Fossil Fuel Hangover

So once again the fossil fuel party hangover is setting in. A good portion of the big windfall in record-setting auto industry profits in 2011 were in trucks and premium high performance models.

Because fuel prices had moderated — after over-all transportation fuel consumption actually dropped during the depth of recession in 2009 by 7.1 percent — even the constant drum beat about fuel economy and new hybrid and electric models did little to stave off the return of bad habits.

In fact, of total car sales of about 12 million cars in the US — only 2.46 percent are hybrids — and fewer than 1 perecent are electrics.

The good news is that this time the auto industry is ready for the current spike in fuel prices with lots of interesting gas-sipping alternatives.

Here are some top picks: the $15,200 KIA Forte LX offers 25 city 34 hwy mileage with a kickin’ 156 horsepower and 6 speed manual trans. The Ford Focus SE — rated at 26 city 36 hwy — is ready to rally in high style $21,500. The new Subaru Impreza at just $17,495 is emboldened with fresh style and spaciousness and impressive 27 city 36 hwy mileage stats.