Even with high gas prices, Americans are choosing fuel effiecient compacts with conventional gas engines over pricier gas-electric hybrids. Sales have steadily increased with the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze while hybrids are showing little activity.
Hybrid sales in the U.S peaked in July,2009 peaking at 3.6% and last month sales were down to 1.6% however production cuts and the Japan disaster are playing a factor.
“Even with the fuel savings, it doesn’t make sense to buy a hybrid” for many buyers, says Power Senior Manager Mike Omotoso of J.D Power and Associates. “This year, we had $4 gas (in many cities) but we saw the introduction of compacts that get 40 mpg. All of these cars are considerably cheaper than hybrids.”
The nations best-selling hybrid is the Toyota Prius averaging 50 mpg, while the Ford Fusion hybrid averages 38.5 mpg. However, all Elantras and some Focus and Honda Civic models are rated at 40 mpg or more on the highway.
New conventionally powered cars use various strategies to increase gas mileage to compete at hybrid levels- without the batteries and electric motors that can increase the price of the car by $6,000, according to J.D Power and Associates.
[Source: USA Today]