"South Park" got a lot of laughs from hybrid car owners (and others) in an episode called "Smug Alert!" based on the smugness that seems to ooze from a newly minted hybrid owner. There's no dispute that hybrid cars use gas more efficiently, but is a hybrid the best choice for everyone (and the planet) every time? When you consider the amount of energy that goes into making a new car, it may make sense, financially and environmentally, to purchase a used conventionally powered car. Diesel engines have made big leaps in reliability, performance and economy, and can also be a better choice than a hybird for the pocketbook and Mother Nature. Ecologically smart car shoppers should study all their options before signing on the dotted line.