There is a common misconception that hybrid vehicles cannot be driven on highways. The people who believe this myth are thinking of electric vehicles rather than hybrid vehicles. The truth is that hybrid vehicles can drive on highways just like conventional vehicles.
When it comes to a fully electric vehicle with no internal combustion engine, it won’t be able to drive on faster roads like highways. It has an electric motor that can only generate enough power to do basic in-town and city driving for a couple of hours before the battery needs recharging.
On the other hand, a hybrid vehicle uses both an electric motor and gasoline engine. That means you can drive your hybrid vehicle on the highway because the gasoline engine will supplement the extra power needed for faster driving. This is power that an electric motor is not capable of producing on its own.
The engine and electric motor basically work together to make the hybrid more economical and fuel efficient. However, the fuel efficiency of a hybrid only seems to be better when it’s driving at slower speeds. Highway driving tends to make hybrids less fuel efficient because they’re consuming more gasoline. Some hybrid models may use a little bit of electric power to assist the engine on highway driving, but not that much. Most of the power from highway driving is generated by the internal combustion engine.
Tips for Highway Driving
So, does this mean you should never drive on the highway because you’re burning more fuel and producing more carbon emissions? No, of course not. You can still drive on the highway, but you should be cautious of how your driving. If you want to make your highway driving experience a more fuel efficient one, then you need to follow a few key driving tips for hybrids on highways.
1) Stay at the Same Speed
The number one way to drive better on the highway in a hybrid vehicle is to maintain the same speed. Use the cruise control feature of your vehicle to make this easier.
Gasoline is consumed by the engine each time you put pressure on the accelerator pedal. If you’re constantly riding the accelerator as you’re driving on the highway, then your engine will constantly be burning fuel and lowering your fuel economy. But if you activate cruise control or maintain a steady speed, it’ll put less demand on your engine and you’ll consume less fuel as a result.
2) Drive During Rush Hour
If you really want to save money on gasoline while driving on the highway, then try to do your driving during rush hour. This is the time in the late afternoon when highway traffic is usually bumper to bumper or slow moving. Since hybrid vehicles activate their electric motors when the speed is slow, then it is one way you can use your electric motor on the highway and not your engine.
Of course, if you hate waiting in the traffic on the highway, then you probably won’t like this idea. But it is something to consider if you’re serious about having fuel efficiency on the highway in your hybrid.
3) Reduce the Load
Hybrid vehicles should not be carrying a heavy load, whether they’re driving on the highway or around town. It is even worse when you’re driving at faster speeds on the highway and carrying a heavy load because it’ll require the engine to generate enormous amounts of power. That translates to enormous amounts of gasoline getting consumed in order to help make this happen.
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Just remember that hybrid vehicles are really no different than gasoline vehicles when it comes to highway driving. But if you follow these few tips, you might be able to gain a few advantages with your hybrid vehicle.