Hybrids Are Popular (Again)Posted 6/15/2006
By Karin White
With gas prices going up (again), hybrids are looking more appealing every day. According to AAA, as of April 24 the average cost of a gallon of regular gas was $2.90, and analysts are predicting the price of gas will soon soar to more than $3 a gallon. As of March 14, national fuel averages were at $2.36/gallon. A month before that, it was $2.30/gallon, and one year ago it was $2.03/gallon.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States imports 10 million barrels of crude oil per day (July 2004).
Green Car Congress reports there were 17,861 light-duty hybrid vehicles purchased in March 2006, up 7.5 percent from March 2005 (16,619). Federal tax incentives drove up the purchase of fuel-efficient hybrids in 2005. That year, the U.S. government offered a $2,000 tax deduction if you purchased a hybrid and a $500 tax deduction for 2006. (For 2007, there is no deduction under current legislation.)
The 2006 Toyota Prius hybrid carries a price tag of $21,275 and advertises 55 mpg. The Toyota Corolla hybrid has a price tag of $14,000 and offers 36 mpg. When comparing retention value, the Prius (2001 debut) sold for $19,995, and the same year model is now worth $15,058 (75 percent value retention) over a five-year period. You could buy a Corolla for around $12,568 in 2001; it now sells for about $7,496 (60 percent value retention) over the same time period.
The 2005 "How's Your Business?" survey indicates 42 percent of mechanical members believe servicing a hybrid will affect both their business and the industry. Forty-seven percent of mechanical members and 69 percent of collision members believe hybrid training will affect both their business and the industry.
In the meantime, educate your customers on how to keep their cars properly maintained for maximum fuel efficiency. It can help your business as well as your customers' pocketbooks.
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