A Wall Street Journal story (yes, I know you can’t read it, and I am truly sorry, deep in my heart sorry) attempts to explain the relative failure thus far of the Honda Accord Hybrid. It contains this tidbit:

A four-cylinder Accord EX sedan with automatic transmission is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 highway. The asking price, with leather seats, is $25,500. The Accord Hybrid’s asking price, for 2006, is $31,540 with freight charges. The rated mileage for the redesigned car is 25 miles per gallon in the city, and 34 highway.

I guess not much more needs to be said, huh?

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As many folks have pointed out, financial savings are only one of many reasons folks might buy a hybrid. Just as important — more important, I suspect — are issues of identity. Driving a hybrid is an expression of values.

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So Honda makes a hybrid that’s virtually unidentifiable as a hybrid (you have to squint at the bumper), that offers little-to-no fuel savings. It just accelerates a little faster.

W, as the kids say, TF?