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Americans Still Aren't Buying Fuel-Efficient Cars

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 05:52 PM

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The Detroit Free Press is reporting sluggish demand for fuel-efficient cars despite gas prices climbing above $4-per gallon in many parts of the country.

The Free Press: "Hybrid car sales actually shrunk from 2.9 percent of new vehicle sales in 2009 to 2.4 percent last year. Sales of light trucks -- pickups, SUVs, crossovers and minivans -- rose to 51 percent from 48 percent over the same period."

Car companies have to meet government standards for fleet-wide fuel efficiency. Meeting those targets requires increasing sales of  smaller cars with higher miles-per-gallon performance, and hybrids, which earn carmakers credits under the system.

The government's average fuel economy standards call for a fleet-wide average of 35.5 m.p.g. by 2016. "The 2010 average of all new vehicles actually slipped to 22.2 m.p.g. from 22.3 m.p.g." the Free Press reports.

For a sense of sales numbers of the newest generation of electric cars as compared to SUVs The Free Press offers this: "In the first two months of the year, Chevrolet sold 602 Volts while Nissan sold 154 Leafs. In the same period, by contrast, Cadillac sold 2,793 Escalades and Lincoln sold 1,193 Navigators."

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