Easing gas prices haven’t put a dent in hybrid sales.
Through the first quarter of this year, sales of hybrids rose 19 percent over the same period a year ago, according to Autodata. The data include both conventional hybrid models and plug-ins like the Chevrolet Volt, which are rechargeable and can travel on electricity only for some distance before a gas engine kicks in and extends the car’s range.
The growth came when sales of all types of autos rose a little more than 6 percent during the same period.
Analysts think hybrid sales are starting to decouple from the gas-price cycle. Previously, sales of hybrid cars have risen with gas prices and fallen when the cost of fuel eased. As of this week, gas prices have fallen about 35 cents from a year ago to a national average of $3.56, according to AAA.
Most Read Business Stories
- Google puts lid on cookie jar and ends an internet era | Commentary
- MacKenzie Scott marries Seattle teacher after Bezos divorce
- FAA safety engineer goes public to slam the agency's oversight of Boeing's 737 MAX
- Bill to limit evictions in Washington state advances
- 55,000 in Washington state may have to pay back thousands in jobless benefits
In the AAA’s Seattle-Bellevue-Everett region, regular gas is averaging $3.76 a gallon, down from $4.17 a year ago.
Hybrids now account for about 4 percent of auto sales, up from about 3 percent a year ago.
New models account for much of the growth.
Hybrids now represent about 12 percent of Ford Fusion sales, compared with about 4 percent a year ago. Ford recently redesigned the Fusion, improving the fuel efficiency of the hybrid model by about 20 percent.
Ford said its hybrid sales in the first quarter rose 324 percent to 21,080 vehicles. It was the first time the automaker has sold more than 20,000 hybrids in a quarter.
At Toyota, hybrids now account for about 20 percent of Avalon sales. The sedan wasn’t offered as a hybrid a year ago. About 12 to 13 percent of Camry sales are now hybrids, up from the 5 percent of the previous generation of the car.