Drop in Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius demand more than offset gains from Tesla, Chevy Volt
Green Car Sales
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.
"Now and again, I get the feeling, well if I don't win, I'm gonna break even," Tom Petty sang on his 1994 nugget You Wreck Me. And while we're not out to wreck any hybrids or electric vehicles, it's safe to say that the sentiment of that lyric is an appropriate one when analyzing last month's green-car sales.
Gas prices are up. There are more hybrid and plug-in vehicle models available to the public than ever. Nissan's doing great with its Leaf and Tesla continues to exceed sales expectations with its Model S. And yet advanced-powertrain and alt-fuel vehicle sales continue to crater compared to the numbers from a year ago. What's going on here?
Proponents of advanced-powertrain vehicles may want us to start including the Tesla Model S in their monthly US calculations. Even though Tesla doesn't give out monthly sales totals, without counting sales of the luxury electric sedan, the green-car story just isn't getting much better.
Anyone hoping September's flatlining of US green-car sales was an aberration will be disappointed. October's numbers are in and they're not much better. With gas prices working their way down from their summertime highs, Americans continued to show tempered enthusiasm for hybrids, plug-ins and diesels, as October green-car sales rose just 4.3 percent from a year earlier to 48,191 units. While plug-in vehicle sales rose 29 percent compared to October 2012, year-to-date plug-in numbers had been up