Statistics released by an automotive marketing and research company show that registrations of hybrid cars in the U.S. were up 38% in 2007. There are still a relatively small number of hybrids on the road... only about 350,000, or just over 2% of all cars on the road. But as gas prices soar, the likelihood of these numbers growing is great.
The research company says that more hybrid cars aren't on the road because of gas prices, but because of the number of brands introducing their versions of the hybrid. Car companies have come out with hybrid models of the Nissan Altima, Saturn Aura, Lexus LS600h, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon. So now, consumers who were initially considering buying the traditional version of those cars are believed to be crossing over into hybrid land because the choice is finally available to them in the make and model of car that they prefer.
I think one of the drawbacks to early hybrid autos were the small sizes. For a single person or a couple with no children, the small hybrids like the Toyota Prius might be fine. But for families, a small car like that isn't practical. That's why offering a hybrid version of mainstream vehicles makes so much sense.
With today's gas prices around $3.69 locally, I will say that a hybrid is looking more appealing to me. I live very close to work, so I don't really need to worry too much about gas mileage, but it's nice to know that these options are out there.
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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