Hybrid owners know low gasoline prices are already hurting the environment

A price sign at a gasoline station in Teaneck, N.J.


In more than a decade of driving three Toyota Prius hybrids, I've never bothered looking for the cheapest gasoline.

When you are getting more than 40 mpg around town and more than 50 mpg on the highway, 10 cents a gallon one way or another doesn't really matter.

Now, with a gallon of regular below $2, SUV owners are driving more and not even thinking of trading in their gas guzzlers on something more efficient, aggravating air pollution.

All the gains in cleaner air from millions of hybrid cars are being eroded.

"Low emissions, high hopes" were the words that appeared on a Prius showroom catalog in 2004.

57 mpg in a Prius

I brought home my first Prius in March 2004, when regular was selling for $1.63.9 a gallon at a Mobil station on Route 4 in Englewood.

In July 2004, I got 57.1 mpg on a highway trip to Lorain, Ohio.

I tried many brands of gasoline, but always from the majors, and settled on Citgo and then Shell as giving me the best mileage.

By February 2007, I was paying $2.09.9 a gallon for regular from a Citgo station in Bogota, and in June of that year, a gallon of regular at a Teaneck Shell station had shot up to $3.98.9.

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