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Hybrid Car Sales Skyrocket

By Yessenia Anderson

MEDFORD, Ore. — In just a month, there has been more than a 100% increase in the number of extreme fuel efficient vehicles now on the road.

As friendly as they are to fossil fuels, they still present some problems. A new report shows hybrid and alternative energy vehicles sales went up by 164% in June – an increase that will resonate across the transportation arena.

With six years of service behind their belt, Medford Automotive began seeing a surge of hybrid vehicles in their shop in the past year.

“We’ve been going to school for hybrid vehicle service repair maintenance for about the past three years leading up to this particular situation,” said Medford Automotive Owner, Josiah Higgs.

Because these cars are not completely gas fueled, the engine runs less. But even so, common maintenance work is still a must.

“Oil changes at the recommended intervals, cooling system services, they still need breaks, they still need their transition services,” said Higgs. Owners only expect these types of repairs to increase in the coming years.

“We’re going to start seeing more vehicles fall out of warranty, that means that the dealer is not going to be responsible for the warranty of the vehicle,” said Higgs.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials say this increase also creates an imbalance to our roadway tax system.

“Some pay virtually no gas tax because they hardly use any fuel and others pay no gas tax,” said ODOT Innovative Partnerships Manager, Jim Whittey.

ODOT officials are looking at a new approach to their “miles driven” initiative. They are trying to make sure everyone’s paying for the roads their driving on.

“Do not have a government box required, do not require gps, but do have motorists have a number of options for reporting their miles,” said Whittey.

ODOT officials say a pilot program will be launched this fall that will spand three months, testing technology that is already on the market.

“The idea that the government doesn’t have to select it will be much more accepted than what we did before,” Whittey said.

The pilot program includes four different payment options for drivers, including one that allows you to pay for miles in lots before you drive.