When you think of a green and forward thinking city, San Francisco might not be at the top of your list, but the city has always been considered progressive in this area. From the electric commuter trains above and below ground, electric bus system and, in the past, vast numbers of hybrid vehicles, San Francisco has tried to pave the way to a less pollution filled future. However, that said, a new study from R.L. Polk & Co. shows that new hybrid car registrations in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area have been declining since they peaked in 2007.
Now, this could be attributed to a couple of things like the change in gas prices (back to a reasonable level), dip in the economy and forecasting of new electric vehicles ready to head to the market. One Polk analyst suggests that the weakened economy and novelty of hybrids is what is affecting the buying and registration rates. Others suggest that it might be the discontinuing of carpool lane exemptions for hybrid vehicles. How far have the registration numbers declined, let’s take a look.
In 2007, there were 27,292 registrations of new hybrid vehicles. In 2009, that number had dropped to 17,575, which is about a 36% decrease in registrations. In the first five months of 2010 the bay area only saw 6,306 new hybrid registrations indicating a continued decline since 2007. It seems to beg a similar question as our recent Smart car story—is the hybrid a fad that is just starting to die out?
As we ponder that and the possible success of electric vehicles, be sure to check out our most recent article on the new 2011 Scion tC.