Cheaper gas fuels SUV sales, slows EV &Hybrid sales

edmundscomparepricesIn time for Earth Day, it looks like the green car buyers are going for more emissions and more gas-guzzling cars such as SUVs. Car buyers are trading in hybrid and electric cars for SUVs at a higher rate than ever before, reports reports overall sales of alternative vehicles have continued to slide. EVs and hybrids accounted for just 2.7 percent of all new car sales in the first quarter of 2015, down from 3.3 percent during that same period last year. The share of SUVs, meanwhile, has increased from 31.8 percent in Q1 2014 to 34.2 percent in Q1 2015.

22% of people who traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. An increase from 18.8 percent last year, and it is nearly double the rate of 11.9 percent just three years ago.

45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.

It appears EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment. When gas was at record-highs, more green cars were purchased. calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today’s national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same price gap.

New reports suggest that the government should give rebates at the time of sale of a electric cars rather than tax credits.