Interesting perspective, Gunsmoke. Do you know anyone who actually has a hybrid car? I'm mainly looking for personal experience here.
I have 4 close friends who love/loved theirs, mainly because of the fuel economy (mid 40s to low 50s) but I'm sure the feel-good aspect is there, too. I hadn't heard about the insurance thing, but here's what I found when I looked it up: link
Seems any small, expensive car will cost more to insure, regardless of how it's powered.
We don't need a big car. It's just the two of us and usually it's just one of us (my wife) commuting to/from work. We're open to a gasoline car if we can get mpg in the 40+ range - but so far, we haven't found anything non-hybrid that fits the bill. We've looked at the Civic; it gets a combined 31 mpg. The VW Passat Diesel gets about 35, but diesel costs more than gasoline around here and it can be hard to find. Also, our mechanic, who we adore, doesn't like diesels (he likes hybrids; go figure).
The battery issue is a serious concern. We figure, if gasoline averages $4 a gallon over the next 6 years (which is about how long it'll take us to reach 100K miles), we'll save about $4500 in fuel costs with a car getting 45 mpg over one getting 30 mpg, which would (we hope) at least offset the battery replacement cost. I wouldn't be surprised to see $10/gal gas by then, which would make it a no-brainer.
We've also looked at electric cars, but we're thinking we'll wait a couple of years, until it's time to replace my car, for that. Hopefully the costs will be lower by then and I certainly hope the batteries will be better.
Battery technology is a MAJOR obstacle (maybe THE major obstacle) to moving on from fossil fuels. I hope there'll be some major advances in the near future. There are some promising contenders
, and one of the coolest things about these is they're almost all happening in the USA!