Hybrid Car Sales Increase

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With gas prices reaching as high as $3.07 in parts of our viewing area, it's no surprise that car shoppers are now down-sizing their taste.

A couple of local car dealerships say sales of smaller model cars, especially hybrids, are at an all-time high.

You won't see many hybrid cars when looking around most local sales lots.

The reason lately: they're often sold out and car dealers say this happens when gas prices are on the rise.

Jim Skinner Honda Sales Manager Tim Rigsby said, "We saw that last August when gas went to $3 dollars and we sold all of our Hybrid inventory and most of our four cylinder cars, the Civic and Accord."

This year is shaping up to be much of the same. Only, sales representatives are expecting even more demand on gas-saving vehicles because of the continuing gas price trend.

It’s a trend they believe is the main contributing factor to a change in buyer's habits over the past two years.

"It's not something that came up that often during the course of the sale, people asking what kind of gas mileage they would get,” Rigsby says. “But since last year's spike in gas prices, that's been a question that's asked quite often."

Take a Toyota Prius; it's said to get as much as 60-miles per gallon in the city.

Compare this to most other smaller model, four-cylinder cars, which get between 20 and 35-miles per gallon and the average is more than a 30-mile per gallon difference. That’s enough of a savings for the demand to continue.

Toyota of Dothan Sales Manager Andy Garcia says, “We even have people that come in and make pre-orders; they order the vehicle before they even come in."

Another contributing factor is time.

Car dealers believe an increasing number of people will continue to buy hybrids as they become more comfortable and aware of the technology.

Another thing to consider; the time it takes to re-coop the money you spend on a hybrid is much less now than it was two years ago. The reason? Because you're saving on gas, plus there are savings offered at most dealerships and you can also get a tax credit for certain brands of the car.

Hybrid model cars cost about $2000 dollars more than a regular model car.

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