Gas prices are still not exactly cheap, especially if you still happen to be driving a larger vehicle that sucks up 20 or less miles per gallon or so. But we're certainly a long way from the prospect of potentially seeing $5 per gallon. Still, oil is something I think we can all agree on that we need to reduce our dependence on. Not just for reasons of national security, but also for the environment. That's why hybrid cars, which nearly every automaker now offers, are something to think about when you are in the process of considering your next automobile purchase.
I've said before that if we truly want hybrid cars to have a real shot, and if we want them to truly demonstrate what the demand for these cars are, we are going to have to offer them without the premium price that usually goes along with them. Especially in an economy such as we are in right now, people who are in a position to buy a new car very much do take into consideration the very much higher prices attached to these hybrid cars. On most models that premium is about $8,000-$12,000. Few people want to shell out more money than they have to when there's still quite a lot of shaky ground in the economy. Even if it's likely that over the long run, the additional miles per gallon may well pay for the premium in having to buy less gas overall.
That's why I'm happy to hear Ford will make its Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan available without the extra cost. I say bravo zulu to Ford Motor Company for taking environmental concerns seriously, and for making an honest commitment to the reduction of oil usage, and improving fuel economy—which is what offering a model for the same price actually suggests they are doing. It's a much easier decision for one to make, "Do I buy the hybrid or the gas-powered version?" when the price tag for the two cars is exactly the same. And I'm inclined to believe Ford Motor Company has a hunch that without the price premium, most buyers will probably opt for the hybrid version.
This makes sense for another reason. Over time, the more demand there is for the hybrid technology, the less this technology will cost, and Ford will have a hand in increasing that demand and driving down that cost. Eventually, they may be able to offer similar choices in their cheaper models as that cost comes down. It's better than an incentive.
By the way, I should also point out this is just one more reason to own Ford stock. I've been recommending this as a buy for quite some time, and I think it is absolutely a buy.
Disclaimer: Jim Bauer currently owns shares in Ford Motor Company (F) stock.