American Car Buyers Are Ditching Hybrids

Haven't we been over this already?

Getty Images / Scott Olson

At this point, it’s pretty clear: science says electric cars are good, hybrid cars are pretty good, and gas-powered cars are not so good. The American consumer, however, has seen electric cars, driven them, and said, “Nahhhhhh.”

According to a study by the car comparison and research site Edmunds, American consumers are trading in their electric cars for gas-powered ones again in huge numbers. In all, 75 percent of electric car owners swapping rides trade in their e-vehicle for a gas-powered car. That doesn’t mean that all electric car owners are giving up their Teslas and Leafs, but the ones that go for a trade-in aren’t getting a new electric vehicle back.

It’s confusing, because there aren’t really two sides to the issue, as science has repeatedly proven that decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels would significantly help mitigate the effects of climate change, and buying an electric car is the best way to contribute to that. Electric cars aren’t new but for a while there we thought they finally might be catching on. Turns out, when gas prices fall, Americans rush back to the pumps, and into the seats of their good old internal combustion whips.

Worst of all, consumers aren’t even picking fuel-efficient gas-powered cars. The Edmunds report shows that 33.8 percent of hybrid or EV trade-ins swap their clean-air wheels for an SUV or compact cross-vehicle (little SUV). They’re not exactly swapping them for Honda Fits or anything, they’re going big.

For the record, the least-efficient SUV out there is the Mercedes-Benz AMG G65, which according to, gets a measly 12 miles per gallon.


Gets the same gas mileage as this:

Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

So, it’s essential to keep electric cars on the streets, because “reducing personal emissions is perhaps the most important thing Americans can do,” Andrew Jones, a co-director of the Climate Interactive think tank told the New York Times. “We’re doing the opposite.”

Climate change is a problem now but that’s nothing compared to how huge of a problem it will be the future. While the staggering preorder numbers for the Tesla Model 3 are encouraging, the electric car industry clearly needs to rethink its marketing strategies if it’s going to compete with cheap gas.

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