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I test drove a Civic Hybrid down here in CA and it had super smooth shifting. It was a 2004. It was very nice, and if I needed 4 doors, it would be good to get. It drove nicely, and had the same kind of readouts as the Insight (better than that other hybrid by the other company which has everything all jammed onto the one screen accessible only by 27 1/2 levels of menu selections...).
 

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Stress reduction via Hybrid

Definitely having a hybrid personality is a key part of wanting to own one.

Do you get stressed out sitting at lights wasting gas?

Do you get depressed every time you go down a hill and don't capture that energy?

That was me!

If that is you, you want one.

If you don't care at all about that, and just want lower emissions, then it makes a lot of financial sense to spend less on an efficient small car and drive it carefully for mpg.
 

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Fashionable shoes

You are right not to forget that reducing CO2 is a goal as well as other pollutants. A low emission vehicle which burns twice as much fuel to go the same distance may be worse than one with slightly higher emissions that burns the lower amount of fuel but emits more of other pollutants.

I wonder if there is any quantiative anaylsis of this out there somewhere.

Of course, the best thing would be to take your money and buy a nice efficient car and give it to your neighbor with the gross polluter who can't afford to replace it. You could use the spare change to get a bike or some nice walking shoes and a pushcart for your passengers.
 

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I don't love smog, but it is funny that our GOVT makes all these regulations about pollution (and that only when the choking citizens threaten to rise up), yet we continue to burn fossile fuels as fast as possible even though the seas are boiling.
 

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That is a very good point about testing without auto-stop.

When they did a smog on me, they never let it auto-stop. I don't know if they knew how!

If you are auto-stopped at a light next to a new fangled Ford Focus for 3 minutes, you make up for a lot of driving even if you emit more g/km of cerain pollutants - not to mention your reduced CO2 emissions.
 
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