Hybrid and electric vehicle sales are feeling the impact of cheap gas.
According to a recent report by Edmunds.com, 55 percent of hybrid and electric vehicle owners are switching back to standard gasoline vehicles at trade-in time, marking the lowest level of hybrid loyalty since the company began tracking transactions in 2011. Over 20 percent of those customers are opting for a conventional SUV at trade-in, nearly double the rate compared to three years ago. Electrified vehicle sales have dropped 3.4 percent through April this year compared to 2014 and made up just 2.7 percent of the market.
The average price of gasoline has fallen to $2.66, compared to nearly $4 in 2012. In addition, fuel economy on crossovers and SUVs has improved by up to a third in less than a decade while some midsize sedans can even return 35 mpg, making hybrids and electric vehicles less attractive. Automakers aren’t convinced that it’ll be a lasting trend, with Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin saying, “We still see hybrid as a clear advantage in overall efficiency. They might not be the flavor of the month, but we know where fuel prices are going, and that it’s a finite resource.”
And don’t expect automakers to just give up development of alternative fuel vehicles including hydrogen fuel cell and more electric vehicle offerings. GM has no intention of allowing gas prices to change its plan of launching the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which will arrive showrooms this fall.
[Source: NY Times]
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