Planet Gore

Hybrids’ High Divorce Rate

Even greenies are defying Papa Obama’s forced marriage to electric vehicles.

“A study released Monday by Southfield, Michigan-based auto research firm Polk shows that 35 percent of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when returning to the market in 2011,” reports Dave Shepardson at the Detroit News.”If repurchase behavior among the high-volume Toyota Prius owners isn’t factored in, hybrid loyalty drops below 25 percent.”

In other words, after driving a hybrid-electric car, 65 percent of buyers — a high-income, self-consciously green demographic — reject them. That helps explain why hybrid sales have flat-lined at just 2 to 3 percent of vehicle sales after over a decade on the market — and despite huge buyer tax incentives and a doubling of hybrid model offerings since 2007.

The Prius divorce rate is significant too as the iconic Toyota makes up 50 percent of sales. So a staggering 75 percent of non-Prius buyers reject hybrids after owning them — no doubt because they can’t justify their $5,000-plus markup on a standard gas model, a markup they don’t get back in gas savings.

Meanwhile, Obama has mandated that all cars be hybrid-electric — or electric — by 2025 with his 56-mpg efficiency edict. Just as federal light bulb standards eliminated the traditional light bulb by dictating a 20 lumens per watt efficiency standard (thus eliminating, for example, the 17 lm/W, 100-watt incandescent), no current gas-powered car comes close to meeting Obama’s 56-mpg standard. Not one.

Indeed, only electrics like the Nissan Leaf currently meet the standard — even the vaunted 2012 Prius, at 50 mpg, falls short.

Americans were nearly caught blind-sided by the bulb ban (postponed by GOP House action late last year). But had it gone into effect, the effect wouldn’t break the bank. CFL bulbs may cost more than four times a traditional bulb — but that is still “only” a difference of, say, $21 for a four pack of CFLs. By mandating electric cars, however, consumers will suddenly be facing sticker shock of $7,000 (if you must buy a Ford Fusion hybrid over a gas Fusion) to $20,000 (if you mandate the Chevy Volt over its sister, gas-powered Cruze).

Eighty percent of the light bulb market is incandescents by choice. Imagine the outrage when the 97 percent of vehicle buyers that prefer gas-power have to enter shot-gun electric marriages.


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