Americans appear to be gearing up for further increases in US gas prices, as green-car sales last month had their largest year-over-year gains of 2014. Domestic customers bought almost 56,000 hybrids, plug-ins and diesels in April, marking a 2.6 percent increase from April 2013. Plug-in sales were particularly strong, jumping 41 percent from a year earlier, as sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S battery-electric vehicles all showed gains.

April's big winner among the automakers was Honda, moving 1,442 units of its newer Accord Hybrid

And April's big winner among the automakers was...Honda? Yes, Honda, which has long operated in the advanced-powertrain shadow of fellow Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan, came up big by moving 1,442 units of its newer Accord Hybrid. And while sales of the Civic Hybrid, CR-Z and Insight all fell, the Accord Hybrid drove Honda to boost its green-car sales by 78 percent from a year earlier to 2,839 units.

Per usual, Nissan and Tesla also showed year-over-year gains. Nissan boosted Leaf sales by 7.8 percent to 2,088 units. And while Tesla won't release its first-quarter results until May 7, the California-based automaker would've increased Model S sales by 34 percent to 2,300 just by maintaining its fourth-quarter 2013 sales pace.

Volkswagen and low-volume advanced-powertrain vehicle makers like Audi, Porsche and Daimler AG's Smart division also fared well in April. VW increased its diesel and Jetta Hybrid sales by 25 percent to 9,583 units. Audi's diesel sales quadrupled to 2,088 units. Smart sold 203 units of its newer Smart ED battery-electric vehicle.

Such gains more than offset sales declines from General Motors, Ford and Toyota, though Toyota's April was less painful than previous months.

GM's big mild-hybrid sales declines more than offset the 19 percent increase in Chevy Volt sales to 1,548 units and the sales of 491 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel vehicles. All told, GM's green-car sales declined 25 percent to 3,103 units.

Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales doubled and C-Max Energi PHEV sales jumped 28 percent.

Ford's green-car sales were down 12 percent to 7,554 vehicles. While Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales doubled and C-Max Energi PHEV sales jumped 28 percent, Fusion Hybrid sales were little-changed while C-Max Hybrid sales tumbled 50 percent to 1,586 units.

And Toyota, whose first-quarter green-car sales were down 21 percent, saw its April sales fall 5.7 percent from a year earlier to 26,663 vehicles. Declines in Prius liftback sales and Lexus hybrid sales more than offset the effect of an increase in Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Avalon Hybrid sales.

US gas prices are already above last summer's highs.

US gas prices are already above last summer's highs and have jumped about 40 cents since the beginning of the year to about $3.70 a gallon, according to AAA. Check out our comprehensive sales chart by scrolling below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      Mark Schaffer
      • 2 Months Ago
      Danny King speculate as to the reasons that Americans are buying more hybrids. If only he were a journalist interested in finding out facts.
      GleninCA
      • 2 Months Ago
      The Cadillac ELR sales numbers are disappointing, even for a low volume car. Perhaps had they listened to us and not priced the car so ridiculously high they could've moved a few hundred more by now. I hope they drop the price of the car next year to a more reasonable amount...either that or make major improvements in the car's powertrain to make it more appealing to high end car buyers.
      lne937s
      • 2 Months Ago
      Looks like the Prius Plug-in has been quietly gaining steam. Beat the Volt last month and is basically tied with it year to date.
        Spec
        • 2 Months Ago
        @lne937s
        It may only be a last hurrah as the California green stickers just ran out.
      Spec
      • 2 Months Ago
      Ford's only big gainers were their Energi models. That is nice to see.
      Steve Townsend
      • 2 Months Ago
      Honda Insight 12.79% 441 391 -2.90% 1,507 1,552 Danny, this line shows the 12.79% in red, and should be in green, as it is an increase over 2013
      Spec
      • 2 Months Ago
      Stop wasting your money on the Toyota PiP, people. Get the Ford Energi cars if you want a small step into plug-ins. Or better yet, the Volt.
        lne937s
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Depending on your circumstances, the Prius may be a better option. At $29k to start, it will save you money and has a bigger interior. If you live less than 5 miles from work or less than 10 miles from work and can charge there, you really don't need more EV range. And if you routinely take long trips, the superior fuel economy running on gas for the Prius may work out in your favor. At 150 miles (Based on EPA ratings, not including electricity), a Prius plug in will use 2.78 gallons (3 for the non-plug-in), whereas a Volt uses 3.03 gallons. At 300 miles 5.78 gal for PiP (non-plug-in 6) vs. 7.08 gal for the Volt, and the gap widens the further you go... If you never take long trips, might as well get an EV.
          lne937s
          • 2 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          I think the people with that short of a commute are more than you think. But from a financial standpoint, it is likely that the majority of people would be saving money with the PiP and any fuel savings that they would potentially get from the Volt would not cover the price differential.
          Spec
          • 2 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          OK, fine. Let the PiP win the market for people who live less than 5 miles from work and regularly take long trips. But that is a pretty tiny niche market. We all know Toyota can build a much better plug-in car and I don't think they should be rewarded for this pathetic car which merely does what EV hobbyists did with the Prius eight years before Toyota did!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Months Ago
      Honda's weak hybrids continue to take a beating. Those sales numbers are usually below the threshold where an auto company will discontinue making a car. Those other 'compliance cars' are doing as expected. Prius sales are certainly sagging quite a bit.. this may have to do with the 2015 model looming. I think that the Spark EV could be doing a lot better if they sold it in all states. I suppose that GM isn't interested in that.
        Spec
        • 2 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Yeah, Honda has really been stagnating for a while. Perhaps their zeal toward fuel cell cars has led to them neglecting their hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure electric cars. This is bad long-term strategy.
          Aaronm_mt
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, Are you clueless about Honda's new one two and three motor hybrids. Honda's new Hybrid system is racking up technology awards. And, Honda has the plug-in Accord, and the Fit EV has one of the most advanced batteries you can get.
        CoolWaters
        • 2 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Honda's hybrids are made in Japan, and are more expensive then their other US built cars. It's almost as if Honda doesn't really want to sell them. Plus, no real improvement of the Insight after 5 years. No plans for the Fit EV to be imported. The company is Poorly Managed.
          Aaronm_mt
          • 2 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          The Accord Hybrid is built in Ohio.
        Aaronm_mt
        • 2 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        2 wheeled... The 50mpg in the CITY Accord would like to have a word with you. BTW, it is more powerful and faster than the gas counterpart. Honda doesn't even ship the CR-Z and Insight to the USA unless a dealer begs for them. Honda's new Hybrid is so popular in Japan, Honda can't get batteries fast enough to meet demand just for Japan. Article on Autoblog even! Don't expect to see Honda increase Hybrids in the USA till they get an additional source for batteries.
      • 2 Months Ago
      To avoid the gasoline price rip-off, plug your Tesla S electric car into your household, solar array.
      Dave
      • 2 Months Ago
      "Domestic customers bought almost 56,000 hybrids, plug-ins and diesels in April, marking a 2.6 percent increase from April 2013." Interestingly, if we omit diesels, the number actually dropped.
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