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.

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