Hybrids typically account for somewhere between 2 to 3 percent of the total cars sold in America, but recently the figure has been closer to the low end of that scale, writes Green Car Reports.
From January through August, hybrid vehicles have made up 2.06 percent of total vehicles. Sales have been on the decline as the year has progressed, with only 1.98 percent of total sales in August being hybrids. This is despite the fact that rising gasoline prices have caused many drivers to consider high-MPG vehicles at a higher rate than ever before.
The news source speculates that a major reason is the shortage of cars due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The top two hybrids in America, the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, are both manufactured in Japan. The Prius is sold out nearly everywhere, and used car sales have been up as well. This shows Americans would be buying more hybrids if they were available.
That idea is also supported by the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which is manufactured in South Korea and thus was unaffected by the disaster. The Sonata is in third place in total sales but on pace to surpass the Insight by the end of the year. Sales of the car have also shot up since the earthquake.