Cutting Through the Hybrid Hype

EPA mileage estimates seen not reflecting real world numbers.

Published: 11-Jan-2006

Hybrid gasoline-electric cars are the rage, but they don't appear to be the way to slash your gasoline costs.

While vehicles like the Toyota Prius achieve excellent fuel economy, their owners expect more, with the surprising result that "Excessive fuel consumption" topped the list of complaints for hybrids in J.D. Power and Associates' influential quality survey last year.

The problem is equal parts perception and reality. Many buyers see hybrids' gaudy EPA fuel economy ratings - 60 m.p.g. in city driving for the Prius, for example - and assume the car will cut their gas bill 50 percent or more.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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