Don’t Like High Gas Prices? Buy A Hybrid

According to lots of news over the past couple of weeks, that’s what a lot of folks are doing. Forbes, for example, had this feature on “pump-busters”, where they showcase fuel efficient vehicles of all types and sizes. They also break down the component costs of a gallon of fuel:

But what exactly are you paying for? According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), every time you slip a nozzle into your gas tank, 43% of your outlay is for crude oil. Taxes are the next biggest chunk (26%), followed by refining costs (23%). The remaining 8% is to pay for distribution and marketing.

And in St. Petersburg, Florida, gas prices are leading consumers to shop for hybrid vehicles.

Knox Wimberly, sales manager for Palm Harbor Honda, said interest in the gas-stingy cars has surged along with gas prices, which hit another record high Friday in the Tampa Bay area: $1.717 for a gallon of unleaded fuel, according to the Automobile Association of America.

Purchases of the Civic Hybrid at the Palm Harbor dealership have increased 300 percent in the last month, and auto shoppers who want one will have to wait about 45 days, Wimberly said.

“We have environmentally conscious people who come in looking for hybrids,” Wimberly said. “But most of the time, it’s people who figure out that they can actually lower their monthly expenses by buying one of them — particularly now that (gasoline) prices are approaching $2 and they don’t appear to be going down any time soon.”

David Trachtenberg, a sales consultant at Precision Toyota in Tampa, said the number of people inquiring about the Prius, which can go up to 650 miles on its 11.9-gallon tank, has doubled in the last year. About a dozen people are on Precision’s waiting list for the hybrid.

“We’ve given away every single brochure we have on the vehicle,” Trachtenberg said. “And every single Prius built for the next eight or nine months nationwide has already been sold.”

The American International Automobile Dealers Association confirms this experience.


4 thoughts on “Don’t Like High Gas Prices? Buy A Hybrid

  1. Bah. Even at $1.76 per gallon, hybrids don’t make any financial sense. Even at 50+ mpg, the payack period is never.

    I would like a couple of the cheaper features of hybrids in my car, like the CVT transmission and the auto-start that shuts the engine off at lights and in traffic and starts it back up automatically when traffic starts moving again. These features improve city mileage a bit and cost just a little bit more.

    I also like the cylinder shut off feature on the new Chrysler 300C Hemi. When you are cruising on the highway, 4 of the 8 cylinders are shut off. When you need power to pass, the other 4 cylinders kick back in.

    None of these features costs more than a few hundred dollars each, and they may increase your mileage by a few mpg each. Despite having 330 hp, the 300C gets 25 mpg on the highway, which is not bad for a full size car (it is substantially bigger than an Accord or a Camry).

  2. I’m looking forward to Ford’s hybrid SUV due out next year. It uses many of the same components as the Prius. Yes, I know there’s no payback period at $1.76/gallon. I look at it as a form of insurance. Possible candidate for a second car.

  3. I heard Senator Boxer-shorts on television the other night saying that she had a 50 mpg Toyota and that all you yahoos should be forced to go out and buy one right away and that would solve all of our problems.

    Of course it wont and you cant. Replacing a 35 mpg civic with a 50 mpg Hybrid is not that big a deal. Replace a 12 mpg H2 with a 30 mpg Camry (manual 4 cyl) and you have climbed a lot of the mountain. Further, switching new cars does not solve any problems anytime soon. Only about 5-7% of the fleet turns over in any given year.

    Changing technology does not change behavior. It does not help to drive a hybrid if you drive it farther or or make more trips because it does not have adequate capacity.

  4. I forgot to add. I wonder if the Senator knows that her car was made in Japan. Outsourcing, Horrors.

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