Falling oil prices seem to have affected electric and hybrid car sales. It should come as no surprise that the demand for ultra-fuel efficient vehicles may decline with lower gas prices. So what’s the future for the electric car? Let’s take a look.
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As Goes The Price Of Gas…
Back in 2011-2012, a gallon of gas cost nearly $4. Now, in many states you pay less than $2 per gallon. For those who remember the gas shortages in the 1970s, you know that the petroleum industry can manipulate supply. Also, with the appearance of fracking and other sources, oil is more plentiful right now. In 2015, a time of relatively lower prices for gasoline, electric vehicle sales fell by 13.2%.
Below is a comparison of the number of hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) sold in the United States vs. the average retail price of gasoline per gallon. In 2015, there was a 13.4% reduction in overall HEV sales along with a 26.7% drop in gasoline prices.
What About The Environment?
Regardless of how you feel about global warming, energy conservation is a good thing. Now while some HEV owners genuinely care about the environment, others might only be interested in fuel savings. Most likely, more of those in the second group are considering a gasoline powered vehicle due to low pump prices.
Signs Of The Times
California is the state with the highest sales of electric and hybrid vehicles, likely due to the fact that California still offers rebates of up to $5,000 on the purchase of eco-friendly vehicles. The Toyota Prius remains the third-best-selling car in California.
However, across the country Prius sales dropped 10.9% in 2015. Meanwhile, the Chevy Volt took a 18.1% sales hit in 2015, and the Nissan Leaf fell 42.8% in 2014 vs. 2015 sales figures.
Gas Guzzlers Don’t Guzzle As Much
Another reason electric vehicles sales have fallen is that gasoline powered cars are becoming more efficient. Even some crossover and SUVs can get up to 30 mpg, and the EPA continues to establish tougher emissions standards.
The EPA is even pushing for zero emissions in some regions, but right now the only widely available vehicles that fit this bill are electric vehicles.
The electric vehicle is here to stay. There will always be people who want the highest fuel efficiency possible. Other owers are more environmentally proactive. But as long as gas prices stay low, we’ll probably see fewer HEVs on the road.
The situation can change rapidly. As soon as oil prices climb, we’ll certainly see electric and hybrid car sales ramp up again.
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