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Can hybrids save money? Yes, if you live in a place where gas price hovers above $2.50; then Prius's hybrid technology pays for itself in 10 years. Tough in the US but easily done in Japan and Europe.

Having said that, the reason for Prius's popularity in SoCal(Southern California) is something other than saving gas; driving Prius entitles you to drive through the car pool lane, alone. Now, that's a privilege that people would pay to have, but it comes free with Prius.
 

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No, you can't save money. To replace a dead battery will cost you $4,000.

Even if the battery last forever, I still don't see how I can't save more money by buying a small car, like the Aveo or Fit, even a base Civic or Corolla.
You cannot drive through SoCal's car-pool lane with an Aveo or Fit...
 
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