Hybrid cars — the half-gasoline-powered, half-electric vehicles that were mocked by many when they first appeared on the road — are becoming more and more mainstream. Honda is coming out with a hybrid version of its popular Civic model, and GM, Ford, and Chrysler are set to come out with their own hybrid vehicles in the next couple of years.
Honda says its hybrid Civic will cost about $1,500 more than the conventional model. But with gasoline prices soaring, it could more than make up for it at the pump. The hybrid delivers 46 miles per gallon in the city and 51 on the highway — compared to the original civic, which can only boast 33 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway.
City drivers are beginning to take notice of the hybrid car — its higher fuel efficiency and strong acceleration from 0 to 30 make it an appealing option to those just driving across town. Are hybrid cars on the road to replacing the conventional gas-guzzlers we drive today? Or are the hybrid's backers heading down a dead end street?
John DeCicco, lead author of "The Green Book: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks",Senior Fellow at Environmental Defense
Paul Eisenstein, veteran auto writer and publisher of thecarconnection.com
This program aired on April 24, 2002.