Green Car Numbers Increasing – A Passing Fad, Or Upward Trend?
Just ten or 15 years ago, it seemed like the concept of owning a green car wasn’t only difficult – it was almost impossible, given the prices that were being charged for early hybrid and electric vehicles. However, recent technological developments – as well as an increasing shift in attitudes towards all things more healthy and environmentally-friendly – have really elevated green cars to not just a viable investment option, but a preferred choice among many buyers.
This was notably demonstrated with the announcement in June 2012 that the Fiat 500 – a city car that delivers a remarkable MPG output – had sold 100,000 models in the UK in just four and a half years. While 80 per cent of sales at popular car dealerships like Evans Halshaw were for the 1.2-litre petrol engine version, the new 0.9-litre two cylinder TwinAir version took a near-ten per cent share – even though the even greener option was introduced in 2010. The TwinAir produces just 95g/km of CO2 – well below the 100 threshold for road tax-exempt cars – and does over 60 miles to the gallon.
However, even the eco-resilient American market – which produces much larger-engine cars when compared to its European counterparts – is becoming more conscious of the planet when investing in cars. According to the latest figures from Ward’s Auto Info Bank, new car buyers bought a record 52,000 hybrid and electric cars during March 2012 – a massive increase on the 34,000 recorded during the same month last year.
Much like in the UK – where petrol prices stand at around £1.35 for a litre – it is believed that buyers are particularly pushed towards more fuel-efficient cars than ever before, as costs go towards $4 a gallon. Toyota leads the way in the green revolution, undoubtedly backed by celebrity endorsements, meaning that models such as the Prius C, Prius V Wagon and Camry Hybrid are selling well. However, Chevrolet’s Volt and Nissan’s LEAF are also catching the eye of buyers.
While the carrot and stick approach did not do so well with US buyers, it appears that the beating on their wallets is enough to make them reconsider. While this is more negative than eco-aware people may have wanted, one thing’s for sure: trends are changing, and even the American market is joining the trend – albeit slowly.
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