Those who know cars, know that the term "hybrid" does not necessarily mean fuel-efficient. But did you know the Chevrolet Silverado Classic Hybrid, the most fuel-thirsty hybrid currently being built, gets 16 mpg? That's only 1 mpg better than a non-hybrid 5.3 liter Silverado. So why is it we're supposed to pay extra for the hybrid badge? Must be for extra weight and replacement cost of those batteries. (In fairness, the Silverado Hybrid's selling point was never fuel economy, but rather its ability to be used as a work-site generator with four electrical outlets.)

Forbes goes through several hybrids that aren't exactly Greenpeace members, but the magazine sometimes is a bit off base. On the list is also the ever-popular Toyota Highlander Hybrid as an example of a vehicle with a lighter shade of green. That said, the 4WD version has an average of 26 mpg, 7 mpg better than the non-hybrid version. No, not a spectacular difference as seen in something like the Honda Civic's 29 mpg and its hybrid sister's 42 mpg.

But then the Highlander keeps its 3.3 liter V6 in both versions, has 4wd and carries bunches of stuff. The Civic hybrid, on the other hand, gets those sky-high numbers with a smaller engine than the conventional Civic and has a CVT transmission.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you just want to look green, the options are numerous. But if you're serious about burning less gas, you'll need to make some sacrifices.

[Source: Forbes]


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