As the cost-of-living crisis continues, the rising price of petrol has been a concern for many Australian households, especially those who require a vehicle for daily commutes.
Electric cars could serve as a viable solution to this expense in the future, when buy-in costs reduce. In the meantime, hybrid cars, which run on a combination of both fuel and electricity, are a cost-effective solution that many Australian households are considering. According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), about 81,786 hybrids were sold in Australia in 2022, a 16% increase from the previous year.
Geelong couple, Storm Cotton and Benjamin Champion, are among the many Australians getting on the hybrid bandwagon, having recently purchased a Toyota Corolla Cross. High fuel prices were the main reason behind their decision to switch over. Storm, a chemist who works in Melbourne, was spending more than $150 on fuel each weeks commuting from Waurn Ponds to the CBD.
“I think there were times where petrol was well-over $2 a litre,” Storm said. “We have a mortgage, plus bills and other expenses, it was getting quite ridiculous.”
“Hybrids still require fuel, so the cost is still there but it is not using as much as our previous car did,” Benjamin added. “Our pockets don’t hurt nearly as much.”
However, cost wasn’t the only factor in Benjamin’s decision to switch to hybrid. As a mechanical engineer and a self-confessed car geek, he had some knowledge of how the vehicles worked. But it was a test-drive of one of his workmate’s own hybrids that convinced him to change.
“Getting to see the ins and outs of how it works is one thing, but being able to drive was just really cool. Such a smooth ride, miles better than our old car that’s for sure,” he said.
When asked if they would recommend others change hybrid, both agreed it was a solution people should consider, however they warned to be aware of a long wait time. They ordered their hybrid car in 2022 but, due to increased demand and shipping issues stemming from the Covid pandemic, they did not receive it until May this year.
“That long wait time might turn people off, but we honestly felt like it was worth the wait,” Storm said. “Looking at how things are going to go over the next 10 or so years, investing in a hybrid feels like a step in the right direction.”