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PHOTO CAPTION: Honda Insight is currently lowest-priced hybrid in North America.

Economic Bottom Line Shifting Toward Hybrids For More People

Despite $3-5,000 price premium, more new car customers going with hybrids.

Published: 18-Oct-2010

ORLANDO, Fla. — Richard Lamute, sales manager for Classic Honda in Orlando, is used to having customers sit down, pull out a calculator, and figure up the difference between the cost of buying a hybrid vehicle and a regular gasoline-powered car.

For years, the gasoline-powered cars, such as the economical Fit or Civic, beat out the hybrid after they figured how much gasoline they’d save, versus how much more the hybrid cost to buy — often $3,000 to $5,000.

Customers are still doing that, Lamute says, but now they are often coming to the opposite conclusion. "Hybrids have never been more affordable," he said. "Customers are finding that there’s a case to be made for them over regular cars."

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