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Now that there are two dedicated hybrids on the market, green car buyers are faced with a choice they've never had before. So which is right for you? And which is right for the environment. EcoGeek gives you the information you need.
Hank Green: It seems to me like these days the only question that green car buyers are asking is Insight or Prius?  Now, that is not to say that it's the only question that green car buyers should be asking.  For example, they might also should ask about green diesels, efficient use cars, and whether or not you wanna buy a car at all right now, when, within a couple of years, there're gonna be more all-electric vehicles and range extended electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt.  But, since that's the question you're asking, that is the question I will answer.

So this video basically comes in two parts.  Is the Insight or the Prius better for you, and is the Insight or the Prius better for the environment?  Yes, I have to say that those are two different things!  And that's why I'm gonna give you the whole story that nobody else is really givin' ya.  

So one, Insight or Prius, better for you?  Well, that most depends on how much money you have.  The 2010 Toyota Prius is more of a Lexus than a Toyota, really.  It's a big, comfortable car with amazing gas mileage.  The Honda Insight, on the other hand, is a little bit smaller, it's sportier, it feels like a younger car on the inside.  It's also a heck of a lot cheaper.  The Honda Insight tops out at $23,000, that's the maximum amount you can pay for the car, while the Prius tops out at above $30,000.  Now, if you get the basement model, you'll only be paying a few thousand dollars more for the Prius than the Insight, but nobody gets the cheapest model, they don't even have 'em on the dealer lots!  But if you, my friends, are into the top tier green technology, if you want the most advanced car that you can buy today, the Toyota Prius is the way to go.  

While I personally don't believe that solar panels on the roof of a car is actually a very good use of solar panels, there is an option for solar powered climate control, which is pretty cool.  The Prius also has the more sophisticated hybrid system.  The Insight will never run without its internal combustion engine, whereas the 2010 Prius can get going pretty fast off the line with its all-electric motor.  

So that's the question.  Are you willing to pay more to have the top tier car?  Or would you rather a sportier driving experience and a little bit less miles per gallon for less money?  

Now onto the question of whether the Prius or the Insight is better for the environment as a whole!  This is actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer.  The Insight, in my opinion, is actually going to do a lot for hybrid vehicles.  Honda's campaign, the "Hybrid for Everyone", really does ring true here.  This is a car that most new car buyers in America will be able to afford and will enjoy driving.  This could mean a lot more hybrid car sales, and honestly, the difference between 43 miles per gallon and 50 miles per gallon isn't that much when you start talking about the actual amount of gasoline the cars will use.  

However, on the other side, we have the Toyota Prius, which has a much more sophisticated hybrid drive system.  And as much as I like to think that these cars are good for the environment, they are stepping stones towards cars that are actually not very bad for the environment.  I really do believe that one of the primary reasons for buying a new car is to vote for new and better technologies.  And so if we decide to buy the more expensive and better technology, that is a vote for more expensive and better technology. 

So here's my verdict.  The Insight will certainly be better for America's carbon footprint in the short term, but Toyota's desire to be the supreme force in hybrid technology is a great sign that driving forward for better technology is good business sense.

So I've told you what I've got to tell, and if you are one of the people who need a new green car right now and can't wait a couple of years, then hopefully I've helped you make your decision.  This is Hank Green for EcoGeek.