High Gas Prices Boost Demand For Hybrid Cars - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/29/04

High Gas Prices Boost Demand For Hybrid Cars

Gas prices continue to climb. For the second straight week, there's a new record high price at the pump. The nationwide average is now $1.80 a gallon. That rising cost is helping fuel the popularity of hybrid cars.

Ed Sexton calls his new Toyota Prius the most fun car he's ever driven. Computers onboard the Prius choose between a 1.5 liter gas engine and a 500 volt electric motor. That hybrid system produces gas mileage to brag about.

Sexton has gotten up to 60 miles a gallon.

"I researched this car for six months before I bought it, and it has surpassed all my expectations. I can't find any downside to this car," Sexton said.

It looks and performs like a normal sedan. The quietness is what attracts the most attention.

"The place it's really turning heads is in the parking lots. Because you pass people, and they do a double take. They can't hear it. It's completely and totally silent."

Toyota is certainly happy with the way its hybrid car is taking off. And it's a safe bet that rising gas prices will continue to drive that demand.

"Probably like standing in line when you go out to your best restaurants and you're waiting for a seat, you don't have any place in the world to sit down," James Hall with Bert Allen Toyota said.

"We don't have enough cars to sell. And the reason we don't have enough to sell is because of the popularity of this automobile."

Ed Sexton is certainly sold. He's convinced others will follow his lead.

"I think more and more people are realizing that this is the car of the future," Sexton said.

There's currently a waiting list at most dealerships for the Toyota Prius. Hybrid cars made by Honda are also in high demand. Ford and Lexus both promise to have hybrid SUV's later this year.

by Steve Phillips

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