Augustans choose hybrids to save gas

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Gas prices are going up all over the country.

The national average for regular unleaded gas for the moment is $2.92. That's up about $0.42 from just a month ago.

A year ago, the average was $2.21.

In Augusta, today's average is $2.82. That's a full $0.80 higher than this time last year.

The steady price climb has people looking to find ways to cut costs.

One solution? Hybrid cars.

They're so popular, some local dealerships don't have any on their lots.

News 12's Kate Tillotson show us how those high gas prices are causing an electric reaction.

We drove to three dealerships... Honda, Toyota and Lexus.

All are carrying hybrids and most say they're in high demand.

Take a ride in a hybrid Highlander and you probably won't see or feel much of a difference than in a standard SUV...except for a special indicator.

"That means the battery and the electric engine is running the vehicle right now," explains Bill Clark, sales manager for Toyota of Augusta.

And it's the battery that has drivers looking into these cost-efficient cars.

"We are all pre-sold. We have two coming in and they're pre-sold. They just don't stay in stock," says Clark.

Clark is getting between four and five calls a day about the Toyota Prius. With today's high gas prices, its sixty miles per gallon is a major selling point.

Due to high demand, Toyota has not been able to keep its hybrids on its lot.

And neither has Honda. In fact there's a wait list for its most popular model.

"The cars coming in pretty much sell as soon as they hit the lot," says Mike Troupe, a manager at Gerald Jones Honda.

So just why is the "H" so hot?

Or does it stand for "do your homework?"

News 12 learned the cost of hybrids is significantly higher than their gas-guzzling counterparts, mostly due to the electric technology.

"I guess ours have been average - probably not quite as good as we had hoped," says manager Bill Gibbs of Jim Hudson Lexus.

Gibbs admits his Lexus customers can't ignore a $4500 premium on his hybrids.

"It's hard to justify just the gas savings. Now if it gets to $5 or $6 a gallon, then you can justify."

Regardless, Augustans appear to be choosing the hybrid for the high road...making fewer stops and fewer pops at the pumps.

There are several other ways you can conserve gas.

Avoid rapid can waste gas. Keep your speed to 60 miles per hour or less. And reduce your trips by carpooling or walking, or use public transportation.

All of these tips should help you lower that monthly gas bill.

Saving on Gas
Avoid rapid acceleration
Keep your speed to 60 mph or less
Carpool, Walk or Bike
Public Transportation

Gas Prices

National Average
Today $2.92
Month Ago $2.50
Year Ago $2.21

Local Average
Today $2.82
Year Ago $2.02