Hybrids not immune, after all

Written by erik


Well, so much for my gas-electric crystal ball. Last month, I confidently predicted that hybrid sales in December 2008 would reach the same 2.2% of total car sales that they had reached in December of the previous year. But this chart from Green Car Congress tells it differently:

Hybrid sales share (the purple line in the chart) continued to fall, easing below 2% to 1.97% of all new cars sold in December. I suppose it’s hard to argue against cheap gas making the return on the hybrid investment less interesting, but I remain hopeful.

What do you all think? Hybrid sales back over 2% in 2009?

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  1. Jenn

    Nope, it is a matter of economics. When people are losing their jobs, they are not going to be buying cars at all. I bet we won’t see an increase until 2010.

  2. Tom Harrison

    My interpretation is simply that when people think gas is going to be expensive, they are willing to pay more for hybrids.
    I think hybrid (or perhaps more broadly “fuel efficient vehicles”) will not make a resurgence until there’s an economic incentive for people to buy them. Who knows when that will be? Probably not for a while if the economy is still in the dumps.

  3. J.W. Harris

    Car sales in general are down due to the economy. Add to that the low price of gas, and it is a bad situation. I don’t think we’ll see a resurgence of any auto sales until late 2009–if then.
    I agree that hybrid sales will not come back up until a) the economy improves, and b) gas prices go back up. Its too bad that the price of hybrids can’t come down to something closer to non-hybrids. Seems like the government is going to have to force the auto industry to add some economic incentives for hybrids or increase gas taxes to the point that hybrids make economic sense.

  4. J.B.

    We purchased a new vehicle in November, and although I would have liked to purchase a Hybrid for the amount of mileage we put on our last car (83,000 over 8 years with my ’01 Chevy Cavalier), mostly city driving, we couldn’t justify the $5,000 difference in price. Even the gas savings didn’t make it a good option. One day I hope that the Hybrid, or a full electric option is available for middle income families that need a bit more room then the Prius at a price that makes driving green more attainable.

  5. mb

    Hybrids are cars and they were bought by individuals who got the message concerning GHG initially. The rest who followed and bought hybrids were reacting to their gut instinct and saw gas prices going north of $5. Now that the cost of gas has retreated there is no incentive for their seeing beyond their noses. Oil as a commodity reached heights un-thought of in our lifetimes. So once they commence to climb again it will go beyond those heights because we have been there before. One sucks the juice out of an orange and casts the rind away…Oil is not an unlimited commodity. Every we time we draw out oil from the ground there is one barrel less. One does not have to be Einstein- Merely mathematics.

  6. Dan Davis

    What I think is, that batteries are now very resource intensive and we need to think past standard hybrids. A turbo diesel VW Jetta gets 50 MPG+ which I believe is hybrid mileage, with a roomier car. Power with small efficient and clean turbo-diesels, powered with biodiesel fuel blows away the efficiency and greenness of hybrids. Biodiesel is very efficient to produce (unlike ethanol) and pollutes way less than ethanol or petro-diesel. It can be used in virtually any diesel engine (anywhere diesel is used)without mods. If you must promote hybrids, please use a small diesel generator to charge compressed air as Ford was going to do until the neo cons sucked all the money from our economy.
    We must keep thinking and not get locked in to a technology that is not the best way to go. Hybrids are surely better than a hummer taking Sally to the grocery and maybe a good interim solution since we have little else now but let’s think about moving on!

  7. Gene Meade

    My question is, what is the production capacity of the industry? What portion of each individual car company’s capacity to build hybrid cars is being sold. In the case of Ford (I own an Escape Hybrid, I believe the engine which is an Atkinson Cycle engine as opposed to the common Otto Cycle engine is not built by by Ford, thereby being a possible limiting capacity factor. No one I have talked with knows the source of this unique engine. Batteries might be another limiting part.

  8. Anonymous

    I really hope that hybrids come back, and that people will realize that it will save them money in the long run, and of course Obama will do something about it! Right? We really can’t depend on gas, it’s not safe for our livelihood.