The crude reality at the gas pumps has more and more people looking into buying a hybrid automobile.
News/Talk 92-3 KTAR’s Bob McClay went for some test drives to put to rest some myths about hybrids.
Carol loves her hybrid, and she said the most fun thing to do is, “Park next to a Hummer. And then just sit there and go, `wonder what that costs you to fill up?’ And, you’re going wherever you’re going with a smug little smile on your face.”
On a test drive, the first thing that’s evident is the quiet. You can’t hear a thing when you start a hybrid, once it’s running, air conditioning is the only thing you hear.
“It alarms people at first because they think, `Did I stall?'” says Josh, who works for a Lexus dealership and took us in a Lexus 400-H SUV.
Josh said you don’t need to do anything special to drive a hybrid.
“Just drive it straight forward. You don’t have to do anything different out of your normal routine.”
Bob, who works for a Toyota dealership, says the real hot seller is the Prius.
“We’ve sold about 150 in the last 60 days,” he says, adding there are waits of up to a month for delivery.
There’s also a waiting list for the Ford Escape SUV.
Misconceptions about hybrids include concerns they are too slow.
This woman owner discounts that. “It has a lot more power than people think it has. I can go up a hill at 75, 80, 85.”
Some people still think you have to plug them in, and Josh has been asked this crazy question, “Do I put in regular gas or electric gas?”
The biggest complaint about hybrids is the price.
Bob says, “Hybrids are more expensive that the traditional gas-powered vehicle. The hope is that you get that entry cost back in your gas savings.”
For example, a Camry hybrid we drove cost $27,000. That’s $7,000 more than other Camrys.
Hybrids are worth it, owners say.
One man who lives in Higley and works in central Phoenix, says he cut gas costs from $65 to $32 a week.
Carol is happy with her mileage.
“I can get almost from Phoenix to Albuquerque on a tank of gas,” she says.
Automakers are testing more efficient hybrid models that could get up to 75 miles a gallon.