First, a bit of a shocker for those who don't follow the Japanese auto market: the Toyota Prius is the top-seller in Japan, period. You don't have to add a disclaimer to that one and no, it's not just the best-selling hybrid; the Prius has been the nations overall top-seller for almost a year now.
Okay, we get it, Japan likes the Prius... but what about other hybrid vehicles? Well, for the first two months of this year, hybrid sales in Japan totaled 72,191 units. That might not seem like a lot, but it beats U.S. sales of hybrids by more than twofold. Rising fuel costs, high incentives and a large selection of available models have contributed to increased sales of hybrids in Japan.
Though the U.S. has a few pieces of the hybrid puzzle in place, fuel is still comparatively cheap and could be holding our adoption of hybrids back. Throw in a hefty gas tax, as has been done in many other countries of the world, and hybrid sales could soar.