Surge in hybrid owners on horizon

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Eco-warriors will be delighted with the news that hybrid cars are soon to undergo a surge in popularity, according to a new study from oil company Exxon Mobil.

The company released its annual energy report recently, which revealed that by 2040, low emission cars will make up half of all vehicles on the roads.

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'Honda stock. The Japanese car company today (Monday) announced that its net income has fallen by 55% to 60.4 bn yen, due to the strong yen.'PICTURE TAKEN ON MONDAY 31 OCTOBER 2011

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'Honda stock. The Japanese car company today (Monday) announced that its net income has fallen by 55% to 60.4 bn yen, due to the strong yen.'PICTURE TAKEN ON MONDAY 31 OCTOBER 2011

The news is likely to be particularly welcomed by environmental groups, many of whom have repeatedly expressed worries over the impact of the environment our over reliance on oil and petrol has. The idea that many car owners will switch to a hybrid, coupled with the increasingly advanced science behind fuel alternatives, means that it is expected that developed countries will be able to stabilise their energy demand over the coming 30 years, with countries such as the US expected to undergo no significant rises in oil consumption.

Aside from the impact on the environment, this news will also be received well by economists and financial experts the world over. Increased energy efficiency and lower fuel consumption is thought to be linked to financial growth and the economy. The report suggested that while worldwide-GDP would grow by a rate of 2.9 per cent a year until 2040, energy demand would only grow by a comparatively smaller 0.9 per cent.

However, there is some bad news. Exxon Mobil predicts that developing countries will not be able to stabilise their energy demand in the same way as more developed ones, due to the expense of funding research into fuel efficiency and in switching to a more sustainable method. Indeed, developing countries are expected to increase energy demand by 60 per cent between now and 2040, unless switches to a more sustainable method can be made quickly, easily and inexpensively.

Either way, the news that hybrid car numbers are to increase so significantly is a notable one for the industry, especially for those companies that have already invested large sums into developing their low-emission models. Companies such as Honda already have a range of hybrids on the market, while the increased demand is certain to lead to a wider range of models and technologies available.

The reasons for the sudden demand for low emission vehicles may be connected to the economy, specifically the fact that many household budgets are tighter than ever. Hybrid cars are traditionally cheaper to buy and run, meaning that many families may be investing in them as a way of cutting back on their transportation budget. Lower fuel consumption is often considered the biggest draw in low emission cars, but many people don’t realise that they are cheaper to run in other areas too. Many insurance companies will offer discounts to eco-friendly vehicles, while road tax may often by cheaper too. For those living in London, the congestion charge is not applied to cars with a hybrid engine, making getting around the capital a significantly cheaper undertaking.

Many owners will also be investing in a hybrid car simply because of their green credentials. While it can be difficult to be eco-friendly all the time, incorporating it into your daily life certainly makes things easier. A car that is kinder to the environment is easier than relying on traditionally eco-friendly buses and trains, meaning that busy parents will be able to reap the benefits of owning a car without the residual eco-guilt.

Whatever the reason for the hybrid increase, fewer deadly gas emissions and a rise in worldwide GDP is certainly news that most people will be happy about. At a time when depressing and bleak headlines seem to dominate the newspapers, something positive offers a much-needed change of pace, which will surely help to cheer up those sick of the ‘doom and gloom’ mood of the media of late. Whatever the future holds, a more optimistic outlook is certainly something to be welcomed.