America's most popular hybrid, the Toyota Prius, technically does not have a premium, as there is no direct equivalent gasoline-engine model.(Credit:Toyota)
Ever since hybrids became popular, with the second generation of the Toyota Prius, the question arose of whether the fuel savings justified a hybridcar's higher price. The extra expense for a hybrid car has been called the hybrid premium.
The extra cost for a hybrid car comes from the additional equipment in the driveline. Along with the gas engine, hybrid cars have an electric propulsion motor, a high-voltage battery pack, and a power control module, this latter component determining how to feed electric power into the drive system.
Now, with many automakers offering some type of hybrid car, the competition has opened up. so what is the current status of the hybrid premium? We looked at a selection of 2012 hybrid models, comparing them with their straight gasoline counterparts, if any. In choosing cars for comparison, we stuck to trim levels where navigation was available, to level the playing field. However, even looking at cars at the same trim level, differences such as horsepower and torque assert themselves, so technically we are still talking about an apples to oranges comparison.
Toyota PriusLaunched only as a hybrid, there is no direct price comparison for the Prius with an equivalent gasoline-only car. Technically, there is no premium for a Prius. but we can compare it to its midsize car segment. The Prius ranges in price from $23,015 to $29,805. to get navigation you must pay at least $25,565 for the Three trim. That price is not much more than for a high-trim midsize sedan, and the Prius will get about 20 mpg better fuel economy than a typical midsize sedan.
Toyota offers its Camry Hybrid in two trims, LE and XLE.(Credit:Josh Miller/CNET)Toyota CamryToyota gives us an easier comparison with its Camry, a midsize sedan available in many trims and in a hybrid version. Toyota offers an LE and XLE trim Camry Hybrid, but only the latter can be had with navigation. The Camry Hybrid XLE goes for $27,400; the standard Camry XLE goes for $24,725, a premium of $2,675. The lowest-trim Camry with a navigation option is the SE, which costs only $23,000, making for an even bigger premium.
Comparing the prices of the standard Camry XLE with that of the Camry Hybrid XLE does not tell the whole story. Beyond better fuel economy, the Hybrid XLE has more horsepower, 200 versus 178.
Honda CivicUnlike Toyota, Honda does not assign a trim level to its hybrid Civic, making comparisons a little less direct. The lowest trim level Civic that can be had with navigation is the EX, which goes for only $20,655. The Civic Hybrid bases at $24,200, making for a $3,545 premium. The difference in fuel economy between the two is approximately 10 mpg.
Hyundai SonataThe midlevel Sonata, the SE, is the lowest trim to offer navigation, and its MSRP is $23,195. The Sonata Hybrid, which also offers navigation as an option, runs $25,850, so the premium would be $2,655. The nonhybrid Sonata, as with most midsize sedans, gets a four-cylinder engine. The Sonata Hybrid adds the electric propulsion to the standard engine, which ends up improving both fuel economy and power.
Most midsize sedan hybrids add an electric propulsion unit to an existing four-cylinder engine.(Credit:Josh Miller/CNET)Ford FusionFord's midsize sedan comes in a number of different trim levels, and the SEL is the lowest that features a navigation option. That car starts at $25,425. The Fusion Hybrid, which also has an optional navigation system, goes for $28,775. The hybrid premium comes out to $3,350. Like the Civic, the average fuel economy difference should be about 10 mpg.
The Fusion's luxury sibling, the Lincoln MKZ, also comes in hybrid and nonhybrid versions. However, Lincoln does not charge differently for either car, pricing both at $34,755. The MKZ Hybrid comes with a four-cylinder-based hybrid power train; the standard MKZ uses a V-6. The fuel economy difference is about 15 mpg.
Buick LaCrosseBuick decided to equip its new LaCrosse standard with a mild hybrid system called eAssist. That fact changes the hybrid premium calculation significantly. The lowest-trim LaCrosse, which makes navigation available and comes with the eAssist system standard, the Premium Group I, starts at $32,935. Buick offers a nonhybrid, V-6 version of the LaCrosse, and at its navigation available trim it costs $34,350, giving the LaCrosse a hybrid premium of negative $1,415. Buick does not release a total system horsepower for its hybrid, but it will be significantly less than the 303 horsepower of the V-6. The fuel economy difference is about 8 mpg, in favor of the hybrid.
Luxury SUVsLexus has long made its RX SUV available in hybrid form as well as with a straight gas engine. The hybrid RX 450h goes for $45,235, whereas the RX 350 starts at $39,075, a difference of $6,160. The hybrid is a bit more powerful than the standard version, 295 versus 270 horsepower, and the hybrid gets about 8 mpg better fuel economy.
The Cayenne S Hybrid is powered by a supercharged V-6, complemented by an electric drive system.(Credit:Josh Miller/CNET)
At an extreme end of the spectrum sits the Porsche Cayenne, also offered with a hybrid drivetrain. Although lower trim models can be had with navigation, Porsche makes it clear that the hybrid is a variant of the Cayenne S trim. The hybrid costs $69,000, whereas the standard Cayenne S goes for $65,000, a $4,000 premium.
The Cayenne S gets a V-8 under the hood, and the Cayenne S Hybrid comes with a V-6 complemented by the electric drive system. The V-8 produces 400 horsepower and the hybrid V-6 380 horsepower. However, the hybrid engine also produces greater torque, thanks in part to a supercharger forcing air through the engine. The fuel economy is not much different between the two, with the hybrid getting a 3 mpg advantage.
Other factorsMerely looking at the premium for a hybrid car, than calculating how long it would take to recoup that amount through the improved fuel economy, misses quite a few other factors. Despite myths about costly hybrid system battery replacements, routine maintenance on a hybrid vehicle is likely to be lower because of reduced brake usage. Brake energy regeneration means brake pads will last significantly longer, so the cost of a brake job can be subtracted from the premium. All other routine maintenance is the same between hybrid and nonhybrid cars.
Better fuel economy includes many less tangible benefits. On the environmental side, burning fewer gallons means fewer pollutants in the atmosphere, although many new straight gas-engine cars produce remarkably low emissions as it is. The larger environmental benefit of better fuel economy comes from less carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. each gallon of gasoline burned releases 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, and there are currently no technologies to sequester those emissions at the tailpipe.
<a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57424518-48/the-hybrid-premium-how-much-more-does-a-hybrid-car-cost/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57424518-48/the-hybrid-premium-how-much-more-does-a-hybrid-car-cost/Mon, 30 Apr 2012 23:25:00 GMT">The hybrid premium: How much more does a hybrid car cost?
Toronto city councillors are examining the idea of a civic credit card, which could generate up to $5 million in revenue annually for the city, according to one prediction.
The proposed card would work like similar points credit cards, but instead of earning travel miles or other rewards, a percentage of each swipe would go towards city programs.
"City hall is looking for creative revenue ideas and I think we could be leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars at the table," said Coun. James Pasternak.
The card would be offered by a financial institution that would partner with the city. Citizens could apply for a card at no cost.
The partner bank would give a portion of the credit card fees it collects from retailers back to the city.
"It's impossible to know how many would participate, but it could be anywhere from $2-5 million dollars, is my prediction," said Pasternak.
There is also a discussion about making the proposed card into a city-accepted card that could be used to pay for parking, transit or property taxes.
Coun. Adam Vaughan said another possibility is embedding the card with subsidies for people who live in community housing, are on social assistance, or have disabilities.
City officials said they haven't talked to any banks about the credit card yet.
The next step is to conduct a study on the feasibility of a civic credit card.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson
<a href="http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120504/civic-credit-card-proposal-120504/20120504/?hub=TorontoNewHometag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120504/civic-credit-card-proposal-120504/20120504/?hub=TorontoNewHomeSat, 05 May 2012 02:38:36 GMT">Civic credit card could boost revenue, councillor says
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<a href="http://www.motorward.com/2012/04/dmc-terra-650-porsche-cayenne/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.motorward.com/2012/04/dmc-terra-650-porsche-cayenne/Mon, 16 Apr 2012 11:09:46 GMT">DMC Terra 650 Porsche Cayenne
The main structural change is that the Super Production Turbo-charged class and the Super Production Naturally-aspired class will be merged, and will be known as the Super Production Class in the 2012 CTCC season.
The technical regulations for this years Super Production class will come straight from the FIA's Super 2000 Article 263, with restrictions to the sizes of the aerodynamic body kits and rear wing, but will extend the size of engine air restrictors from 32mm to 33mm, and turbo boost limit from 2.4 bar to 2.5 bar for the turbocharged engines. In order to attract more teams switching to turbocharged cars, they are allowed to import turbocharged engines which are eligible to FIA's Article 263 - namely 1.6 turbos engines as introduced in 2011. they will also be allowed to and change their engines between each round or before qualifying, whilst the teams using naturally aspirated engines are only allowed to change engines after two rounds.
The points system has also been changed this season, with only the first eight placed finishers scored in the first race of the weekend (Using the system 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1). In the second race, the top ten finishers will score, with the points allocated as 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, which is based on the BTCC system which was used up until last season, instead of the standard FIA championship system which was used by the CTCC last year in both classes.
The entry list for the 2012 China Touring Car Championship season will be released shortly.
<a href="http://www.touringcartimes.com/article.php?id=7492tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.touringcartimes.com/article.php?id=7492Wed, 25 Apr 2012 21:01:52 GMT">Technical changes for CTCC in 2012
TERRORISTIC THREATS: Travis Dewight Musser, 24, Chambersburg, called a 22-year-old woman on the telephone and allegedly said he was going to shoot her at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg.
(Incident No. H03-2113979)
CRASH: Someone, no identification given, driving a 2011 Honda Civic failed to make a proper turn from U.S. 30 onto Pa. 997 and struck another vehicle at 4:45 p.m. Friday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg.
The Honda Civic struck a 2008 Ford Escape, no driver identification given, before continuing to drive north on Pa. 997, police said.
(Incident No. H03-2114472)
HIT AND RUN: Someone in a 2000 Subaru Outback struck the 1994 Ford Escort of Timothy J. Rine, 43, Newburg, as they were attempting to pass the vehicle on Interstate 81 at 4:33 p.m. April 16, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg.
(Incident No. H03-2113481)
HIT AND RUN: Someone in a Honda Civic was driving south on Gregway Drive when they struck two mailboxes and continued driving at 11:45 a.m. Friday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg.(Incident No. H03-2114378)
Shippensburg Township, Cumberland County
THEFT: Eric Michael Wickens, 18, of 1455 Armitage Way, Mechanicsburg, and Joshua Adams Myers, 20, of 22 S. York Road, Dillsburg, allegedly took a wheelchair from Wal-Mart, 100 S. Conestoga Drive, that was for use by handicapped shoppers at 8:23 p.m. April 14, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Carlisle.
Wickens and Myers admitted to stealing the wheelchair for induction into a college fraternity, police said.
(Incident No. H02-2113051)
South Middleton Township, Cumberland County
HARASSMENT: Kenneth J. Lavely Sr., 54, Carlisle, and William S. Curtis Jr., 33, Carlisle, were engaged in an argument with a third person when a physical fight broke out, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Carlisle.
Lavely allegedly struck and pushed Curtis to the ground. Curtis did not require medical treatment, police said.
(Incident No. H02-2114612)
CRASH: Marcie M. Snyder, 43, Harrisburg, was driving east on Walnut Bottom Road when she failed to stop for traffic at 6:18 p.m. Friday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Carlisle.
Snyder's 2004 Toyota Highlander struck the 2008 Ford Escape of Margaret K. Arnold, 48, Carlisle, who was stopped for a red light, police said.
(Incident No. H02-2114492)
CRASH: Zdzislaw K. Strzalkowski, 85, Boiling Springs, was driving south on Forge Road when he attempted to turn his 1998 Oldsmobile Alero into a parking lot and struck a light pole at 9:09 p.m. Saturday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Carlisle.
(Incident No. H02-2114721)
West Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County
HARASSMENT: Matthew Kramer, 38, Newville, of Valley Community Services Group Home, got into a verbal altercation with attendant Barbara Perez, 44, Ickesburg, at 11:19 p.m. Thursday, according to Pennsylvania State Police, Carlisle.
The two argued over whether Kramer took his medication when the argument turned physical and Kramer had to be restrained, police said.
Perez was injured while trying to restrain Kramer, police said.
(Incident No. H02-2114273)
<a href="http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_20456041/franklin-county-area-police-log?source=most_viewedtag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_20456041/franklin-county-area-police-log?source=most_viewedMon, 23 Apr 2012 10:45:34 GMT">Franklin County Area Police Log
Six people, including four children, were injured when a speeding Honda Civic car hit them while they were crossing the road near Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Vasant Vihar, South Delhi, on Friday evening.
Police said that the driver was arrested for rash driving and on charges of attempt to commit culpable homicide as he did not possess a driving licence.
According to police, the incident was reported around 5.15 pm when Dalip (20), who was driving the Honda Civic, rammed the children. Dalip had reportedly taken the keys from his employer on the pretext of cleaning the car, but instead decided to drive it.
The children have been identified as Rashmi (7), Pooja (6), Kajal (6), Mohit (6) while their parents have been identified as Ganga (28) and Saaudaan (32).
The children were headed to their house in Kusumpur Pahadi area with their parents when the incident took place. All four study at an MCD school.
The car rammed into the victims and swerved, coming to a standstill only after it hit a pole. the driver was trying to flee but eyewitnesses caught him, said a senior police officer investigating the case.
Dalip has been booked for rash driving and an additional section under 308 IPC (attempt to commit culpable homicide) has been added to the case only because Dalip did not have a licence, police said.
The children were rushed to AIIMS Trauma Centre where their condition was said to be stable. the children are out of danger but two of them have a fracture. Saaudaans right leg is fractured since it came under the car, the police officer said.
Tags: Police, Rashmi, AIIMS Trauma Centre
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<a href="http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cleaner-takes-honda-civic-for-ride-rams-kids/939518/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cleaner-takes-honda-civic-for-ride-rams-kids/939518/Fri, 20 Apr 2012 19:07:02 GMT">Cleaner takes Honda Civic for ride,rams kids
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<a href="http://www.motorward.com/2012/04/autocar-drives-ford-fiesta-wrc-on-public-roads/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.motorward.com/2012/04/autocar-drives-ford-fiesta-wrc-on-public-roads/Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:50:26 GMT">Autocar Drives Ford Fiesta WRC on Public Roads
OJAI, Calif. -- BUILDING great supercars is easy; it's getting the ordinary ones right that's tough. Cars that sell for less than $20,000 are built on robotized fast-moving assembly lines that depend on a steady stream of robust, inexpensive parts that snap together quickly. Too often, manufacturers sacrifice character and performance to keep their cheapest machines moving efficiently through those lines.
That's why Hyundai's redesigned subcompact, the 2012 Accent, is so satisfying. It's a simple, inexpensive sedan that works well, actually communicates with its driver and doesn't flaunt its compromises. though engineered to be built by the hundreds of thousands, it doesn't look or feel generic. It's also decently quick and carries a highway economy rating of 40 miles per gallon.
Hyundai offers the front-drive Accent as the four-door GLS sedan, the four-door GS hatchback or the sportier SE hatchback. all are powered by the same 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine. Both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions are available.
Prices start at $13,320 for the GLS sedan with a manual transmission, but that's a loss leader that sells in small numbers. The mainstream Accent, which I tested, is the GLS with an automatic that starts at $16,070. Adding an iPod cable (overpriced at $35) and the worthwhile Premium Package (for $1,300, it includes keyless locking, redundant audio controls on the steering wheel, a Bluetooth cellphone link, 16-inch alloy wheels and piano-black interior trim) brought the total to $17,405.
In this cutthroat corner of the market, many competitors advertise stripped-down models at lower prices, just as Hyundai does. but comparably equipped for mass consumption they usually end up near the Accent's as-tested price.
One of the Accent's advantages is that for a subcompact, it's not all that subcompact. With an overall length of 172 inches and a wheelbase of 101.2 inches, it's about the same size as the "compact" Honda Civic sedan of 1995. It's a good size; small enough to be nimble in traffic and easy to park, but big enough to seat four in a pinch without anyone feeling vulnerable to being squashed by larger vehicles.
Incidentally, Honda's current 2012 Civic sedan is 177.3 inches long, and rides on a 105.1-inch wheelbase, and it feels even bigger.
Without the Premium Package the Accent's interior is austere. but the additional shiny black and matte-silver plastic pieces, combined with the pebble-grain dash pad, impart a feeling of two-tone quality, if not of luxury.
The ventilation system controls are the near-ideal three-knob setup -- one for air temperature, one for fan speed and one for air direction -- though the cluster of indistinct buttons surrounding the audio display can be frustrating to operate. The audio controls on the steering wheel could also be better demarcated for intuitive operation. The instrumentation itself is under a single hood on a single plane, is easily scanned and glows bright like a 1990s Lexus.
The seats are covered in a rugged fabric and have the same foam density as a fresh-baked baguette from Panera Bread. but the front seat bottom cushions should be an inch or two longer, and some additional contouring in the back cushions would improve long-haul comfort. still, the front seats are manually adjustable in six ways and a tilt steering wheel is standard, so you can find a comfortable driving position no matter how awkward your body type.
The rear seat would also benefit from longer bottom cushions, and while there's no surplus legroom, the seatback is well shaped for two. there is a center safety belt for a third passenger, but the rear is adequate only for daily use by two children or occasional use by two adults.
Keeping the Accent off the ground is a strictly conventional suspension. The front consists of a pair of MacPherson struts, and a simple torsion axle on coil springs brings up the rear. an all-independent rear suspension would be preferable, but Hyundai has tamed this solid axle. The ride over most surfaces is stiff but well-mannered, and the unibody structure takes the hits without sounding tinny or creaking. If the suspension were softer, the Accent would lose some of its responsiveness. If it were stiffer, the enamel would be cracking off the drivers' teeth.
The steering is rack-and-pinion with electric power assist. Electric steering doesn't have the same feel as conventional hydraulic systems, but it taxes the engine less and therefore gives a slight nudge to the fuel-economy numbers. Hyundai's electric power steering doesn't come close to what Porsche has devised for its new 911, but it's right up there with the systems Honda installs in its Fit and Civic and provides much better feedback than the steering that Nissan and Toyota have been using in their low-end cars.
The upgrade to 16-inch wheels brings bigger radial tires to match. The test car's four 195/50R16 Kumho Solus KH25 all-season tires proved surprisingly tenacious during cornering despite being of the economy-oriented low-rolling-resistance variety. Of course the Accent understeers through curves, but the chassis remains composed and stable through hard cornering. The steering even lets the driver know what's going on down at the contact patches where the tires rub the road.
The four-wheel disc brakes, backed by electronic brake distribution and antilock technology, work well. In panic stops the Accent tracks straight and true without excessive nose dive or distracting antilock pulsing.
But the best part of the Accent is the combination of the terrific 1.6-liter engine and the class-leading 6-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with continuously variable valve timing and direct gasoline injection, the all-aluminum 4-cylinder makes a full 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm. That's 20 more horsepower than the Honda Fit's 1.5-liter 4, and 29 horses more than Nissan gets from the 1.6-liter motor in the Versa. and the Accent's horses are sweet-natured ponies too, keeping relatively quiet even as they gallop up near the red line.
The automatic can be shifted manually to extract more performance, or left in Drive where the shifts are crisp and quick. this is a fine transmission that not only gets the most from the engine when the car is spurred, but features overdrive in both fifth and sixth gear, letting the engine loaf during highway cruising. According to InsideLine.com, the Accent GLS will reach 60 miles per hour in 9.8 seconds -- good for its class -- and run through the quarter-mile in 17.1 seconds at 81.2 mph.
There's also an Active Eco mode that modifies the engine and transmission programming to improve fuel economy by, Hyundai says, up to 7 percent. The Accent is rated 30 m.p.g. in the city and 40 on the highway. I got 28 m.p.g. during my time with the car, including hard driving through the California foothills and a bout of performance track testing.
Three years ago, the entry-level class was dominated by personality-free penalty boxes like the Versa, the Toyota Yaris and the Chevrolet Aveo. this new Accent, however, arrives in a market crammed with excellent recent arrivals like the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Honda Fit and the shockingly well-rounded Chevrolet Sonic, not to mention the Accent's close cousin, the Kia Rio. as good as the Accent is, there are direct alternatives worth considering alongside it.
But this Hyundai is also enjoyable and versatile enough that some shoppers might consider moving down-market to the Accent from larger, significantly more expensive cars like the indifferent Honda Civic, the decrepit Toyota Corolla and the stale Nissan Sentra. at this point, no car does ordinary better than the Accent.
INSIDE TRACK: Mass produced for the mass market, and better for it.Join the conversation:
<a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/auto-news/so-perfectly-ordinary-that-its-extraordinary-631368/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/auto-news/so-perfectly-ordinary-that-its-extraordinary-631368/Sat, 14 Apr 2012 17:05:00 GMT">So Perfectly Ordinary That It's Extraordinary
Elyria, OH -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/03/2012 -- Gas prices continue to be a main issue with many consumers. We use our vehicles almost every single day, and some families are traveling more often with children in sports and school activities. Jack Matia Honda is proud to announce they may have the answer to these rising gas costs: the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. Jack Matia Honda is excited to now offer the Civic Hybrid at their Elyria dealership.
The Civic Hybrid sedan is available in two trim levels. the base model's list of standard features include 15-inch alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires, outside mirrors with built-in turn signals, LED taillights, a rear spoiler and a 160-watt, six-speaker stereo. the top-of-the-line "Leather" trim level adds extras found on the regular EX-L including heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Like all Civic sedans, the new hybrid boasts a more spacious interior, with three more inches of elbowroom up front and nearly two inches of additional legroom in back. the cabin feels airy, and the interior styling is better than before. the exterior builds a futuristic appeal with an upgraded grille, sleek body styling, aluminum wheels, and the LED taillights.
The 2012 Civic Hybrid gets a larger 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and a more powerful electric motor for 2012, a combination that's good for 110 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. the powertrain of this hybrid is the most fuel-efficient of the Civic bunch, with EPA numbers of 44 city/44 highway, an increase of 3 mpg over the outgoing model.
Jack Matia Honda currently has the 2012 Civic Hybrid on the lot and ready for delivery. Visit the Cleveland area Honda dealer to take the Honda hybrid for a spin, or visit them online at http://jackmatiahonda.com and browse their online inventory selection and get detailed information about the vehicles. Vehicle specials are also posted on their website and on their Facebook page at http://facebook.com/jack.matia.honda.
About Jack Matia Honda
Jack Matia Honda, http://jackmatiahonda.com/, of the Elyria, Ohio area carries an extensive inventory of new and used Honda cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans. in addition the Ohio dealer provides auto service, Honda parts, and auto financing.
<a href="http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/sbwire-134582.htmtag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/sbwire-134582.htmTue, 03 Apr 2012 16:48:08 GMT">Jack Matia Honda Offering Relief for High Gas Prices: the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid