PRO/CON: Should you buy a hybrid car?
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Lori Williamson knows all about the financial strain at the pump - of course, this was before she went hybrid.
Williamson, a librarian at the University of Houston Victoria, owns a black Toyota Prius III and is thankful for getting more miles to the gallon, especially when gas prices continue increasing.
"I've had a hybrid for one year now, and I'm very happy with it," she said.
Hybrid cars, such as the Prius, have been around since 2001 and have gained popularity over the years, said John Hook, general sales manager at Blackwood Toyota.
The Victoria Toyota dealership just received the newest Prius model, the Prius C, which puts this newest model at less than $20,000.
"It's a car you don't have to adapt to," he said. "It makes the car more popular."
The Prius C arrived in February, and Hook said Toyota averages about six or seven hybrid sales each month.
People typically lean toward Prius' because of the lower pollution emission and, of course, the more miles per gallon.
Most cars average about 30 miles per gallon, while Prius' average about 50 miles per gallon. The reason is because Prius' do not idle like gas-fueled cars. Once idle, the hybrid's electric motor kicks, saving gas, Hook said.
Unlike some newer hybrids and all-electric cars, Prius' are much easier to handle, he said. It drives like a regular car that is energy efficient.
"It does what you're used to in a car," Hook said.
For Williamson, her car is more than just a gas-saving, eco-friendly car.
Before owning her Prius, Williamson owned a Ford Escape and would fuel up much more often.
With her Prius, she finds herself fueling up once every three weeks at about $35, unless she plans to make a long road trip.
She had originally wanted a Prius at the time she purchased her Ford Escape, but realized it was not in her price range. But as gas prices rose, she decided it was more economically feasible to pay more up front and save more monthly.
"The only hesitation in buying the hybrid was a slightly higher vehicle cost than I usually pay, but really, with all the features, both in safety and aesthetics that you get, it's still a bargain," she said.