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PHOTO CAPTION: 2009 Toyota Corolla is top-selling car in U.S. market because of its price and fuel economy.

Are Hybrids Worth It?

No hybrid vehicle made Top 10 least expensive vehicles to operate on an annual basis, according to Edmunds.com

Published: 28-Dec-2008

Consumers searching for fuel-efficient vehicles are looking more closely at hybrids, industry surveys show, and car dealers say they can sell all of the alternative vehicles that carmakers crank out.

Some buyers are wooed by the environmental plus of burning less fossil fuels, but it takes years of driving for fuel savings to offset higher hybrid sales prices — and that's true even with gas at $4 a gallon.

Hybrids, which combine gasoline engines with battery-operated electric motors to boost gas mileage, usually cost thousands of dollars more than comparable gasoline-only cars.

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For more than 20 years, Porsche has paid annual fines totaling $57 million for failing to meet the federal corporate average fuel economy standard. In 2006, it was fined $3 million for its fuel-thirsty Cayenne and $1.6 million for its cars.

The 2009 model will be the first small SUV to use the powerful new hybrid system GM recently unveiled in its large SUVs and pickups.

The newly developed full parallel hybrid system will consist primarily of the battery unit positioned in the luggage compartment, the power electronics, and the hybrid module between the engine and transmission comprising an additional clutch and the electric motor.

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