By on August 23, 2015


Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.

According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.

Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.

Jeff Aiosa, who owns a Mercedes dealership in New London, Connecticut, said his electrified B-Class cars weren’t going anywhere until that state started offering money directly to consumers to buy one.

“We weren’t selling them heavily before,” Aiosa told Automotive News. “The program certainly created some amped-up demand.”

Connecticut is offering money off the cars directly from a $1 million fund aimed at moving cars off lots. The state is putting up to $3,000 on the hoods of some cars, depending on battery size, to incentive purchases of hybrids and electric cars. Through July, about one-quarter of the incentive money available had been claimed.

“This is the type of program that can be a win-win-win for the state, auto manufacturers, dealers and consumers,” said Leo Karl, who owns a Chevrolet dealership. Karl said he was nearly out of 2015 Volts, which qualify for $1,500 from the program, and expects that the 2016 Volt, which will qualify for $3,000, will go quickly too.

Interestingly, part of the Connecticut program allows dealers who sell the cars to keep up to $300 of the incentive.

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16 Comments on “Interest in Hybrid Cars the Same, But Not When Money is Involved...”

  • avatar

    “This is the type of program that can be a win-win-win for the state, auto manufacturers, dealers and consumers,” said Leo Karl, who owns a Chevrolet dealership.

    Interesting that taxpayers weren’t mentioned.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, don’t tell me how bad your roads are and then elect officials that give incentives to consumers that, in turn, put less money into the road funds.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s how we roll in CT. Give giant raises to political cronies, and giant rebates for rich people to buy electric cars, then raise taxes and fees on everyone to cover it.

  • avatar

    Aggressive state sponsorship of abortions and birth control is how I want to address environmental concerns. But I’ll give Prii another try when I’m forced to replace my CR-V because 50+ mpg.

  • avatar

    That’s right, the subsidies for EV’s aren’t high enough to get the “non-rich” to buy them.

    A federal $8,000 on the spot rebate and a state sales tax exemption would probably change the game – you might see more EV’s in “middle class” neighborhoods.

  • avatar

    Products should sell themselves. Incentives generally favor the rich who have the money to pay the lobbyists who pass the laws. the rich get richer and the rest of us pay.

  • avatar

    3K off a Mercedes Versa hatch?

    Fluffy new Prius appears to be going back to Neon-Saturn look:

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, thank Dog they’ve entirely pinched off rear 3/4 visibility.

      Dat old Prius so airy it like to crank up my agoraphobia!

    • 0 avatar


      But we didn’t buy our Prius for the looks. Actually, nobody buys Toyotas for their looks. But we’ve gotten used to how ours looks over the years.

      The big question is: did they get rid of the center-mounted speedometer? My wife vetoed a new Prius V based on that — and our 2004 Prius wasn’t (and still isn’t) broken. We continue to sit on the fence about our next car purchase. I’m lobbying for an EV or plugin of some sort, but a used Leaf is making a compelling argument…

  • avatar

    48% SAY they would consider a Hybrid, because most of them want other people to know how environmentally responsible they are. When it comes down to actually paying for it, they suddenly change their minds.

    Imagine if you conducted a poll that asks “if you found $100 bill on the street, would you keep it or make an effort to find its owner?” I bet a lot of people would answer that theyd try to find the owner, but in reality, theyd stick it in their pocket and hope they dont find the owner.

    What we say and what we do are often different things.

    In all honesty, if I needed a small family vehicle, Id probably get the Ford C-Max, but not because its a Hybrid, because I just like it. I would get the Energi version because it would be fun to run errands and use zero or very little gas, but if a non-Hybrid cheap version (with a manual!) were offered, Id probably go for that instead. I feel the same about the Honda CR-Z. I like the car, the fact that its a Hybrid (with a manual!) is not a factor.

    Point being, I wouldnt get a Hybrid (or Plug-in) because I fear climate change or running out of oil, Id get it because its how my car of choice is offered.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing new here, we’ve seen polls for years where 75-85% of respondents claim to support 50+ MPG CAFE standards yet when it’s time to spend their own money only 1% of people buy the Prius that actually meets them.

    • 0 avatar

      What people say and what the actually do are usually very different thing. One of the first things you learn is sales it to differentiate between what people say they want and what they will actually spend money on.

      Polling people regrading their preferences is meaningless; people will say anything to appear polite or socially cohesive. How they actually spend their money is what really counts.

  • avatar

    Aaron – – –

    It may be that other issues underlie the “money involved” deterrent.
    1) People simply may not trust these more sophisticated, technically elaborate vehicles to hold up long term;
    2) People may still have lingering “range anxiety”, even with hybrids;
    3) People may resent having to take these to dealers only, and know that private garages cannot do maintenance properly.

    So, why would I put up $40K for a Prius, if gas prices are so low as to be inconsequential, and I can get a decent pickup truck for about the same price? — a Pickup that it is tough as nails, will last “forever”, and can be fixed by Old Joe’s garage down the street?

    Obviously most Americans agree: in 2013, pickups were three of the top-five top selling vehicles in the USA, with the other two being the Camry and the Accord.


    • 0 avatar

      “1) People simply may not trust these more sophisticated, technically elaborate vehicles to hold up long term;
      2) People may still have lingering “range anxiety”, even with hybrids;
      3) People may resent having to take these to dealers only, and know that private garages cannot do maintenance properly.”

      If people think all of these things, they’re just uninformed.

      Toyota and Ford hybrids have accumulated a phenomenal reliability and durability record. They are collectively (between Prius, Camry Hybrid, and the defunct Escape Hybrid) the dominant choice in taxicabs, the world’s most abusive car application, right now. Mechanically, their drivetrains are very simple — it’s the software that’s complicated. There’s no reason a minimally competent mechanic can’t service one.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ll second dal20402’s comments, but add this: Hybrids don’t have to be expensive.

      You might be able to find a $40k Prius, but really they’re closer to $27-33k.

      I bought my 13 Optima Hybrid for $20k – that’s $20,000 even, because Kia wanted to move product by reducing the price by $6k, and I talked a bit more out of them. I got mine for the price of a Forte.

      Ten years ago I subscribed to the ‘complexity’ mindset, but no more. All you do is put gas into a hybrid, and change the fluids like any other car. EVs are even simpler to own than that.

  • avatar

    If hybrid prices would drop more as the technology improves, there’d probably be more sales.

    EV prices are just too expensive unless you have money, especially OTHER peoples’ money since there are tax credits involved.

    Tax credits to buy vehicles should NEVER be created.
    Just lower the price of the related vehicles.
    If you want to buy a hybrid/EV car, then feel free to do so.

    The Main Problem…
    Those buyers “expect” the tax credits… so basically, other taxpayers have to Fund part of the cost of hybrid/EV purchases.
    Is it any wonder why many taxpayers HATE tax credits for new technology vehicles?
    Buy those types of vehicles with your own money but don’t the rest of us to help pay for it!

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