The fight against high gas prices may lie with hybrids

If you are thinking of purchasing a car anytime soon you may want to look further than your average Camry or Accord.

As gas prices continue to rise, students are looking for a cheaper alternative. The new hybrid fuel-efficient cars may be perfect for your wallet and for the environment.

They run off less gas and are built with both gas and electric motors. Any vehicle is a hybrid when it combines two or more sources of power. Hybrid cars run off a rechargeable battery and gasoline. This means more money for you and less gas for your automobile.

Hybrid engines are built smaller to accommodate the 99 percent of time when not going uphill or accelerating quickly. They use the battery to provide extra acceleration power when needed, which is why the average hybrid gets about 60 mpg. Regular cars only average 30-35 mpg.

When the car is stopped, hybrid gasoline motors can shut off and run off their electric motor and battery. Hybrid cars are often lighter and more aerodynamic; tires are often stiffer and inflated higher to reduce drag.

Hybrid cars automatically recharge their electric motors every time the driver brakes; no plug-in or long extension cords are necessary.

Legacy Toyota of Tallahassee Senior Sales Manager Ralph Moss commented on how these cars don’t seem to be any type of fad or temporary trend.

“I don’t think there’s anything faddish about the cars. We have already sold out of the Scion, and there is a 60-person waiting list for the Prius.” These hybrid cars are here to stay and are selling out fast. The cars start at about $23,000 and can go up to $28,000 depending on the order.

It is no secret that once you graduate and enter the “real world” life gets expensive, and that entry-level position may provide you with just enough to get by. A gas-guzzling automobile is the last thing a graduating senior needs.

Gas prices are higher than most students can afford.

“My car fills up on probably about $30 with gas at its current rate, but I think those cars are pretty cool and right on time,” said Ronnie Lunford, a social science student from FSU.

Gas is not getting any cheaper. According to, it takes the average Floridian $30-$35 to fill up their tanks with gasoline currently retailing for $2.28 in Tallahassee. Those prices are not the largest numbers either, that is an average. In California people are paying up to $2.70 a gallon.

Michael Leer, a business administration student from Dallas, said he couldn’t afford to drive his car a much as he used to.

“Before gas went way up I would drive back and forth from my house to campus. I can’t do that now. It costs me $35.00 to fill up my tank and it goes so fast. I just stay on campus for my breaks now.”

These hybrid cars may not be the sleekest, coolest looking cars on the streets, but they will keep some extra money in your pockets. Currently, Toyota has the hybrid market locked up with its Prius and Scion. Competitors like Honda, Ford, Saturn and BMW are looking to have hybrid models out, some by the end of the summer and others in 2006.

Contact Ariel Towns at