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Hybrids vs EVs: Why hybrids are surging as EV sales slow

Many car buyers reluctant to join the EV revolution
How Do Hybrid Cars Work?
Posted at 3:39 AM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 06:39:08-04

Despite government plans to eventually phase out gas-powered cars, the U.S. is in the slow lane when it comes to electric vehicle adoption.

For the past four or five years, all the hype about new cars has been about EVs.

But as the spring 2024 car buying season begins, hybrids that use gas and electricity are now the hottest thing again. Car buyers may notice a subtle change at auto shows traveling the country this spring.

We found a team of Toyota spokespeople are pushing the Prius up on stage – yes, the hybrid Prius, which made its U.S. debut two decades ago in 2001.

"This is the good old-fashioned hybrid," the show spokesman told the crowd. "You can see this is the Prius, the one that started it all."

Other automakers are easing off the gas pedal on pure electric vehicles, with Mercedes delaying its plans to go all EV and Ford slowing production of the much-hyped F-150 Lightning.

And even Tesla has just announced that its first quarter 2024 sales were down 9%compared with the first quarter of 2023.

Auto Dealer Association marketing director Charlie Howard says hybrids remove what's called "range anxiety," a common concern that an EV will run low on power before you reach a charging station.

"A lot of folks are saying instead, 'Hey, the hybrid option works for me,'" he said. "Or maybe I don't have charging options at my home, and the hybrid offers that extended range."

Some hybrids, like the Toyota Camry, get 48 miles per gallon, according to the EPA.

EV prices falling to lure car buyers

So, with consumer interest in all-electric vehicles seemingly coming to a stall, EV prices are dropping.

Tesla recently cut prices on many of its vehicles.

At the end of 2023, used EV prices were down nearly 34%, while the average used car price was down just 5%, according to iSeeCars. analyst Karl Brauer Says lower EV prices may not be enough to sway consumers, with hybrid prices lower and more in line with gas-powered cars.

"Hybrids get substantially better fuel efficiency than a non-hybrid vehicle," he said, "unless they're a plug-in, which means they get no fuel use for at least 30 to 50 miles."

Brauer says buyers today are also more comfortable with hybrid technology, compared to newer EVs.

"Hybrids have basically every advantage right now compared to an electric vehicle and compared to a gasoline vehicle, except for a slight cost difference."

For now, car shopper Jenny Jenowine is deciding between gas or hybrid.

"A hybrid possibly, but definitely not all-electric," she said.

Like many car buyers, she is waiting a bit longer to join the EV revolution.

Whatever you decide, don't waste your money.


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