The Hybrid Car: Hype or Future?

Automakers are betting that hybrid cars will grow from a niche market to the next line of "must-have" vehicles.

"Hybrids, suddenly, are becoming the feel-good phenomenon of the decade...hybrid sales have more than doubled so far this year compared with the same period in 2004. And some industry experts foresee a hybrid in every garage, though others think it could all be one big fad. It's no secret that hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which has both a battery-powered motor and a conventional gas engine--and averages close to 50 mpg--have earned cultlike devotion from a growing niche of conscientious car buyers. Now, a number of automakers, led by Toyota, Honda, and Ford, are betting that a new lineup of hybrids will become America's next must-have vehicles...
< br />Higher gas mileage may mean fewer stops at the filling station, but that doesn't mean hybrids necessarily save money. The battery pack, extra motor, and other technology that come with a hybrid typically add $3,000 to $4,000 to the base price of the car. Even with gas at more than $2 per gallon, fuel savings may not pay for the premium."

Thanks to Abhijeet Chavan

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