How do using clean energy and driving a hybrid car compare?


For many of us, living a more sustainable lifestyle hasn’t always seemed to be within reach. Between busy schedules and unpredictable days, adding green habits into the mix can seem overwhelming. But we’re here to change that. We’re going to take a closer look at how much of an impact you can make by driving a hybrid car instead of a traditional, gas-powered vehicle. And how this switch compares to switching to clean energy.

What it really takes to fill up your gas tank

Let’s start by talking about gas-powered vehicles. Believe it or not, when gasoline was first introduced in the US in 1859, it was considered an unnecessary byproduct of kerosine distillation and typically thrown out. But once cars came into development around 1892, gasoline finally made a name for itself as a useful fuel to power combustion engines. And as cars grew in popularity (and accessibility), so too did the demand for gasoline. The result? Gas stations began cropping up across the country to serve travelers all the gasoline they needed to make their way from point A to point B.

Over time, as a result of engine developments and chemical innovation, gasoline started to be mixed with substances like lead. The problem was that, as we now know, lead contributes to severe health problems, so it was eventually phased out in favor of unleaded gasoline. In another effort to improve the impact of gasoline, ethanol was brought into the mix as a renewable fuel component. But because ethanol only makes up around 10% of gasoline used in cars, its renewability is largely outweighed by the negative environmental impact of the other 90%.

Our dependence on gasoline to power our cars has big consequences for the health of our environment, and this is mainly due to its production of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned for fuel. In fact, for every gallon of gas that you use in your car, around 19.6 pounds of CO2 is released into the atmosphere, which when you add it all up contributes heavily to climate change.

How do hybrid cars save the environment and move us forward?

Luckily, the negative impact of gas-powered cars on the environment has become a big point of interest for environmental activists, politicians, and consumers trying to minimize their carbon footprint. And this attention has gone a long way in gaining greater support for the development of more renewable, environmentally friendly fuels and car engines. This includes hybrid cars. The benefit of a hybrid car is that it utilizes both gasoline and a rechargeable electric motor to power it, rather than solely relying on gasoline. As a result, they contribute a substantially lower amount of emissions. In fact, by driving a hybrid car instead of a gas-powered car for one year, you could prevent the equivalent of 5,177 pounds of CO2e, or 2,587 pounds of coal, from being burned into the Earth’s atmosphere. And that makes a big difference.

How can solar energy help fuel hybrid cars?

One of the biggest obstacles to upgrading from a traditional gas-powered car to a hybrid car is accessibility. Though they have become more price accessible in recent years, the reality is that many people may not be able to afford or even be in the market for a new car. But we have good news.

Using clean energy is not only financially accessible, with flexible plan options and usage reports that help you save energy (and money!), but it is substantially more impactful than switching to a hybrid car. In fact, supporting clean energy for just one year will help you prevent 8,000 pounds of coal from being burned into the atmosphere, which is a one-and-a-half-times greater impact than you’d have by driving a hybrid car. Plus, making the switch to clean energy with Inspire takes less than five minutes, and your impact can last a lifetime.

When it comes to making the greatest amount of impact for the least amount of effort, using clean energy is the obvious choice. Learn more about signing up for clean energy with Inspire and how other green behaviors compare to using clean energy on our green behaviors blog.