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Have Hybrid Cars Peaked?

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On: Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 9:10AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

Have Hybrid Cars Peaked?

For years, we were all so fixated on rising gas prices. From checking the news daily to see what we can expect when we left the house, to hanging on to every word made by forecasters on the issues, Americans were once downright obsessed with gas prices. Now, we’re taking the issue with stride—we’re pretty desensitized and accepting of the situation. So, what does this mean for the hybrid market?

While gas prices hover between $3.55 to $3.70 a gallon, sales of the Toyota Prius and other hybrids are leveling out. This suggests that hybrids may have reach their peak in the market.

Not to say that gas prices are low, but consumers are more comfortable with the idea that they’re stable. Even though prices are high, they aren’t sensationalized like they once were, and the panic of reaching $6 a gallon in upcoming months isn’t the reality anymore.

The hybrid purchase premium has failed to be offset by the gasoline savings and consumers just aren’t buying it. Even though hybrid technology is far more accepted now in the market than it once was, Prius sales are down 1% from this time last year. Not to mention that four vehicles now carry the Prius badge.

Last year, 594,485 alternative fuel vehicles were sold—compare that to 274,749 in 2010. There are currently 47 hybrid models on the market, compared to 24 in 2009. However, the decline in sales from 2013 to 2014 is already evident. Depending on the month, hybrid sales have accounted for 1.5 to 4 percent of the market; those numbers are barely up from 2010.

Perhaps the people who wanted to try out hybrids already have them, or maybe are just much more comfortable with the idea of paying $4 a gallon than they once were. No sharp spikes are expected in the price of gas anytime soon either.

Last year, $6 a gallon for gasoline was the paranoia as prices were all over the place. Obviously, gas never even got close to that price, nor has it averaged above $4 a gallon.

Delayed purchases from a harsh winter will also factor into 2014 sales, so the drop in sales might just be a fluke. However, most experts agree that the relationship between hybrid purchases and gas prices is less reactionary than it once was.


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