Plug-in hybrids are all the rage in a certain segment of the auto industry. The excitement comes from the simple idea that plugging in a car to power it would obviously go a long way in reducing our reliance on foreign oil. That being said, the plug-in hybrid vehicle is a controversial idea.

The modern hybrid car has become a massively popular choice in the consumer world. The car is touted and popular for two reasons – it gets much better mileage than internal combustion engine only cars and the pollutants produced are also significantly less. If a car that runs partially on an electric motor is good, one that runs primarily on a charge would be much be better, right? Well, that’s what some people think and the plug-in hybrid is the result.

The idea behind the plug-in hybrid is to be able to get a charge from your home, work or power station by literally plugging into an outlet. The idea has been around forever, but momentum started building when people started converting their hybrids to plug-in approaches on their own. Seeing a trend, Honda, Toyota and the like have started moving in this direction as well.

The obvious question is whether a plug-in hybrid is a good thing? At first glance, it seems so. The car requires little gasoline to the extent that it is expected to get over 100 miles per gallon. The use of the electric motor to propel the car also dramatically eliminates pollutants and greenhouse gases. So, it is all good, right? Not really.

A closer look at the plug-in hybrid offers some troubling issues. The key is to consider where the electricity is coming from. The vast majority of energy in the electric grid of the United States is produced by coal powered plants. While going plug-in reduces our need for foreign oil, we are simply replacing one fossil fuel with another.

There is the secondary issue of the nature of the grid itself. The electrical grid in the United States is in bad shape. The stimulus packaged passed in early 2009 contains money to work on it, but not nearly enough to do everything required. Adding strain to the grid makes little sense at this point as there is no indication it can service it. While plug-ins represent a small drain, it is still a drain!

Plug-in hybrids sound like a great thing at first glance, but a closer look reveals there are some definite questions that need to be contemplated. If you are solely looking for superior fuel mileage, they make sense. If you are hoping to cut down your carbon footprint, they simply don’t.

About the Author:

Thomas Ajava writes for - where you can find a hybrid car dealer near you.

Article Source:The Controversy with Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles