What timing: In the same week that gas prices jumped 11 1/2 cents in California, Budget at LAX began renting out Honda Insight "hybrid" cars that get 70 miles per gallon--the EPA's highest rating ever. Budget said it's the first rental-car company in the U.S. to offer the gas-sipping, two-seat sedans for daily rental.
The $19,000 Insight, the first product that the environmentally conscious Sierra Club has ever endorsed, has dual gasoline and electric motors. The gas motor recharges the battery pack during deceleration and braking, so the car doesn't have to be plugged into a recharging station, unlike all-electric vehicles. It can go 600 to 700 miles on a single tank.