speeds, with the gasoline engine generally running the show on the highway. What’s more, a hybrid’s engine automatically shuts down at stoplights or while at idle to further save gas.
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