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Are hybrid car purchases helping consumers save money in the long run?

Michael Delfiacco prepares a Toyota Prius C concept car for display at the Chicago Auto Show on February 8, 2011 in Chicago.
Michael Delfiacco prepares a Toyota Prius C concept car for display at the Chicago Auto Show on February 8, 2011 in Chicago.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some car buyers are still skeptical of purchasing a hybrid vehicle, observing other drivers as the guinea pigs for the new models. The 2006 film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" made people more confused by why the auto industry and government were so opposed to electric cars. But it also made the more skeptical buyers wonder whether the cars were worth all the trouble.

This is an E85 pump at a Shell gas station.
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

The government excuse won't work anymore, especially considering the speech President Obama held today, Tues., Feb. 18, to speak about how helping the environment helps cut costs. A few highlights from the speech at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md.:

"For the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil at home than we buy from other countries. Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change has actually gone down as our production has gone up. And one of the reasons why is because we dedicated ourselves to manufacturing new cars and new trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas. That saves families money. It cuts down on harmful pollution. And it creates new advances in American technology."

"For decades the fuel efficiency standards of our cars and trucks was stuck in neutral...carbon pollution was going unchecked, which was having severe impacts on our weather. That's why after taking office my administration worked with automakers, auto workers, environmental advocates and states across the country, and we set in motion the first ever national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States."

"And as our automakers retooled and prepared to start making the world's best cars again we aim to raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon for a new vehicle by 2016."

Toyota is one of the leading industries to sell hybrid cards in large numbers. According to AP, Toyota sold 5.125 million hybrid cars by March of last year.

Total sales evenly split between electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids increased by 84 percent in 2013 to over 96,000 units, according to AutoTrader. The site also confirmed that Toyota was responsible for approximately 60 percent of all hybrid sales in 2013 due to popular hybrid models, such as the Prius, Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid.

Not all hybrid cars are made from the Japanese automaker. Out of the current 16 total hybrid cars, consumers can still buy American. Six of the greenest cars made in America, according to CNN Money, are the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Toyota Avalon, Ford C-Max Energi, Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus EV.

"I think hybrids are a step towards the future in making this world better -- saving people money, getting better gas mileage," said Will Gordon, GM Specialist and Cadillac Sales representative for Grossinger, during a previous AC interview.

For SUV lovers, the winner for the 2014 Best Hybrid SUV for the Money is the Lexus RX, which burns 32 city mpg and 28 highway mpg.

As usual, cars trump SUVs for getting the most regular gas and E85 oil for a buck. With the U.S. car Nissan LEAF, for example, the 2013 version burns 129 city mpg and 102 highway mpg.

So with hybrid cars helping consumers spend less to travel and help the environment, what's stopping them from purchasing the vehicles now that the government isn't in the way? Usually long lines and required down payments before hybrid cars or trucks are in the dealerships. Some have heard too many horror stories about recalls. Others aren't impressed by the looks of hybrid cars. But reports that the alternative vehicle count will increase by about one-third in the next year.

Recommended Reading:

Chicago in top 5 for hybrid car sales

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