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Posted by on Dec 13, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Hybrid Car Sales To Level Off For 2008

With 11 months of sales figures in the books for 2008, hybrid cars sales may be leveling off. Despite the major increase in gas prices during the summer and fall of 2008, only 268,042 hybrids have been sold through November, compared to the 324,318 sold in all of 2007, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Toyota has only sold  151,025 Priuses this year (the most popular hybrid) compared to 181,221 from all of last year.

The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car

The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car

Though many expected the sales of hybrids to increase this year with the rising cost of gas, the poor economy is likely to blame for the dip in sales. With auto companies stuggling across the board with sales, and with the high sticker price of hybrids, people may be staying away. The lack of available credit likely contributes to the lower sales as well.

Despite the economy’s effects on hybrid sales figures, there are some great economic incentives to own own (other than the impressive fuel efficiency).

Federal and state governments and corporations have several incentives in place to encourage the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles like the Prius. The federal government offers a tax credit to buyers up to a certain number of cars sold by the manufacturer. This credit can range from $787 to $3150. Many state governments offer tax incentives as well, including Colorado, Connecticut and Illinois. Many states allow hybrid cars to drive in the HOV carpool lanes and some cities (e.g. Los Angeles and San Jose, CA) have exempted hybrid cars from paying for street parking. New York state offers several discounts to hybrid cars on various tolls in the state.

Several companies have also offered incentives to people purchasing a Prius. Google, Hyperion Solutions, and Clif Bar & Co. offer employees $5000 credits toward the purchase of a hybrid car, including the Prius. Other companies with incentives include Bank of America, Timberland, Patagonia, DLA Piper law firm, non-profit American Jewish Committe, Topics Entertainment and Excel Contract Logistics, among others.

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  • R. Mallory

    Hybrids are simply not econonomically feasible when compared to other vehicles of their size class. The Pruis that costs 24-32K and is smaller than a Toyota Corolla, but only gets ten more miles per gallon. When cost of money is factored in (not to mention the need for 6.5 K of batteries and controllers at 120K), the vehicle costs users as much as $2.5 K more per year to own and will never break even with comparable vehicles. Consumer reports says it is a family car and refuses to compare it to similiar sized vehicles.

    No wonder sales are off 50% or more when people don’t have an extra $6-10K to throw away just to look green.

    Another example of the Al Gore Syndrome. If you tell a lie often enough and get enough publicity to accompany the lie, after a while it becomes the truth.

    For me, Hybrids need to demonstrate that the batteries and the controllers can be made to be as reliable and sold at a comparable prices to similiar vehicles that are gasoline powered. Simply put, I cannot agree to pay extra for unproven and un-economic technology.