With Fuel Prices Low, Car Shoppers Shun Hybrids, Electric Vehicles | Edmunds

With Fuel Prices Low, Car Shoppers Shun Hybrids, Electric Vehicles


SANTA MONICA, California — Car shoppers are bypassing fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles because of cheap gasoline prices, according to a new Key Insights analysis from Edmunds.com.

The hybrid/electric drive market share of 2.7 percent is the lowest March share since 2010. In 2010, there were only 22 alternative-drive models, versus 64 in 2015.

Sales of the Toyota Prius hybrid were down 14 percent in March compared to a year ago. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. sold 16,038 Prius vehicles last month.

Sales of the Nissan Leaf electric car dropped 27.5 percent in March compared to a year ago. Nissan North America sold 1,817 Leafs last month.

The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid recorded a steep sales decline in March, dropping 57 percent compared to March 2014. GM sold 639 Volts in March.

Pickups, SUVs and vans continue to dominate the market, registering their 19th month outselling cars, according to the analysis.

The Ford F-Series was the best-selling truck in March, while the Toyota Camry was the best-selling car.

"But as cheap fuel prices have caused shoppers to buy larger vehicles, they have also veered away from ultra fuel efficiency," the analysis noted.

Today's national average at the pump is $2.38, compared to $3.57 a year ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

"The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 24 of the past 30 days, after reaching a peak-to-date price for 2015 of $2.46 per gallon on March 7," the report said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said the average household is expected to spend $710 less for gasoline in 2015 compared with last year because of lower prices.

Edmunds says: Fuel efficiency is taking a backseat for many car shoppers.

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