January 7, 2003

Popularity of ‘green’ vehicles soars, according to R. L. Polk

Detroit, Michigan – Environmentally friendly vehicles have seen a 54-fold increase in popularity in the past five years, according to analysis of U.S. vehicle registrations by R. L. Polk & Co.

From January through October 2002, seven electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles accounted for nearly 35,000 registrations, compared to just 650 new registrations in 1997. Gas-electric hybrids accounted for nearly 83 percent of the 2002 registrations.

Nearly 30 percent of all environmentally friendly vehicles are from California Designated Marketing Areas (DMAs), where higher fuel costs (nearly 20 cents per gallon more than the national average) and stricter environmental regulations have sparked growth in “green” vehicles. Three of the top five “green” vehicle markets — Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento — are in California.

The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, both gas-electric hybrid vehicles, are the most popular environmentally friendly vehicles, representing 78 percent of the total “green” vehicle registrations. The Prius accounted for approximately 17,500 registrations, while the Civic reached nearly 10,000.

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