Probably not, but Toyota is saying that Katrina has driven up hybrid sales. I wondered as much. Last night I stopped by the bulletin board in the men's locker room at the Y and there were were about six photos posted of cars for sale. All but one were SUVs.
Six years plus and a good 140,000 miles later, my Honda Civic's still running like a top. And I bought it used with about 20,000 on it. Of course, the year I bought it ('99), you find gas for 69, 79 cents a gallon some places in South Carolina for a while. I could fill my tank for ten bucks. Not so now. More like 25 bucks. But then I pull up behind these SUVs at the pump, and they're paying, what, 50 bucks and more to fill up now? And they're not getting as much bang for their buck either.
Daniel Gross points out that Priuses was outselling Hummers two to one by late 2003. Hummers languish on th elot, while there's a waiting list for Priuses. My friend in Atlanta could tell you, Minis don't stay on the lot long either. You may have heard about Ford's huge new hybrid initiative, too: 250,000 hybrid cars and trucks per year by 2010.
So maybe the U.S. needn't be the Land of the SUV after all.
And, yes, there's even a hybrid replacement for the Humvee in the works.