No Financial Incentive to Buy Hybrid in the US

That’s the observation of Kazuo Okamoto, the incoming head of research and development for Toyota in this Financial Times article (subscripition required). With our relatively low gas prices (I know — it’s hard to believe, but we’ve still got really cheap gas compared to the rest of the world), the higher cost of a hybrid doesn’t make financial sense. So why are they so popular? Commenters at Green Car Congress (where I found this article) have ideas, including the “cool” factor, the desire to do something about environmental issues (which Okamoto also mentions), and even preparation for a future when gas isn’t so cheap and available. Is this a sign that Americans are more environmentally aware than many of us tend to believe? Or (as some have said), is the hybrid buying spree a fad?

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