For those inquiring minds, yes, November still would've been bad without factoring in Volkswagen's stop-sale on diesels. Last month's green-car vehicle demand in the US plunged 27 percent from a year earlier to about 31,600 units as a combination of lower gas prices and the pending arrival of updated hybrids and plug-ins appeared to continue to restrain customers. Factor out the November 2014 VW diesel vehicle sales for truer apples-to-apples (On top of the bad press, Volkswagen had a full-month stop-sale on its diesels in the wake of the emissions-cheat-software scandal that was disclosed in September), and green-car sales were still down 16 percent. Last month's plug-in vehicle sales declined 6.3 percent from a year earlier to almost 8,800 units.

Toyota, per usual, had a big impact, though its results weren't disastrous. Sales among the four Prius variants were down 9.9 percent from a year earlier, and demand for the standard Prius liftback was actually up a tad. Green-car sales within Toyota's Lexus division were down 12 percent, matching the decline for Toyota as a whole. Toyota also started sales of its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, moving 21 units last month.

Far more damaging were the numbers from Nissan and Honda. Customers appeared to be awaiting planned improvements for the Leaf electric vehicle, whose November sales plunged 62 percent from a year earlier to 1,054 units. Honda was nearly as bad, with its green-car sales plunging 61 percent from 2014's numbers on big declines for the Insight and Accord Hybrid.

And at Ford, green-car sales fell by a relatively mundane 21 percent to 4,555 units. While Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid sales rose 26 percent, demand for the Fusion Hybrid as well as for both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the C-Max fell.

All of that more than offset some decent developments in the green-car world last month. With 2016 model-year Chevrolet Volts coming through the door, sales of the extended-range plug-in jumped 48 percent from a year earlier to 1,980. That kept General Motors' green-car sales almost even with November 2014.

Volkswagen's e-Golf electric vehicle almost quadrupled sales from a year earlier to 472 units.

Through November, green-car vehicle sales were down 17 percent from a year earlier to about 473,000 units, while plug-in vehicle sales fell 11 percent to about 96,000 units.

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