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60% of car buyers would purchase hybrid
$1,000 extra is limit, study says.

By Rick Popely
Tribune Staff Reporter

"As a debate about fuel efficiency standards rages, 60 percent of new-car buyers say they would purchase a hybrid electric vehicle that gets better mileage than a conventional model, but most of them said they do not wan to pay more than $1,000 extra for the benefit.

Those are key conclusions in a study released Wednesday by auto industry researcher J.D. Power and Associates on hybrid vehicles, which use electric motors to supplement a gasoline engine, increasing fuel economy and lowering emissions.

Nearly one-third of those who said they would strongly consider buying a hybrid vehicle say they would do so even if they fuel savings did not cover the cost of the hybrid technology."

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<http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0203060113mar06.story?coll=chi%2Dbusiness%2Dhed>
 
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Everybodies case is different. I used these figures: 15000 miles driven a year (I drive about 20000.) $1.35/gallon of gas here in Los Angeles. I have averaged 51.5/mph in my Prius over 7500 miles so far. My 1998 Honda Accord EX-V6 got more like 24/mpg. This computes to $843.75 gas expense for the Honda vs. $393.20 for the Prius. A difference of about $450. It would take only a bit more than two years to make up that $1000 in gas savings!
There are a number of variables working here. My driving habits have changed to maximize mileage since getting the Prius. I rarely excede 62mph on the highway(I'm in the slow lane pretty much exclusively.) Often drove 75-80 in the Honda. I live in Los Angeles which is warmer than a lot of areas in the U.S. Still I would expect that for a large percentage, that $1000 would be made up over the time most people own their cars and more so. I think the $1.35/gallon is a good average. Over two years I've seen a high of $1.90 and a low of $.89. That low came immediately following 9-11, so I don't think that's likely (let's hope) to happen all that frequently.
This, however, does not include any additional service cost down the line. The figures aren't in yet because very few North American (and possibly European) owners are out of their warranty periods yet.
Still, I feel positive about this car and it makes me happy that more and more people are becoming aware of the technology.

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