Hybrids gaining mileage with consumers 

Gas Puzzler

As the costs at the pump pull more from our paychecks, the desire to go 10 miles a gallon has plummeted. Want a Prius? You'll have to sign up for a waiting list. Want a Sequoia? You'll probably find one hell of a deal.

Overall, the number of people "definitely more likely" or "probably more likely" to purchase a hybrid has increased 17 percent since last year. The economic benefit of a 40 mpg vehicle has never been greater, and it increases exponentially with each penny rise in the cost of a gallon of gas.

Across the nation, 57 percent of Americans say they're inclined to purchase a hybrid as their next vehicle. That's a staggering number, and one that would be even higher were it not for the good ol' Southern U.S.A., where only 47 percent are concerned enough about fuel efficiency to make that claim. And in comparison, Charleston's $3.84 per gallon of 87 octane at press time is among the cheapest in the nation.

click to enlarge SCOTT SUCHY

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