U.S. Sales of Hybrid Vehicles Jump 28% to 254,545 in 2006; 1.5% of US Vehicles

U.S. sales of gas-electric hybrid vehicles rose 28% to 254,545 in 2006, but the rate of growth is starting to slow, according to a report by R.L. Polk & Co.  Hybrids accounted for about 1.5% of U.S. vehicle sales last year.  Toyota Prius led the segment with 42.8% of new registrations. 

Toyota Highlander was the second most- registered hybrid model, taking 12.5% of the category, followed by the Honda Civic, with 12.3% of all new hybrid registrations. 

Combined, Toyota and Lexus had more than 75% of all new hybrid registrations in 2006. 

But last summer, Toyota Motor Corp. hit the legal production limit -- 60,000 vehicles -- for its hybrids to receive full federal tax credits. A 2005 federal energy bill provided up to $3,600 in tax credits to U.S. consumers who buy hybrids. 

Top 10 Hybrid States (2006 Calendar Year): California led all states in hybrid sales with 67,533 last year. Los Angeles was the top market at 30,989, according to R.L. Polk. Combined Top 10 states accounted for 155,979 registrations at 61.3% of overall US registrations. 

1. California - 67,533 (Hybrid Registrations); 26.5 (Hybrid Volume %) 

2. Florida - 12,900 (5.1)

3. Texas - 12,550 (4.9)

4. New York - 11,634 (4.6)

5. Virginia - 10,424 (4.1)

6. Illinois - 9,495 (3.7) 

7. Washington - 8,650 (3.4)

8. Pennsylvania - 8,407 (3.3)

9. Massachusetts - 7,365 (2.9)

10. New Jersey - 7,021 (2.8)

CONSUMER REACTION: In mid-2006, the Polk Center for Automotive Studies conducted a poll of over 700 consumers regarding their hybrid viewpoints. More than half of respondents strongly or somewhat believe every vehicle sold today should have a hybrid version offered. Similarly, nearly 50 percent of participants support paying for fuel-efficient technology now so later generations can benefit. 

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