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High Gas Prices Bring Hybrid “Hijinx” to Michigan?

April 14, 2008

Detroit, MI – High gas prices are bringing some "hybrid hijinks" to Michigan, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). There are several hybrid vehicles on the market, but Scott Nathanson of the UCS' Clean Vehicles Program, explains the word "hybrid" doesn't automatically mean either the best mileage or the lowest pollution levels in its emissions. The technology is often used for other than environmentally-friendly reasons, and car buyers can be misled.

"It can also be used to boost large, gas-thirsty engines to give marginal fuel economy boosts and big performance gains. Unfortunately, today, not all hybrids are created equal."

Nathanson adds Michigan drivers should keep in mind that, if they do a lot of highway driving, a hybrid won't function optimally because it performs at its best in stop-and-go driving conditions. He notes there are cars that get good mileage with standard engines for highway commuting, as well as off-the-shelf technologies that manufacturers could use to boost mileage.

"Conventional technologies, like cylinder deactivation and regenerative braking, already exist to make all vehicles more fuel-efficient."

Consumers can find listings of all cars and trucks and compare mileage online at fueleconomy.gov.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MI