Gas price woes turn consumers on to new wave of hybrid vehicles

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA - As increasing tensions in the Middle East and Africa cause gas prices to continue to rise , the sales of more fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S. mirror this increase.

"Once it cost three dollars a gallon, we saw a definite increase," said Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota.

"It makes people very nervous. These vehicles start to look more attractive, because people say if this continues to go on, it will be a better return on my investment," added Michael Scaglione, the General Manager of Ed Morse Honda.

"We're probably selling twice as many Priuses as we did on a monthly basis, six months ago," said Stewart.

For those concerned about trading in power and a fun driving experience for good gas mileage, local dealerships say don't worry. There are plenty of both in the new hybrids.

"Manufacturers have found out how to make these automobiles more fun to drive, more power, more creature comforts. It's set up like a formula one race car. It's got a triptonic shifter, you can get a six-speed transmission. If you want to really drive it aggressively, like a Porsche, it will certainly do that," said Scaglione.

In other words, these aren't your daddy's hybrids.

"The same technology as we advance, gets cheaper and cheaper for the manufacturer to build the cars. That is going to be the future, conserving energy," said Scaglione. "The gasoline engine just charges the battery. An electric motor has more torque than a gasoline engine," added Stewart.

Which means, for those driving hybrids, the pain at the pump, should shift, from your wallet, to your accelerator.


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