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Cars.com Launches New Hybrid Vehicle Online Buying Guide

As gasoline prices continue to climb, so do orders for hybrid vehicles.

The number of consumers searching for hybrid vehicles on Cars.com tripled in February when gas prices hit $2 a gallon. The searches remain steady and Cars.com decided to answer many of the questions consumers were asking about hybrids.

Cars.com created a Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide to help educate consumers and clarify some myths about hybrid vehicles. Accessible through the Cars.com home page, the innovative guide answers everything fuel-conscious consumers want to know -- from hybrid vehicle maintenance and new advances in hybrid technology to the differences between the various hybrid models on the market today.

"The Cars.com Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide is a one-stop-resource for everything you need to know when shopping for a hybrid vehicle," said Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor and vehicle profiler at Cars.com. "As the technology and facts change and new models become available, the Cars.com Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide will continue to provide the latest information to consumers."

The guide gives consumers a comprehensive look at all hybrid vehicles on the market and a sneak peek at some of the new hybrid sport utility vehicles that will be in dealer showrooms soon; they include the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It also provides details on other fuel-efficient options, including diesel-powered vehicles.

With so much hype surrounding hybrids, the Cars.com Hybrid Vehicle Buyer's Guide helps clarify some of the common misconceptions regarding hybrid vehicles, such as:

  • Myth: Hybrid vehicles lack the performance of their counterparts with conventional engines.
    Reality: Most hybrid vehicles are actually quicker than their nonhybrid counterparts.
  • Myth: The cost savings at the pump will more than offset the increased purchase price of a hybrid vehicle.
    Reality: It depends on the circumstance. For some consumers, a specific hybrid vehicle might have a lower retail price than some other regular vehicles they're considering. For example, one consumer might be contemplating either a Toyota Prius or a Honda Accord. In this scenario, the consumer could save money on both the vehicle's price and fuel costs.

    However, a consumer who's torn between a hybrid and its conventional, gas-powered counterpart -- such as the Honda Civic and the Honda Civic Hybrid -- might realize that the savings at the pump probably won't offset the premium they'll pay to own the hybrid version. The Civic Hybrid retails for $2,140 more than a similarly equipped conventional Civic; that premium will offset any fuel savings for quite some time. It typically takes between five and 11 years to recoup the higher premium a consumer pays in order to own a hybrid.
  • Myth: Hybrid vehicles cost more to maintain and the batteries are costly to replace.
    Reality: The maintenance costs of hybrid vehicles are very similar to those of regular cars. In fact, true hybrid engines don't work as hard as regular engines and, in turn, that saves on wear and tear. The costs of replacement batteries are more difficult to predict.

    Hybrid vehicles are so new that manufacturers haven't yet replaced batteries because of normal wear and tear. When hybrid vehicles first debuted, automotive experts predicted that battery replacement could cost thousands of dollars. However, as more and more hybrid vehicles are rolled out, the cost of replacing batteries will decrease.

Shoppers can also turn to Cars.com for fuel-efficiency information on all makes and models. Each month, Cars.com helps more than 6 million visitors find the vehicle that's right for them.

About Cars.com

Cars.com lists more than 1.4 million vehicles from 10,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of consumers connect with sellers each month. Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC (http://classifiedventures.com), which is owned by six leading media companies, including Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight Ridder Inc. (NYSE: KRI), The McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Co. (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO).

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