Extra premium of $5,000 applied to some hard-to-find hybrid SUVs

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the hybrid SUV offerings from the domestic automakers, most noticeably the Ford Escape hybrids and the Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon hybrids. These hybrid SUVs are great at generating good press for the companies and ads like the award-winning Kermit "It is easy being green" spot for the Escape hybrid get customers excited about the vehicles. But what happens when customers try to go and buy one of these vehicles? How about finding out that, if they can even get a hold of a Ford Escape hybrid, they'll need to pay $11,000 more than if they were buying a non-hybrid Escape. As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, some dealers are slapping a $5,000 price premium on the Ford Escape hybrids, this is on top of the standard hybrid premium.

Even at $3.50 a gallon, eleven grand buys a lot of gas (just over 3,142 gallons, to be exact). Let's say you get 22 mpg with the standard escape (seems like a fair number to me). You'll be able to drive almost 70,000 miles before you see can even start chipping away at the hybrid premium difference. If you're looking for other large hybrids, the news isn't much better. Shogren found that the Saturn Vue is basically unavailable outside of California and there are only 1,500 hybrid Tahoes available across the U.S. right now. Test drives are available, but if you're interested in more than that, good luck.

[Source: Elizabeth Shogren / NPR]

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