HYBRID MOTOR VEHICLES:
The Next Step in Eco-Friendly Automotive Technology
Formatted, Printed, and Distributed by the Environmental Task Force of Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
1448 E. 52nd St., Box 144, Chicago, IL 60615
uusj@att.net      www.UUsforSocialJustice.org

"Automotive" – rather than "automobile" -- technology is the term which would better describe the utilization of a combined gasoline/electrical method of powering or propelling a motor vehicle – since this eco-friendly technology can be used to power a wide variety of motor vehicles from automobiles to SUVs to trucks.

Currently, there are five different types of hybrid technology that can be utilized by motor vehicle makers:1

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "’mild’ hybrids such as Honda’s Insight and Civic Hybrid employ the first three technologies above. ‘Full’ hybrids, including the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid, go one step further and feature electric-only drive. ‘Plug-in’ hybrids that utilize all five technologies are not currently available as passenger vehicles." 2
More details on buying hybrids can be found in the online article "Green Tips: How to Buy a Hybrid," by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which we’ve quoted in this article. For the macho-yet-environmentally-conscious driver, "muscle" hybrids are available among the SUVs, such as the Toyota Highland Hybrid and the Lexus RX 400h.

Fran Sowa, of Beverly Unitarian Church (Chicago), couldn’t be more pleased about her Toyota Prius: "I love the fact that my Prius is silent and I’m not burning gas at stop lights." And another Prius owner, Ellen LaRue, of First Unitarian Church (Hyde Park, Chicago) voiced similar sentiments: "I bought my Prius two years ago and would do so again in an instant."

"Full" and "plug-in" hybrids are the ultimate goals in hybrid technology. They will go a long way toward eliminating global dependence on fossil fuels and reducing global warming. This is doubtless the way to go for now, along with further development and utilization of mass transportation in this country and around the globe. Other alternatives – such as bio-fuel, methane gas, and hydrogen technology, etc. – are in the works. But for the foreseeable future, hybrid automotive technology should reduce harmful greenhouse gases while at the same time reducing our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels whether from foreign or domestic sources.

1,2 "Green Tips – How to Buy a Hybrid," Union of Concerned Scientists