Hybrid Cars in Hot Demand

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Trucks and suv's are somewhat of a staple here in West Texas, but rising gas prices are forcing some people to throw on the brakes.

Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular, so much so that local companies can't keep them in stock.

"You'll get to drive more on the gallon of gas," Justin Slaughter, General Sales Manager of Lithia Toyota in Odessa, said.

Sales of hybrids are rising - almost as quickly as the price of gas - and that's why Lithia Toyota in Odessa can't keep enough on the lot. And the Midland dealership says they don't have any.

"As many as we get in, we'll sell every single one of them," Slaughter said.

In a hybrid, the battery works with the engine to save money on gas. These days, it costs $80 to $90 everytime you fill up at the pump. But in a hybrid, you'll fill up half as often when you're ready to hit the road.

"Most cars get worse gas mileage in the city than they do around the city, so for people who run around the city, it's going to be a big advantage for them," Slaughter said.

The downside to hybrids is that they cost more upfront, but people are saying in the long run, that cost is made up by less trips to the pump.

"When gas was $2, $2.50 a gallon, everybody was driving trucks and SUV's, because it didn't cost that much money," Slaughter said. "Now that gas is pushing $4, people who had a big truck or SUV who really didn't need one, they're not buying them. They are buying the economical cars."

The demand is so overwhelming, the manufacturer can't keep up.

"Hopefully they'll be able to increase production, now that gas is getting higher and higher," Slaughter said.