Toronto, Ontario – Sales of vehicles in Canada equipped to run on alternative fuels grew from 2007 to 2008, although traditional gasoline-powered cars and trucks still accounted for more than nine out of every 10 new-vehicle sales in 2008, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The survey includes diesel, ethanol, and gasoline-electric vehicles.

The study found that diesel penetration dropped by 1.1 percentage points in 2008, mostly due to Volkswagen’s temporary withdrawal from the diesel market. In contrast, deliveries of vehicles with the ability to run on ethanol, known as flex-fuel, increased almost fourfold to 4.4 per cent of the market, due to Chrysler, General Motors and Ford expanding their portfolios of these models.

Hybrid model deliveries increased to 1.7 per cent of the market, a rise of one-half percentage point in comparison to 2007. The study said that the very low turn rate of these hybrid models is the result of limited supply and the growing eco-consciousness of the buying public.

Among individual major metro markets, diesel penetration was highest in Calgary/Edmonton, although the results were down to 6.7 per cent in 2008, versus 9.1 per cent in 2007. Hybrid penetration was highest in Toronto at 2.8 per cent, almost two-thirds greater than the national average, and one-half percentage point higher than Vancouver. Gasoline-powered vehicles accounted for 96 per cent of all new vehicle sales in Montreal, although this result was down by 0.9 per cent from the prior year.

Connect with Autos.ca