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Gas Prices Got You Feeling the Blues? Go Green!

By: Stephanie Menendez
Is filling up that SUV driving you to bankruptcy? Are rising gas prices forcing you to consider selling your car and buying a skateboard? Well, here’s the answer to your problem: Go Green, environmentally that is, with a Hybrid/Electric vehicle,

Environmentally green cars are no longer for the “granolas” and “tree huggers” of the world. A new generation of Hybrid vehicles, mainly the Toyota Prius, has brought gas/electric hybrid vehicles into the garages of stars such as Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio as well as the driveways of regular suburban families. With slick new designs and plenty of trunk space, the car turns out to be a perfect fit for everyone, from soccer mom to chic rock star.

What’s this going to cost me?

Although hybrids are relatively higher in price compared to a regular sedan (the M.S.R.P. on a Prius is about 21,000 and the Honda Civic Hybrid costs $3,000 more than it’s less environmentally friendly alternative), there are tax breaks offered to owners of “clean fuel vehicles.” That’s right; you can claim $2,000 off the price of your brand new vehicle.

Gas savings are also another factor. The average person will put about $1000 of gas into a sedan, while a Hybrid will take about $600, giving owners a saving of about $400 a year.

Are you ready for the bad news?

Unless you’re Justin Timberlake or some other super fabulous person, you’re going to wait a couple of months before you can get your super new car. There is already a long waiting list for a Lexus SUV due out next year as well as a hybrid Toyota Highlander. Plus, car manufacturers are taking advantage of the craze over these green vehicles and jacking up prices on these ultra trendy cars.

But how do these things work?

Certain models, like the Prius, automatically switch back and forth between using gasoline or electricity. Other vehicles will use a constant combination of gas and battery power. This new era of combination cars has ended the frustrating days of plug-in electric cars.

That’s right, gone are the days of plugging your car in every night hoping the batteries would be charged by the morning. Today’s variety of gas/electric vehicles recharge automatically while you drive! In fact, every time you hit the breaks, your car recharges. This happens due to regenerative breaking, where the energy from slowing the car down is used to juice up the battery.

What’s coming next?

Several car manufacturers are jumping on the hybrid wagon, creating hybrid versions of already existing cars and…get this…SUV’s and trucks. Included in the list is a Hybrid version of the Ford Escape, due out in the second half of 2004 as a 2005 model, and several Chevrolet model cars and trucks, not due out until 2007.

Sources: New York Times
www.consumerreports/org
www.bankrate.com

 


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