As gas prices climb, it appears that electric and hybrid cars are looking more attractive to Americans.
In fact, a growing number of U.S. drivers have begun researching these types of vehicles, according to the online car shopping website Edmunds.
The website says that over the past month it has seen a 39% jump in people who are perusing its webpages that focus on green vehicles, such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars. And the number of such visits soared 17.9% in the week that ended on March 6.
The surge in green-vehicle curiosity is part of a larger trend that has seen green cars emerge as a bigger presence on the nation’s roadways. In 2021, green vehicles made up 6.2% of all new vehicle purchases, with battery electric vehicles (EVs) alone grabbing 2.6% of all sales.
Those numbers were up from 2020, when green vehicles made up 4.2% and EVs 1.9% of all new vehicle sales.
In a press release, Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights, says green vehicles — and especially EVs — have moved forward into the consciousness of American car shoppers in the past year, thanks to more automakers rolling out and publicizing these vehicles.
However, she adds that “the major surge in interest of late is certainly more of a reaction to record gas prices sparked by the war in Ukraine.”
So, is this the time to buy a green car? Caldwell cautions shoppers that they may need to be patient if they plan to purchase one of these vehicles:
“Unfortunately, making an EV purchase is not particularly easy to do right now amid inventory shortages, and price-sensitive consumers most affected by gas price hikes will likely find that making the switch is also a bit out of financial reach due to the premiums that these vehicles command.”
The average transaction price for a new EV was $60,054 in February, which was $1,820 more than an EV’s average manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $58,234, Edmunds reports.
And EVs are much more expensive than other types of cars. In fact, the average transaction price for all new vehicles — including EVs — was $45,596 in February.
Other experts have warned that EVs are costly both to insure and repair.
Still, Caldwell notes that “environmental sustainability is a growing concern for consumers,” which means many shoppers may choose a green car regardless of whether it saves them money over the long run.