Ten years ago, even in green-car-loving California, the Toyota Prius hybrid was a rare sight on the roads. 

By the start of 2012, the Toyota Prius was far from rare, recording impressive sales figures in both March and May, to become the world’s third best-selling car line.

Now, Toyota’s family of Prius hybrids have become California’s best-selling car for 2012, beating vehicles like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and the Ford F-Series pickup.

According to the California Auto Outlook (via Automotive News), combined sales of the four 2012 Toyota Prius models--the Liftback, Prius V wagon, Prius C subcompact, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid--hit 46,380 cars from the start of January to the end of September.

Last year, the Honda Civic was the top-selling car in the state, while the Prius was in fourth place, with sales of 34,129. 

Moreover, Prius family sales have accounted for 19.7 percent of all new subcompact car sales in California since the start of 2012.

The increase in Prius sales has contributed to a 41.8 percent growth in Toyota and Scion sales year on year in the state, versus a state-wide average sales growth of 26.3 percent.

That’s the equivalent of a 2 percent increase in market share. 

2012 Toyota Prius C

2012 Toyota Prius C

In the rest of the U.S., however, the Prius still has some way to go before it can claim the best-selling slot. 

So far, the Prius family occupies the eighth slot nationwide, behind the F-series pickup, the Toyota Camry, and others. 

With higher gas prices on average than most other U.S. states, it’s no surprise that more Prius hybrids are selling in California than elsewhere. 

But here’s the real shocker: the data collected by the California New Car Dealers Association, the organization responsible for the California Auto Outlook, was gathered BEFORE California suffered the $5-a-gallon gas price spike earlier this month. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that particular crisis caused many car-buyers to seriously think about buying a hybrid or electric car for the first time in their lives.

With that in mind, what do you think the final sales figures for Prius hybrids will be in California at the end of 2012? 

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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