The St Paul Travelers insurance group, one of America’s biggest car insurers, has announced that from February hybrid owners will receive the favourable rate.

While the small print says the offer may not be available in all States, the indication is that the deal will be available to the vast majority of hybrid drivers.

And although the deal will make dual fuel cars more attractive it was not an altruistic desire to help the environment that spurred the insurance company into action.

“Our preliminary research indicates that hybrid owners tend to fall into the preferred insured category and lower risk drivers are rewarded with lower premiums,” said Greg Toczydlowski, senior vice president of product management for Travelers.

“Additionally, hybrid vehicle sales have at least doubled every year since the first car was offered in the US in 1999. This trend shows no signs of slowing, and Travelers intends to serve this growing market with innovative products to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

According to the company the average hybrid owner is 41-60, married and a responsible driver.

By August last year there were almost 330,000 hybrids on America’s roads, with the lion’s share registered in California.

Until recently, hybrid ownership tended to appeal to those attracted to new technologies and the environmentally conscious but rising fuel prices and supply scares such as those which followed Hurricane Katrina have made the vehicles an increasingly attractive prospect to a wider market.

“Industry experts predict that hybrids could make up nearly 15 percent of total registered vehicles within the next ten years,” said Mr Toczydlowski.

“Travelers’ discount will provide further incentive for consumers contemplating a hybrid as it will help to offset the higher price of these vehicles.”

By Sam Bond

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