2012 Honda Civic Natural GasEnlarge Photo
Over the nine years this site has published daily news about green cars, the focus of our coverage has shifted significantly.
In February 2009, when we started daily coverage, our most popular topics were hybrid cars and the Toyota Prius.
With Prius sales in 2017 less than half what they were just four years ago, the times have clearly changed.
We decided to poll our Twitter followers about what they'd like to see in our coverage going forward.
Specifically, we asked what topic(s) we should spend less time covering.
The poll results decisively confirmed one thing: virtually every respondent wants news about electric cars on the site.
What topic should we have covered less in 2017?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) December 26, 2017
Just 3 percent of participants said we should feature less electric-vehicle news, by far the lowest percentage of the four options.
That's not surprising, really: Our highest-traffic articles and those that get the most comments are mostly on plug-in electric cars and the realities of owning them.
The big losers—which is to say the topics named by the largest group of followers as those we should cover less—were natural gas and biofuels, chosen by 45 percent of the respondents.
With the Honda Civic Natural Gas pulled from the market after 2015 and ethanol more or less stalled at the 10-percent blend level, that's not surprising.
While biodiesel is making inroads among commercial vehicles, the future of diesel engines in the U.S. for passenger cars and crossover utility vehicles remains debatable at best after the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal.
The next most popular choice for less coverage was hydrogen fuel cells, perhaps reflecting their extremely low U.S. sales three years of effort by Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai.
2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, 2016 Toyota Mirai at hydrogen fueling station, Fountain Valley, CAEnlarge Photo
As of last month, a total of just over 3,500 hydrogen-powered Honda Clarity Fuel Cells, Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cells, and Toyota Mirais had been delivered since 2014, some at deep discounts.
Hyundai will unveil its dedicated fuel-cell-powered crossover utility vehicle this year, granted, but rolling out a hydrogen-fueling infrastructure in California continues to challenge the state and its partners.
The last option for participants to tap for less coverage was climate change, chosen by one in five respondents (21 percent).
In a way, we're encouraged by that result, indicating that our somewhat atypical coverage not only of vehicles and energy but also the underlying rationale for promoting them matters to readers.
Our climate-change coverage has imposed an added burden on our comment moderation, but we feel it's an important part of the coverage.
It also ties directly to the popularity of electric-car coverage: Plug-in electric vehicles show the greatest and nearest-term potential for running partly or completely on renewable energy to slash their carbon footprints per mile to a level no vehicle with a combustion engine will ever match.
As always, please note that our Twitter polls are far from scientifically valid, due to small sample size and self-selection by those who choose to participate.