Hybrid Cracks Top Ten List

For the first time ever, a hybrid car cracked the list of top ten best sellers.

It happened in May, as the Toyota Prius posted sales of 24,000 units.

That was good enough for a 9th place finish on the list of the top ten best selling vehicles for the month.

St. Joseph County Councilman Dennis Schafer bought his first Prius back in 2002.

At the time, gas prices were hovering around $1.40 a gallon.

“I told people what I was doing and some people laughed at me,” said Schafer from his home in Lakeville.

Now, Schafer is having the last laugh.

He says his mileage has ranged from 38-miles a gallon to 53-miles a gallon.

When he took the plunge, Schafer’s biggest fear was replacing the batteries.

That is something he has not yet had to do on his 2002 model, which has 126,000 miles.

In 2004, Schafer bought another Prius, and kept the old one for use in the family business.

He says he will probably drive nothing but hybrids from here on out.

In the meantime, Molly Moon bought a used Prius about a year ago.

She said it was one of only two listed in the classifieds at the time.

She says her speedometer indicates she is now getting 49.3 miles a gallon.

She says she does not really feel like she is “saving money,” given the price she paid for the car: “You don’t save money on gas, because they cost more. But you’re saving part of the future for our children.”

At Gates Toyota in South Bend, Joel Gates says the Prius inventory stood at 23 units in February.

By the end of March, they were all gone.

On Wednesday, Gates had just one Prius on the lot.

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