Buyers in Trump-voting states reject green cars, which surge in Western states

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2016 Nissan Leaf SL and 2016 Toyota Prius Three, Hudson Valley, NY, Dec 2015

2016 Nissan Leaf SL and 2016 Toyota Prius Three, Hudson Valley, NY, Dec 2015

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If you're a journalist, it's almost impossible to ignore political news these days.

So if readers can resolutely avoid national and local coverage of politics, consider yourselves lucky.

That said, sometimes a new political angle can make a dry story on car-buyer data more interesting than expected.

DON'T MISS: Sales of 'green' cars remain low; is it a problem of fear?

 

Hence the headline of this story, based on a study of new-car sales data by the car-buying site CarJojo.

In a blog post on its analysis, the site suggests that any marketing messages automakers are using to promote more fuel-efficient and plug-in electric cars don't seem to be working in Trump-voting areas.

It's debatable, of course, whether carmakers are in fact marketing hybrid and electric cars much in the face of lagging demand.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

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After all, how many ads have you seen lately that tout a hybrid vehicle's superior fuel economy, or the many advantages of plugging in and driving on grid electricity?

Part of the disinterest is undoubtedly due to two factors. First is the continuing low price of gasoline, which remains under $3 per gallon in most areas of the United States.

Second is the growing impact of corporate average fuel economy rules, which started rising in 2012 and have boosted the efficiency of all light-duty vehicles sold—including the ever-so-popular crossover utilities that now outsell sedans.

READ THIS: Trump Administration goal: undo every climate-change effort

But CarJojo's analysis points out that Trump voters came from more economically depressed areas of the country, those where you might expect lower running costs to be an important factor in new-car sales.

That doesn't appear to be the case: the Midwest had the lowest per-capita sales of green cars of any region surveyed, followed by the Southern states: 1.03 and 1.22 per 10,000 residents, respectively.

Those regions delivered 75 percent and 95 percent of their electoral-college votes to Trump, respectively.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

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On the other hand, the Western states in which Trump received only 23 percent of electoral-college votes had the highest per-capita rate of green-car sales in the fourth quarter of last year: 4.26 for every 10,000 residents.

The Northeast had the second-highest rate, at 1.34 per 10,000 residents; Trump received just 19 percent of electoral-college votes in those states.

The national average, according to the data, was 1.93 green-car sales per 10,000 residents—showing that those Western states have an outsized impact on sales of greener cars.

CHECK OUT: Public supports fuel-economy regulations, including Trump voters

The study defines green cars as hybrids and plug-in cars (both battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids).

Some of it's not that surprising: a pickup truck is a powerful indicator of cultural values in some states, and certainly the Prius hybrid has become an object of derision among some right-leaning commentators and media.

2017 Ford Super Duty F-250

2017 Ford Super Duty F-250

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One data point may have been predictable, however: the Toyota Prius lineup remained by far the most common green car sold in every single region.

It comprised 37 percent to 49 percent of such sales in the West and the Northeast, respectively.

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