The cost of owning a vehicle gets more expensive everyday. With the rising cost of gas prices and the summer months approaching, many people are weighing their options in regards to what type of transportation would be most cost-efficient as well as comfortable. Many people are turning towards purchasing small cars and SUVs. Hybrid vehicles are also making their mark on the car lots.
Although they are much more expensive to initially buy than a non-hybrid car, hybrids can save people money in the long run (depending on how long a person wants to keep their vehicle). Some studies are showing that in order to make purchasing a hybrid vehicle financially worth it, gas will first have to hit $7.00 per gallon or higher. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “Sales of gas-electric hybrid vehicles during the first three months of this year accounted for just 2.5% of total U.S. light-vehicle sales, according to Autodata, which tracks sales data.”
The U.S. Department of Energy recently named the Top Ten EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers for 2011. The vehicles are ranked by city, then highway MPG. The electric cars are not considered for this list the Department notes. While most of the vehicles ranked are smaller cars and sedans, a few SUVs did hit the list. The Toyota Prius was ranked number one with 51 city mpg and 48 highway. Second in line was a three-way tie between the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid, and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The top SUVs came in at number six, which consisted of the Ford Escape Hybrid FWD, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD, and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD. At the bottom of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Top Ten list is the Nissan Altima Hybrid, the Lexus RX 450h, and the Honda CR-Z, at numbers eight, nine, and ten.
The United States is quickly trying to come out with the next best fuel-efficient vehicle. As The Wall Street Journal stated, “Gloria Bergquist, vice president of communications and public affairs for the industry group, said the equivalent of $8-a-gallon gas in Europe drives consumers to purchase smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in larger numbers, resulting in an average fuel economy of 36 mpg. In the U.S., relatively less efficient sport-utility vehicles and car-based crossover utility vehicles outsell small cars by 1.7 to one.”
The United States is currently in the process of determining whether or not gas prices are bad enough to create larger fleets of fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles. The average price of gasoline in the United States today “stands at $3.844. Carmakers say the price of gas in the U.S, is still too low-compared to personal incomes-to establish a mass market for advanced-technology vehicles such as plug-in electric cars. General Motor Co.’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid has a sticker price of $41,000 nearly double the price of a similarly sized Chevrolet Malibu,” as The Wall Street Journal reported. With this said, the country is not yet ready to turn over completely to the hybrid automotive world.