Hybrid cars are red hot in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hybrid cars are red hot in South Georgia

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Albany -- As the price of gasoline skyrockets, so does the demand for hybrid cars. Hybrid sales in the United States nearly doubled last year.

Southwest Georgia car dealers say they can not keep the fuel efficient gasoline and electric model hybrids on the lot.

We could only find one new hybrid car in Albany. Albany Honda Sales Manager Dexter Cutts said "demand is definitely exceeding supply."

Albany Honda has this Accord on display at an East Albany bank, but probably not for long. Customers don't haggle. Cutts said "Don't shop prices much on hybrids. It's like, if you've got one, I'll take it."

Fordtown and all the other new car dealers in town who sell hybrids were waiting for more to come in, but most of those have already been sold. Fordtown Sales Manager Brian Willian said "Whenever we get a hybrid it's gone within a day or two."

Hybrids are powered by internal combustion engines, but have electric motors to assist, powered by batteries recharged while driving. Most get more than 40 miles to the gallon, and put off fewer emissions. Willian said "You also get a tax credit because it is fuel efficient. So there are a lot of different reasons people are looking for that product."

But soaring gas prices are the number one reason South Georgia drivers are looking at hybrids. Cutts said "It almost doubles your gas mileage of what your normal car is getting right now. So it helps a lot."

Ford still sells gas guzzling models like Expeditions, but are offering up to 11 thousand dollar rebates to get people to buy them. Willian said "Folks need trucks, then need big vehicles, so I think there will always be that type of market."

Across town, Albany Honda has plenty of used S.U.V.'s for sale. Cutts said "People trading them in to get a smaller car, something more fuel efficient."

Hybrids are more expensive. This Accord lists for more than 30 thousand dollars. But higher mileage and tax credits for buying fuel efficient cars have caused sales to soar. If you can find one.

Japanese brands account for more than 96% of the hybrid cars sold in the United States. American auto makers plan to introduce a dozen new hybrid models over the next three years.

· Compare Hybrid Vehicles Side-by-Side

· Howstuffworks "How Hybrid Cars Work"

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