Thanks to President Obama’s massive tax breaks for wealthy auto buyers, hybrid-electric vehicle sales in November rose to a lofty 3.5 percent of all vehicle sales — numbers the industry hasn’t seen since the summer of 2008 when gasoline hit $4 a gallon.
The increase in hybrid-electric sales came with the continued rebound of U.S. auto sales — now at their highest levels since 2007.
The bad news for greens is that the industry’s revival is coming on the backs of more-profitable trucks, with SUV sales making up a majority of the market at 50.6 percent. Greens have quietly cheered the Great Recession which brought lower carbon emissions — in part because cost-conscious auto buyers took refuge in fuel-sipping econo-boxes (sedan sales in 2007 significantly outpaced SUV sales).
President Obama says that global warming is “one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation.” But to fight it, he will paradoxically need continued tax breaks for the wealthy — the target of his 2012 class-warfare campaign and his fiscal-cliff negotiating stance. Obama giveth, and Obama taketh away.