Still, there’s no doubt the soaring price of fuel is having an impact on people’s wallets. Honolulu resident Raj Kumar used to pay $40-$50 to fill-up his minivan. Now, he’s paying about $80.
"It's affecting everybody's budget," said Kumar. "The middle-class people are suffering more because they live day to day or paycheck to paycheck."
However, the bottom line is the bottom line, and it pays to do your homework before rushing out and buying that new Prius or Volt.
"Customers really have to do their research and do the math," advises Caldwell. "I mean it's not fun, but it's something that's going to pay off at the end."
Edmunds.com has a "cost to own" tool that can help car buyers decipher whether a hybrid or electric vehicle makes financial sense. The tool is available at: www.edmunds.com/tco