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Discussion Starter #1
Nothing new here, but it was front page.


Gas prices soar, hybrid fever spreads and buyers' waits stretch
Paul Levy, Star Tribune
March 13, 2005 HYBRID0313
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With Twin Cities gas prices peaking at $2.27 per gallon last week, hybrid cars have never seemed more enticing. They're quiet and environmentally friendly and get superior gas mileage in stop-and-go traffic.

But try to find one.

The 2006 Lexus RX Luxury Hybrid will not be available until next month. But at Lexus of Wayzata, more than 300 prospective buyers have made deposits and are sitting on a waiting list that's expected to stretch for a year before the people on it have their cars.

The Toyota Prius, which gets up to 60 miles per gallon, has been available in the United State for five years, yet the wait to buy one in the Twin Cities is six to eight months. Hopkins Honda had never sold two hybrid cars in one day until a week ago Saturday, right after Twin Cities gas prices broke the $2 barrier.

Scott and Debra Kildahl pick up their new hybrid Accord.Duane BraleyStar TribuneAnd if you want to buy a hybrid Ford Escape, as of late last week, there were only two known to be available among Twin Cities Ford dealers -- one in Forest Lake and one in Shakopee.

"We more than doubled the number of Priuses registered in Minnesota from 300 in 2003 to 641 last year, but we could have sold 10,000 of them, if we had them," said Dan Williams, Toyota's district sales manager for the Twin Cities.

The demand for hybrid cars, which feature fuel-efficient gas engines combined with electric motors, is expected to increase with this weekend's opening of the Auto Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center, not to mention predictions of $2.50-per-gallon gas by summer.

Several new fleets of hybrids may soon roll: Ford has plans for a hybrid Explorer and Toyota will unveil a hybrid Highlander in a couple of months, with hybrid Siennas and Camrys to follow.

Mercury, General Motors, Dodge, Mazda, Nissan and Chevrolet plan hybrids within the next three years, according to the eartheasy.com website. But additional choices may not make it any easier for Twin Cities' dealers to meeting buyers' demands.

Once considered a politically correct fashion statement driven by environmentally conscious celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who owns four hybrid cars, hybrids are now being championed by the likes of former CIA director James Woolsey, and others who warn about our dependency on foreign oil.

But with the concern about air quality, places like Minnesota have been left in the dust when it comes to hybrids, which often get better mileage in the city than on the open road. The majority of the new hybrid cars are being shipped to California, New York and other states where air pollution problems are considered more serious, Williams said.

Other regions were offering the Ford Escape six months before the hybrids were introduced to the Upper Midwest, where there's now a six-month waiting list for them, said Brad Akers, regional operations manager for Ford.

Why not here?

In their rush to market to urban areas in the Northeast and California, manufacturers may have underestimated Minnesota, a strong proponent of ethanol and ways of keeping pollutants out of the air.

"Travel away from the Twin Cities, where you're driving through the country and the hybrids are running on the gas engine more often than not, and Minnesotans still want them," Akers said. "Our hybrid Escapes are selling like hot cakes in Fargo."

Because of the hybrids' scarcity, customers know they have no bargaining power with dealers. In the case of the hybrid Honda Accord, for example, they have to pay for extras like leather seats whether they want them or not.

Customers also quickly learn that some hybrids cost thousands more than traditional models. The hybrid Honda Accord, for instance, has a list price of $30,500 while the comparable, but nonelectric, Accord EXV6 lists around $27,200.

Still, Minnesotans haven't been shy about lining up for the hybrids, said Peggy Wilson of Hopkins Honda.

A birthday present

On Saturday, one of Wilson's customers, Scott Kildahl Jr., was picking up his new hybrid Honda Accord, a 50th birthday present to himself. Kildahl, a Golden Valley auto technician, spent six months researching hybrids before buying the $30,500 Accord.

"I didn't think the hybrids had any power," he said, "but this drives like a regular Honda."

Toyota's Williams said the hybrid Highlander is expected to have more power than the conventional model.

Rob Manning, an executive with Shop NBC in Eden Prairie, was more concerned with the environment than power when he bought his 2005 Prius, for which he waited 11 months.

"I drove a gas-guzzler that got 15 miles per gallon," he said. "For me, it was worth the wait."

Linda Bauer, a nurse from White Bear Lake, said she loves the "quiet" of her 2005 Prius "when the engine goes off, the battery takes over and I don't have to do a thing."

She said there were 100 people on a waiting list when she made the $500 deposit on her Toyota, which she received nine months later.

"It costs me maybe $12 or $13 to fill my gas tank and then I don't worry about a thing," she said. "I'm getting 45 miles to the gallon on average, and that includes all driving.

"It's just the greatest and if you don't believe it, try driving one. You just wait."

Six to nine months. Maybe a year.
 

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Hep said:
On Saturday, one of Wilson's customers, Scott Kildahl Jr., was picking up his new hybrid Honda Accord, a 50th birthday present to himself. Kildahl, a Golden Valley auto technician, spent six months researching hybrids before buying the $30,500 Accord.

"I didn't think the hybrids had any power," he said, "but this drives like a regular Honda."
What research did he do? Read GM press releases?
 

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Hep said:
Nothing new here, but it was front page.

They have newspapers in Minnesota ? In the winter ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
An04Prius said:
Hep said:
Nothing new here, but it was front page.

They have newspapers in Minnesota ? In the winter ?
Supplies the outhouse.
It can also be stuffed inside the parka for extra insulation.
8)
 

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Hep said:
Supplies the outhouse.
It's cold *AND* you all share one toilet? :shock: :!:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
exhuman said:
Maybe just a tad Off Topic!

Any of you Minnesotans celebrating St. Urho's Day tomorrow?
A fellow Finn!
Yah, you bet I will celebrate for Urho poyka.
http://www.brownielocks.com/urho.html (warning...annoying music on this site, mute first if you are at work)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
melgish said:
Hep said:
Supplies the outhouse.
It's cold *AND* you all share one toilet? :shock: :!:
Two holes. Missery loves company. :shock:
 

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Hep said:
exhuman said:
Maybe just a tad Off Topic!

Any of you Minnesotans celebrating St. Urho's Day tomorrow?
A fellow Finn!
Yah, you bet I will celebrate for Urho poyka.
http://www.brownielocks.com/urho.html (warning...annoying music on this site, mute first if you are at work)
Play an accordian, go to jail, that is the law.
 

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An04Prius said:
Play an accordian, go to jail, that is the law.
And a darn good law it is, too. Purple beer or no.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This St. Urho statue is in my Dad's home town. I learned to swim in the lake just a couple hundred yards from there. Happy St. Urho's Day everyone.

That is not me in the picture. The guy nor the statue.
 

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I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
An04Prius said:
I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
Been there lately? With climate change, Minnesota is moving south. Milder summers and shorter, milder winters. Buy your retirement property in sunny Minnesota. It will be perfect in 2030!
 

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Hep said:
An04Prius said:
I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
Been there lately? With climate change, Minnesota is moving south. Milder summers and shorter, milder winters. Buy your retirement property in sunny Minnesota. It will be perfect in 2030!
whoops ! if you knew how old I was, you wouldnt suggest I plan ANYTHINg for 2030 :lol:
 

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An04Prius said:
Hep said:
An04Prius said:
I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
Been there lately? With climate change, Minnesota is moving south. Milder summers and shorter, milder winters. Buy your retirement property in sunny Minnesota. It will be perfect in 2030!
whoops ! if you knew how old I was, you wouldnt suggest I plan ANYTHINg for 2030 :lol:
So how much is a calendar year in polar bear years?
 

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An04Prius said:
I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
It keeps out the riff-raff :_>
 

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Hep said:
An04Prius said:
I was in Minn, twice actually. Rochester. Beautiful countryside, clean streets, highways & parks, nice pleasant people, great schools, outstanding medical care, great culture, symphony orchestra, and a terrible place to live. (ice, snow,cold).

Why did they put all that nice stuff in a place where even Polar Bears cant take the climate. :roll:
Been there lately? With climate change, Minnesota is moving south. Milder summers and shorter, milder winters. Buy your retirement property in sunny Minnesota. It will be perfect in 2030!
I predict that we will live to see date palms growing along Hennepin Avenue. (Hey, I was right about light rail!)
 
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