Are hybrid cars good for highway driving?

Hybrids are not necessarily bad for highway driving, but they are built primarily for urban driving environments. This means that hybrids still offer lower emissions on highways, but the fuel efficiency is not far from a regular combustion car.

If you are solely planning to buy a hybrid for long-distance driving, then it might not be worth the extra costs. However, if you only intend to use it for occasional highway driving which means that the majority of your driving time is done in the city, a hybrid could be a good idea.

Despite not being able to take advantage of better MPG results on the highway, hybrids are still decent for pretty much every driving scenario. If you want a perfect long-distance cruiser, you should opt for diesel instead as they tend to offer the best highway driving characteristics.

Hybrids are made for urban driving environments

As stated previously, hybrids work best under 50-60mph because the combustion engine does not need to work all that hard. Above 60mph most hybrids tend to deliver poor economy because that’s not what they are built for. Even so, you should experience MPG similar to a regular combustion car while cruising on the highway.

The initial reason why hybrids came to fruition is more due to ever more rigorous emissions regulations which created a market for more efficient vehicles. Only later did Honda and Toyota realize that fuel efficiency should actually be the main selling point of a hybrid.

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While driving slowly, you can also take advantage of regenerative braking which is a feature designed to harness lost energy in processes such as braking or shifting gears. Specific traction motors are attached to the wheels which generate energy while slowing the car down.

This also translates into hybrids and EVs being different to drive on a day-to-day basis because a regular combustion car does not have such a feature. The closest thing to regen braking in a regular car would probably be engine braking, but the intensity differences between the two are fairly broad.

Electric cars and highway driving

EVs are the new kids in town, and as such, one tends to ask many questions about what EVs can or can not do. For starters, they can be great cruisers because they don’t have a droning engine in the background, furthermore, they also offer a bunch of futuristic driving assistance systems which do help take the strain of long-distance driving.

However, they are limited by subpar range, so much so that a diesel car with a large tank can sometimes offer twice as much range compared to an EV. Besides range issues, EVs also take a long time to recharge while regular diesel and gas-powered cars take minutes to recharge.

You can always be sure that a gas station is not overcrowded and that it’s almost always in business. On the other hand, charging stations are a mixed bag, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. You can also systems arrive at the charging spot only to see a small traffic jam of EVs waiting to be charged.

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Diesel cars and highway driving

Diesel cars are often overlooked because they are revered for their agricultural sounding engines which are usually found on commercial vehicles. However, in the EU diesel cars have always been popular because they offer the best highway fuel efficiency.

Many sources state that diesel engines tend to be 20-30% more fuel-efficient on highways when compared to hybrid cars. As mentioned previously, hybrids work best in urban driving environments which mostly consist out of slow stop-and-go traffic.

Although diesel prices are high, if you often do long-distance driving, it still makes sense to opt for a diesel. Diesel fuel is more power-dense which makes it better for long-distance cruising. Gasoline-only cars can also be great for highway driving in certain instances.

Be that as it may, the Ford Fusion offers up to 700 miles on a full charge and a full tank. This means that you should take this information as a general overview, and not a 100% certainty. It all depends on the specific car and the specific powertrain in question.

FAQ Section

Should I buy a hybrid?

It depends on your distinct usage scenario. If you are mostly driving in the city, a hybrid might be a good idea because it enables you to take advantage of the hybrid platform. On the other hand, if you are mostly doing long-distance driving, you ought to skip buying a hybrid and opt for diesel instead.

Another issue with hybrids is that there just aren’t all that many of them around and the fact that they also tend to be boring and rather lifeless. Of course, there are a few hybrid supercars these days, but such cars are only reserved for the most fortunate ones.

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How to drive on a highway?

At first glance, one might think that highway driving is like any other type of driving, but there are a few highway-specific tips you should incorporate into your driving. It is always best to drive at a continuous speed because it makes the trip most relaxing and it also works best for better fuel efficiency.

Besides this, you should always keep a safe distance behind the car in front, and always use your turn signals when changing lanes. If your car does not have specific blind-spot monitoring systems, always be sure to check your blind spots before merging or changing lanes.

Is highway driving better for your car than urban driving?

Yes, it is because it usually takes more time which means that the engine tends to stay at its optimum temperature. Moreover, highway journeys are also beneficial for cleaning out your particulate filters because they enable the car to breathe more.

City driving is not bad for your car per se, but cars are not built to drive short distances because the engine requires optimum temperatures. It’s the same with EVs and hybrids, optimum temperature and consistent driving are best for your long-term car reliability.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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