Gas prices drive hybrid sales up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gas prices drive hybrid sales up

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April 4, 2007

Albany--  Even with the drop in oil prices this week, gas prices continue to rise. President Bush is calling for a nationwide push to end US dependence on foreign oils within ten years. He wants more investment in alternative fuels and more support of fuel-efficient vehicles. Many South Georgia drivers are already backing that plan.

It's not even a surprise anymore. "It went up 11 cents in a day," said driver Desmond Day.

Gas prices. Desmond Day still gets a shock. "I just spent $50 on 19 gallons of gas," said Day.

Many drivers are using the bumpy prices at the pump to transition to a smoother, more economical vehicle.

"Whenever the gas prices go up, our sales go up," said Fairway Toyota Sales Manager Larry Holman. Nationwide, Toyota sold a record number of vehicles last month, with a big boost from sales of hybrids. Sales Manager Larry Holman says the trend is the same in South Georgia.

"They're doing very well. They're up over last year," said Holman. With three hybrid vehicle choices on their sales lot, people have been flocking here to take a look.  Some for newer technology. Some to help the environment.

"Others are looking for better fuel economy," said Holman, "all you have to do at this point is push the power button to start it."

Toyota's Prius Hybrid offers fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon on the highway and up to 61 miles per gallon in the city. "A lot of folks that want the hybrid are folks that do a lot of in town driving and that's where the hybrid is most effective," said Holman.

And with a gasoline and electric component, mileage doesn't necessarily all go to one component. "This is the hybrid system and this is the gasoline," said Holman while showing what's beneath the hood.

But that still isn't enough for Day to split with his gas-guzzling SUV.

"I'll just buy a used car, or a bicycle, one," said Day. However others are joining in on the trend to reduce their dependence on high gas prices by buying a hybrid.

A Toyota hybrid can range in price from as low as $22,000 to about $40,000 for their Hybrid SUV.  

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