I live in the St. Loius, MO metro area and have contacted a Ford/Mercury dealer about hybrid availability. This particular dealer has 1 Mariner and 2 Escape hybrids in stock. I asked about price and they are charging a $3,000 premium over MSRP right now.

I certainly understand market demand, but don't we as a society need to make these types of vehicles as affordable as possible? Think about it, here is a vehicle that not only helps in terms of reducing gas consumption, but also helps the environment with reduced emissions. But... instead of making them affordable, we are charging a premium that offsets the tax credit! Oh well, I guess that is just the way it goes. Too bad.

I guess I'll get a CR-V since it gets 26mpg (and is rated ULEV-II) for around $25,000 vs. 32mpg at $36,000 (with $3,000 markup) for the Mariner/Escape. Wanted to buy American if possible, but this is too much of a premium.