Sales of hybrid and electric cars are growing faster than expected, mostly due to cutting edge technologies and helpful government policy.
Twenty-eight percent of the US’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions derive from transportation, second to power plant emissions. Wider use of fuel-efficient cars has already curbed the 2005-2012 carbon dioxide emission rates by 16%.
In the first seven months of 2013, car manufacturers sold over 350,000 hybrid and electric cars, a 30% gain in sales from the same time, the first seven months, in 2012. Hybrid and electric cars are classified as light vehicles; and although they only comprise 4% of that classification, they have become very mainstream and accessible to the public. The Toyota Prius is the most popular hybrid car, and one of the 10 best-selling cars in America.
Unlike hybrids, electric cars are still a fairly specialized product, more often purchased by wealthier buyers. However, federal and state tax rebates are boosting sales by giving more people the opportunity to buy electric cars. Tesla Motors manufactures the best selling electric car, the Model S; other companies like BMW and Cadillac are following suit.
The federal government’s 2010 mandate that obligates car manufacturers to double new-car average fuel economy by 2025 has propelled the car industry to produce more fuel efficient cars at a faster rate; Obama’s loan guarantees to renewable energy and electric car companies have also accelerated car manufacturers’ timelines. Tesla has made enough money from its hybrid and electric cars to pay off its $465 million loan, nine years early.
Read our previous entry on fuel efficient trucks, GM planning strict diet for new pickup trucks.
Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan
August 30, 2013
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