By Laura Turner Seydel

Last year when I traded in my hybrid SUV for the much smaller third generation Toyota Prius, I had no idea I was going to love driving a car so much.

When hybrid vehicles were first introduced to the market, my family and I drove an SUV model and I always raved about its fuel efficiency and overall low impact on the environment. I continued to drive my SUV while everyone around me evolved to driving a Prius, including my dad, in-laws and step mom, Jane Fonda, all of whom raved about it and ultimately persuaded me to buy one.

I was hesitant at first – I mean, my SUV was perfectly good to drive and there was little need to get a brand new car – but once I made the switch, I realized how much I had been missing out.

It was apparent in the first week of driving my car how much hybrid technology had advanced from when I purchased my hybrid in 2007.  Sure I saved about $20,000 by buying a Prius (as compared to buying a similar hybrid SUV model that I had been driving), but when I realized that my new car was getting about 51 miles to the gallon versus the 30 miles I had been used to, I was elated.

The smaller details, too, like LED head and tail lights and UV reduction glass, make driving the super energy efficient car that much better.

There are many hybrid vehicles on the market today that boast similar features to the Prius, like the Honda Civic Hybrid. Choosing a hybrid vehicle is not only a great choice for the planet, but it is also a great relief to your checkbook.

On top of saving money from not buying gas as often, a hybrid purchase is available for federal tax incentives, often as great as $3,000.

For more information, visit www.lauraseydel.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.