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As hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are gaining more popularity in the market, the rule of the energy management system in the hybrid drivetrain is escalating. This paper classifies and extensively overviews the state-of-the-art control strategies for HEVs. The pros and cons of each approach are discussed. From different perspectives, real-time solutions are qualitatively compared. Finally, a couple of important issues that should be addressed in future development of control strategies are suggested. The benefits of this paper are the following: (1) laying down a foundation for future improvements, (2) establishing a basis for comparing available methods, and (3) helping devoted researchers choose the right track, while avoiding doing that which has already been done.