Those numbers come from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which calculates that there are almost 200,000 plug-in vehicles on US roads, with all but about 30,000 bought within the past three years. Unsurprisingly, Californians are the most enthusiastic buyers, accounting for 46 percent of new plug-in vehicle sales. That means Golden State residents, who doubled their plug-in vehicle purchases last year, are spending $40 million less on fuel than they'd otherwise spend. Of course, plug-ins tend to cost more to purchase than their gas-only counterparts, but either way, the UCS believes these results are "encouraging."
Plug-in vehicle sales in the US last year came up just short of the 100,000-unit mark, with EV sales rising 90 percent to 99,827 vehicles. The Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S battery-electric vehicles combined to account for about two-thirds of those sales, with Leaf sales doubling last year and Tesla sales jumping by a factor of eight. Despite the increases, plug-in vehicle sales can't compare to the more than 234,000 units of the four Prius variants that Toyota sold last year.