Posted Nov 9th 2012 10:03AM
A recent study of new car registrations by Edmunds reveals that some big car-buying states aren't as interested in electric or gas-electric hybrids as other states.
It's no surprise that California – the Number One car-buying state – is the top green car buyer as well. A large number of "early adopters," strong local incentives and access to High Occupancy Lanes with a single person in the cab likely tilted a large number of buyers into alternative power trains, experts said.
Through August, Californians bought 11.1 percent of all of the vehicles sold in America. They also bought 32 percent of all electric vehicles sold and 24.7 percent of all hybrids, according to retail registrations tracked by R.L. Polk and examined by Edmunds. Edmunds estimates that electric and hybrid vehicles make up 3.4 percent of the total mix of vehicles sold, a full percentage point higher than last year.
"Mainstream car buyers have been slow to accept hybrid and electric vehicles, but the numbers are trending up, and you can almost hear a sigh of relief from automakers who made big bets on these vehicles," said Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell in a statement. "As more alt-fuel vehicles come to the market and as prices for these cars become more affordable, we expect a higher percentage of shoppers will at least consider an alternative fuel vehicle the next time they're buying a new car."
However, the study also points out that residents in places like Michigan, who buy up 3.7 percent of the total vehicles sold, only bought 1.8 percent of the hybrids sold.
Caldwell says that low gas prices, fewer traffic problems and smaller urban areas – resulting in fewer places to charge electric vehicles – creates little incentive for car buyers to switch to an electric or plug-in hybrid.
However some anomalies do make sense. For example, Tennessee is the ninth ranked state in the list of who buys electric vehicles, buying 2.9 percent of all electrics, even though the state is 19th in total volume at 1.7 percent. Tennessee is home to Nissan's US headquarters and builder of the Leaf.
Scroll down to see the top 10 states in electric vehicle sales, hybrid sales and overall market sales.