Toyota Prius

Together, Toyota and its Lexus luxury arm broke the 100,000-unit barrier for hybrid vehicle sales in Europe last year, Automotive News Europe reports.

Long known for their diesel-buying preferences as a way to boost fuel economy, Europeans upped their Toyota and Lexus hybrid purchases by a whopping 29 percent in 2012. While the Toyota brand accounted for more than three-quarters of the approximately 109,000 units sold, about 90 percent of Lexus vehicles sold in western Europe last year were hybrids.

While the 29 percent jump is impressive, it pales in comparison to the gains Toyota made in the US last year. The Japanese automaker boosted US alt-fuel sales by 83 percent in 2012 to more than 327,000 units and accounted for about 60 percent of all the hybrids sold Stateside. Lexus accounted for about 38,000 of the hybrids Toyota sold in the US in 2012.