Share of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Sales are down



I was curious how Hybrid Electric Vehicles were doing, I had seen some data a few years ago showing the share of HEVs rocketing upward, to the point we could expect a large share of HEVs (or EVs) in the US fleet in a few years (perhaps a majority of new vehicles). However 2010 was a down year not only for sales (which given the overall economy is not surprising), but also share of sales (which given the drop in fuel prices from 2008, and perhaps the state of the economy, is not surprising, but perhaps troublesome). Sales are still dominated by the Toyota Prius.

All technologies have their ups and downs, deployment is seldom perfectly smooth (though it looks quite smooth in retrospect).

Data are from US EIA and EPA
Worksheets available at
Heavenrich (2010). Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2010. Appendix D. U.S. EPA: Washington DC.


Any thought on what leads to the drop in 2009? (chart 1)

Perhaps the accelerating-Prius debacle is to blame?

The car market was seriously down in general in 2009 (along with the whole economy), and also saw a huge collapse in fuel prices compared to 2008, so things went in all sorts of weird directions.

Just a few years ago, the number of cars with engines smaller than 2 liters could be counted on a single hand. Today, there are many cars that average more than 30 mpg both on the highway and in the city.

It actually takes 10 years for the drivers to start saving money from driving a Pirus. The higher price of a Prius roughly equal to 10 years of gas saving

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on March 30, 2011 4:32 PM.

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