Here's a bit of information that directly ties into the post I wrote earlier today, and helps explain that story a bit, too.

In the earlier piece, we found out from the LA Times that overall gasoline consumption in California dropped by 0.7 percent last year, even though nationally the trend continued upwards. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers released a notice yesterday (you can read it after the jump) that the number of alternative fuel autos on California's roads jumped up 17 percent in 2006. Remember, the Alliance counts flexible-fuel vehicles in their counts, so a lot of these "alternative fuel autos" are driving around on standard gasoline.

Still, California now has 837,743 hybrid-electric, ethanol-capable E85 and clean diesel autos on the road, according to numbers calculated by R.L. Polk and Co The Alliance says it is celebrating National Alternative Fuel Autos Month (it's National Alternative Fuel Autos Month?) "by releasing state specific data on the sales of Alternative Fuel Autos." I couldn't find this info on the website yet, but I'm curious to see how the states rank. Apparently California is number 2. Across the country, 1.5 million alternative fuel autos were sold in 2006

The members of the Alliance include BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.


Related:
[Source: Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers]
Number of Alternative Fuel Autos on California's Roads Increased 17% in 2006

California Drivers are Discovering the Alternatives: Over 837,000 Alternative Fuel Autos on California's Roads, Ranks Second Nationally

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Automakers are celebrating National Alternative Fuel Autos Month by releasing state specific data on the sales of Alternative Fuel Autos. The R.L. Polk and Co. figures show 837,743 hybrid-electric, ethanol-capable E-85 and clean diesel autos on California's roads in 2006, marking an increase of 17 percent from 2005 when there were approximately 700,000 Alternative Fuel Autos on the state's roads. California ranks second in the nation in terms of the total number of Alternative Fuel Autos on the road.

The Polk sales figures also reveal that on a national level an unprecedented 1.5 million Alternative Fuel Autos were sold in 2006, surpassing automakers' sales expectations by 50 percent. The 2006 sales bring the total number of Alternative Fuel Autos on the nation's roads to 10.5 million.

"I am pleased to see that the sales of Alternative Fuel Autos are rising. The auto industry is a dynamic high-tech sector and manufacturers are committed to selling vehicles that can run on something other than just gasoline. Consumers are taking notice," said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

"Automakers believe that consumer awareness, fueling infrastructure and government incentives all work together to help put more Alternative Fuel Autos on the roads," said McCurdy.

Currently manufacturers are offering 60 models of Alternative Fuel Automobiles for sale including hybrid electric, ethanol-capable E-85, and clean diesel, up from just 12 models for sale in 2000. A complete list of available autos can be found at http://www.discoveralternatives.com/. Additionally, auto engineers are working to include a diverse range of highly fuel-efficient technologies in new vehicles. Today, autos are on sale with variable valve timing, continuously variable transmissions, cylinder deactivation and more.

"One of the most effective ways to increase fuel efficiency and to achieve energy independence is through the growing number of alternative fuel automobiles," said Brian Maas, Director of Government Affairs for the California Motor Car Dealers Association. "Fortunately, California's new car dealers offer dozens of different models to choose from. It's clear that manufacturers and dealers are responding to the wants and needs of today's drivers," said Maas

Automakers are also working with the energy industry to develop a range of alternative fuels capable of sustaining mobility while ensuring more secure energy sources. In fact, Alliance members have forged more than 25 partnerships, joint ventures or research and development projects with energy producers to expand the fueling infrastructure for fuels such as ethanol, biomass and hydrogen. Automakers are also working with the government, fuel providers and fuel retailers to help grow the E-85 ethanol fueling infrastructure. Since mid-2005, the industry has helped add 200 fueling stations in 13 states.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 9 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen. For more information on advanced fuel-savings technology, visit the Alliance website at http://www.autoalliance.org/.

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