Right now gas prices suck, and Prius sales are through the roof. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot of people are buying the fuel-conscious, peculiar-looking little hatch to save some money at the pump. Petrol prices aside, a recent study from CNW Marketing Research shows that over half of Prius buyers primarily want to make a statement about themselves. If you just found yourself swallowing a little vomit, all apologies. The key to purchasing a Prius versus, say, a Honda Civic hybrid, is that Toyota's gas-electric vehicle is a hybrid-only model. The Civic, like the Camry and Ford Escape, can be purchased with a run-of-the-mill gasoline-only powertrain, and the only difference between it and the hybrid model is a little badge.

In the '80s, people making a statement wore Guess jeans and Polo-branded shirts. In the '90s it was $130 Nike shoes (Umm, they had those in the '80s, too -- Ed. ), and now to show off in the new millennium, you apparently have to drive a Prius. We've noticed that the many Prius hatchbacks traveling our nation's freeways aren't exactly driving 57 mph in the right lane to optimize fuel economy. If other automakers want to make a real splash in the hybrid game, they'll have to follow Toyota's lead and make a hybrid-only vehicle that helps owners feel better about the fact that others think they're "green."

[Source: Detroit News]

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