We all know that the venerable Toyota Prius is the most well-known of all hybrids on the market today, both in terms of numbers made and its impressive gas mileage. 

But if you’re in the market for a used hybrid you might be surprised to know that a used 2006-2010 Honda Civic Hybrid might be actually better for your family’s health than its more popular rival, the 2004-2009 Toyota Prius 

And here’s why.

It isn’t just about gas mileage

Logic dictates that a car with a high gas-mileage  physically consumes less gasoline per mile driven than a car with a low gas-mileage, right? 

On paper, it makes perfect sense. Less energy in equals less waste -- but what gas mileage figures can’t tell you is how much of the gasoline which goes into the engine comes out of the tailpipe as harmful gasses.  

CO2 is important...

Lately, we’ve become rightly preoccupied with the carbon dioxide emissions of a car.  

After all, increasingly large concentrations of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is cited as the number one reason for increased global temperatures -- otherwise known as global warming. 

And for the average U.S. home, the number one source of CO2 emissions outside of air travel and public transportation is the automobile. 

...but it isn’t the only tailpipe gas

Los Angeles Smog

Los Angeles Smog

Carbon dioxide may be slowly turning our planet warmer, but when it comes to human health far more harmful gasses exit a car’s tailpipe.

Among them are sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates, all of which contribute directly to respiratory problems in densely-populated urban areas. 

As for smog, the well-known haze you see over a large city on a warm day? That’s caused by the above exhaust gases and particles interacting with ultra-violet light to produce harmful secondary pollutants. 

Better air quality despite lower fuel economy

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid produces more CO2 but less combined air pollution than the 2008 Toyota Prius.

In other words, if you’re looking for a car that will help your neighborhood’s air pollution improve, you may be better off buying a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. 

Of course, this is all relative. Both cars offer extremely good fuel economy and low emissions when compared to mainstream gasoline cars -- but the only way to truly improve your local air quality is to either drive less, use public transport, or use a form of transport that produces little or no air pollution.

But given the fact that the Civic Hybrid is often lower priced on the used market than a comparable Prius, a used Civic Hybrid should certainly be on your list of cars to try if you want to buy a used hybrid.  

Check out our reviews of both the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid and 2008 Toyota Prius over at our sister site The Car Connection.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.