Hybrids Fly Off Lot at Record Speed

Irene Magafan, a resident of Washington, D.C., has been looking forward to this day. Her name finally reached the top of the waiting list for a Honda Civic Hybrid.

"It's like a sigh of relief. I just -- I'm like, I got the car," she said. "I feel like I can breathe now."

High gas prices are causing "hybrid fever" across the country. While a conventional car sits on the dealer's lot for an average of 65 days before it sells, a Toyota Prius, the most popular hybrid, lasts just six days -- or sometimes only six hours.

ABC News wanted to know what it would take for us to get one.

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Watch this story on ABC's "World News" tonight, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET

The first stop in the hybrid search was to see Richard Sears from Ourisman Honda in Bethesda, Md., where we found we would be put on a roughly 30-person waiting list.

Since hybrid demand has skyrocketed, a 30-person waiting list translates to a three- to four-month wait.

Ford Escape Hybrids are the next stop, but there aren't any to see. Even though the dealership placed requests, the manufacturers can't keep up with the high market demand. The wait is six months long.

"The manufacturer isn't building them fast enough for us," said Eric Jacobi at Castle Ford Dealership in Silver Spring, Md. "We have orders. We have people. We have everything but the product."

Part of the problem is that automakers didn't anticipate the surge in demand and don't have enough hybrid batteries on hand.

At the third dealership of the day, we finally found a hybrid on the lot: a Toyota Highlander.

The Highlander Hybrid only gets 2 more miles to the gallon on the highway than a regular Highlander, and it can cost up to $10,000 more.

"Hybrid fever" is not entirely rational, according to Edmunds.com. For example, even with gas prices exceeding $4 a gallon, it would take five years to break even on the cost of a Toyota Prius. Still, people want them.

"I believe we could probably do 100 hybrids a month -- at least," said Tammy Darvish of Dar Cars Toyota dealer in Silver Spring, Md.

How about a used hybrid? At the largest CarMax retailer in the country in Laurel, Md., there was not one hybrid on the lot to test drive.

Out of its 25,000 vehicles nationwide, CarMax has only 50 hybrids in total.

"We had one come in … a Prius … a couple weeks ago," Dan Kitzes, a CarMax salesman said. "It sold in about four hours."

In other words, Irene Magafan is one of the rare few. If you go shopping for a hybrid this weekend, you'll probably come away empty-handed.

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