In my profession as a Marketing Babe, I'm familiar with the concept of customer evangelism. In a nutshell, it's the idea of a company's customers becoming so enthralled with a product that they'll voluntarily urge others to buy it.
I've always been inclined to share my opinion of products I particularly like or dislike. However, I've lately found myself in the position of repeatedly being asked my opinion about one particular consumer good: my hybrid car.
Ever since gas prices went from uncomfortable to downright painful, strangers have been approaching me to ask about my car almost everywhere I go. One day I even had a guy next to me at a stoplight gesture for me to roll down my window so he could quiz me about my gas mileage. Almost every trip to the bagel shop, the grocery store or the gas station results in my reciting the pros and cons of the Honda Insight.
I really like my car, so I'm happy to share my thoughts about it. Unfortunately, the Insight is the rarest hybrid on the market. According to this MixedPower.com article, it's only available by special order, which would explain why I've seen a mere handful of others.
The Insight is the only two-seater hybrid out there, and I'm sure that's probably undesirable to many people. It's the tradeoff that gives it the highest potential gas mileage of all of the hybrids on the market, but only people without kids or dogs can really take advantage of it. Wired Magazine recently published a good comparison of available hybrid models. I should probably print it out and carry it around with me to hand out!
People always ask me about my gas mileage and I have to admit that I'm not trying very hard. I've carried over my lead-footed driving style from the last few sports cars I had, so my gas mileage has been hovering around 50 mpg. One of these days I'll start paying attention to all the advice on InsightCentral.net to see if I can achieve the big numbers.
Would I recommend a hybrid? Definitely! I'm aware that the Insight isn't for everyone, but I've heard good things about the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. They're all small with no frills, but that doesn't seem important when you're spending less than $50 a month for gas. The new hybrid SUVs aren't quite as impressive in the gas mileage department, but I'm sure they'd provide welcome relief for people who are used to filling up almost daily.