2016 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt rear 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt front view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt rear view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt headlight
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt grille
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2016 Chevrolet Volt badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt taillight
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt engine
  • Image Credit: Chevrolet
2016 Chevrolet Volt interior
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt interior
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt rear seats
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt gauges
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2016 Chevrolet Volt gauges
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt infotainment system
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2016 Chevrolet Volt infotainment system
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2016 Chevrolet Volt shifter
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2016 Chevrolet Volt rear cargo area
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2016 Chevrolet Volt media drive
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Chevrolet Volt media drive
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
US plug-in vehicle sales reached a quarterly record for the three-month period that ended September 30, as demand improved for plug-in models such as the Tesla Model S battery-electric vehicle and the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). September also marked a record month for plug-in vehicle sales. Now imagine if gas prices were high or if all the electric vehicles available for sale in California were on dealer lots in most US states?

Americans bought more than 45,000 plug-in vehicles during the third quarter, up 60 percent from a year earlier. Almost 17,000 plug-ins were bought in September alone. In addition to the Tesla and Volt, newer models such as the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid SUV added to the total and more than offset the impact of lower demand for Bimmer's i3 electric vehicle.

The UCS notes that models such as the Fiat 500e, Chevrolet Spark EV, and VW e-Golf have little exposure outside of California. Additionally, gas prices are averaging a relatively low $2.23 a gallon, down from $2.29 a gallon a year ago, according to AAA.

While the trend appears clear, one should proceed with caution when it comes to the numbers submitted by the UCS, which cited InsideEVs as its data source. That's because Tesla Motors doesn't break out which of its quarterly sales are in the US, nor does it disclose monthly figures. Additionally, sales figures for models such as the BMW 330e and Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid aren't officially disclosed by the automakers.

Our figures have third-quarter plug-in vehicle sales at about 36,000 units, which was up about 38 percent from a year earlier. We also have September plug-in vehicle sales at about 11,700 units, up 34 percent from a year earlier.

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