Pinching Pennies While Squeezing The Gas Pump

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

With gas prices at record highs, many drivers are looking for an alternative to driving to save a few bucks. Don't fret--there is a way, and it doesn't require giving up driving altogether. We can still get behind the wheel to get to our destination. We just have to become friendlier to the environment by driving a hybrid.

You see it at the pumps. Gas prices tapping in at record levels. What that means to you is more expensive trips hitting your wallet harder than ever.

"Oh, God. They're outrageous, outrageous, and just ridiculous", said Patria Rowe, a car buyer at Brown Toyota in Charlottesville.

Thanks to an increase in crude oil, the national average for unleaded is about $2.10, and can go higher as summer approaches.

Gearing up for summer travel, many consumers are now buying hybrid cars faster than manufacturers can make them.

"You have to actually order your car anywhere from two to six months in advance", said Kevin Coleman, of Brown Toyota in Charlottesville.

According to AAA, in 2004, car dealers sold over 43,000 hybrids, and that's up 25% from the previous year. Virginia follows only California in sales of the fuel efficient car.

"That's kind of something I am looking for. I am about to go test drive one now", Rowe added.

It's not just the savings on gas that have many flooding the dealerships. It's also the savings on your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service says a hybrid owner can save about $2,000 for being enviro-friendly.

Still not up to driving in the fast lane with hybrid? Watch our for that gas pump. "It's really expensive right now. It's really high, but what are you going to do about it? You have to get around", says Allison Orr, a customer pumping gas at Shell.

If you're ready to stop pinching for pennies while squeezing the pump, you should know that the price of a hybrid can range between $18,000 and $30,000.

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