Slowly rolling our way

Gas-electric hybrid cars driving into U.S. market

May 05, 2004|By Gary Dorsey | Gary Dorsey,SUN STAFF'

What drives a trend? Mix one part gasoline with the buzz of high-tech gadgetry, stir with environmental idealism and add a dash of nerd chic. There you have it - gas-electric hybrid cars.

Here's a closer look at the facts, the figures, the phenomenon:

Number of hybrid models sold in spring of 2004: 3

Number of hybrid models expected in 2008: 28

Hybrids now sold in the United States: Honda Insight and Civic; Toyota Prius

Ranking of Maryland among states with most hybrid-vehicle registrations: 5

Ranking of California and Virginia: 1, 2

Ranking of Maryland among states with longest commuting times: 2

Ranking of Baltimore among cities with longest commutes: 5

President George W. Bush's vehicle of choice: Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup

Presidential candidate John Kerry's vehicles of choice: Dodge 600, Chrysler 300M

Car driven by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry: Chevrolet Suburban

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's car: Chrysler minivan

Number of American-based car companies now selling hybrids: 0

Location of hybrid manufacturing plants for Honda and Toyota: Japan

U.S. cars registered as hybrids in 2000: 6,479

U.S. cars registered as hybrids in 2003: 43,435

Estimate of registrations for 2004: 95,000

Estimate for 2008: 500,000

Year Toyota's Prius first appeared in Japanese showrooms: 1997

Year Prius first appeared in the United States: 2000

Federal tax deduction for hybrids in 2003: $1,500

Maryland sales tax on hybrids in 2003: None

First hybrid SUV: Ford Escape, on sale this summer

Famous drivers of hybrids: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks

Famous drivers of Humvees: Tupac Shakur, Adrien Brody, Steven Soderbergh, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Average price for premium gasoline in April in the United States: $1.96 a gallon

Price for similar grade of gasoline in Germany: $5.19

In Great Britain: $5.34

Trend in oil consumption in Germany and Britain since the 1970s: Down.

Trend in oil consumption in the United States since 1970: Up (14.7 million barrels in 1970 to 20 million barrels in 2004)

Additional expense of hybrid over conventional automobiles: $2,500 to $4,000

National average for automobile fuel economy: 24 miles per gallon

Average fuel economy for hybrids: 40 miles per gallon

Average annual savings on fuel costs for hybrids: $600

State where hybrids are allowed to drive solo in HOV lanes: Virginia

Number of Priuses needed to match tail-pipe pollution of an average car: 10

Minimum waiting time for a Prius at Jerry's Toyota in Baltimore: 6 to 8 months

Sources: The New York Times, Business Week, The Baltimore Sun, Federal Energy Information Administration, Us Weekly, the Detroit Free Press, Newsday, Associated Press, Jerry's Toyota, J.D. Power and Associates, R.L. Polk & Co., Consumer Reports, Environmental Protection Agency.

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