Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gasoline prices delaying 'green' cars

Thirty-seven percent of consumers say high gasoline prices have them thinking about replacing their cars with more fuel-efficient vehicles. And half of those say they are considering a gasoline-electric hybrid, according to a new survey by Consumer Reports.

But when cost-conscious consumers actually look at hybrids, many of them will be turned off, predicts Douglas Love, a spokesman for Consumer Reports.

The first generation of hybrids, such as the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, "were designed from the start to deliver great fuel economy," Love says. These cars use electric motors to supplement small gasoline engines for significant increases in mileage.

Although the tiny two-seater Insight is being discontinued, the Prius continues to fly off dealer lots, often at a premium over the sticker price. The Honda Civic Hybrid, another model designed mainly for mileage, is also selling well, but that's partly because of a redesign that has boosted sales of all Civics, including the non-hybrid version.


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