Hybrids dramatically boost fuel economy by combining battery power with a traditional gasoline engine. Not only can they cut fuel costs, but they can cut your tax bill, since owners of hybrids can claim a special federal tax deduction.
Those looking to pare down at the pump with a hybrid can get help nabbing one by going online. Services like America Online, for example, have a dedicated area that lets you search availability nationwide and look for good deals on hybrids.
Alexis Maybank of AOL Autos offers other tips for how to leverage the power of the Internet to find the hybrid that's right for you.
• Consulting a trusted industry expert. Sites such as Edmunds.com are good resources for hybrid pricing and rating information. Consumers can get detailed pricing information for their hybrid of choice along with an editor's rating and consumer rating for each vehicle. They can also access helpful articles and information on everything from optimizing mileage to the future of hybrids.
• Getting a hybrid's history. Before you buy your hybrid, however, it's always a good idea to get a vehicle's history. You can access a CARFAX Vehicle History report online that will reveal any problems your potential purchase may have.
• Maximizing your hybrid's efficiency. As with any car, there are ways to improve fuel economy. Drive the speed limit-it's not only safer but boosts mileage. Keep the A/C off as much as possible. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and check the pressure every week. Also, make sure you keep up with your oil changes and other routine maintenance.
Hybrids aren't the answer for everyone. If gas prices remain high, they can be an economical alternative for many. And, they are within reach, if you know where to look.