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Why This Is Not The Best Time To Trade Your Gas-Guzzler For a Hybrid

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A couple of years ago I was mad about getting a Toyota Prius, by then the only hybrid car on the market. A few years later I changed my mind to the gorgeous design and good fuel consumption of Honda Civic’s 2007 hatchback. But that’s not the only reason I did not go for a hybrid… yet.

Hybrids are more expensive for the moment (I’m referring to full hybrids, not their mild versions). Another aspect that you have to consider when thinking to buy one is that at the speed things are going in the auto industry nowadays, in a few years your brand new hottie with a battery will be worth next to nothing. So it’s the best that I wait right now… and I’m not the only one having this thought.

“The best advice for a fair portion of people is to think through the long-term picture and hold to a gas-guzzler for next few months,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy online automotive editor at Consumer Reports, in an exclusive interview with HybridCars.com.

Bartlett’s advice is based on a survey of more than 1,000 adult car owners in the U.S., and says that right now, with the climbing of climbing gas prices, gas-guzzlers sell cheap and hybrids are still expensive, so the price difference won’t cover itself too easily from the gas savings hybrid cars offer.

92 percent of the survey participants said they wanted their next car to be more fuel efficient, from an average of 23 mpg to an average of 29 mpg. If a car dealer told an European that 29 mpg would be “economical,” not only would he get sworn and spit in the face by the customer, but he’d go bankrupt in the next couple of weeks (unless the cars he sells are state-of-the-art luxury SUVs). Well, more or less, I may exaggerate, but Europeans usually expect values in the range of 40 to 50 mpg.

Although the story is different in the U.S., this survey shows that the American auto industry and public preferences are getting on the right track and in greater consensus with the rest of the world.

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