Despite Gas Prices, Hybrid Sales on the Decline?
With gasoline prices high and likely to go higher, it might be expected that
Americans would increasingly be turning to fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. But
sales of gasoline-electric hybrids have actually been dropping.
The culprit: the improved mileage car buyers can get from today's
gasoline-only vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Hybrid sales accounted for 2.8 percent of the U.S. auto market in 2009, but
slipped to 2.4 percent in 2010 and to 2.2 percent last year, according to
researcher LMC Automotive.
"Consumers don't want to pay as much as $6,000 extra for a hybrid when they
can get 40 mpg on the highway in a standard car such as a Chevrolet Cruze or
Hyundai Elantra," Business Week observes.
"And even more conventional cars with hybrid-caliber mileage are coming this
year, thanks to advancements that enable engines to burn fuel up to 20 percent