Sales of vehicles that run on something other than gasoline climbed significantly during the first quarter of 2012, with an especially big surge in demand for hybrids and high-mileage diesel products. The increase mirrors the rapid run-up in the price of gasoline – and has been buoyed by the increased availability of new diesel, battery and other vehicles able to use alternative energy sources.
The Toyota Prius, the world’s best-selling gas-electric model, set an all-time U.S. sales record in March. And during the first quarter, American hybrid car sales overall increased 37.2%. The emerging plug-in electric car market saw a sales increase of 323% after a slow and shaky start in 2012. By comparison, the overall automobile market increased 13.4% in 2012, according to new sales information compiled by HybridCars.Com and Baum and Associates.
“With higher fuel prices, Americans are seeking more fuel efficient cars so it’s understandable that diesel and hybrid cars are showing such impressive sales increases,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.