As Gas Prices Rise, So Does Interest in Electric Cars

Smiling Woman Holds Electric Plug to Charge Her Car at Filling Station

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As gas prices continue to increase, so do sales of electrified vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Sales of electrified vehicles tripled in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier, Kelley reported Monday. While electrified vehicles still hold less than a 10% share of the U.S. market, the trend is decidedly up. In the second quarter, 375,000, or 8.5%, of the 4.4 million vehicles sold in the U.S. were pure electric (called EVs), hybrids, or plug-in hybrids—up from 7.8% in the first quarter and 4.2% in the second quarter of 2020.

Although electrified vehicles have been around for decades, higher gas prices and more offerings from traditional carmakers are boosting interest. U.S. electrified vehicle sales are expected to reach a record this year despite chip shortages that have hampered overall vehicle sales,

"While low inventory could impact the market's current trajectory, it's still safe to say that 2021 will be a record-setting year for electrified vehicles in the United States—and we're confident that 2022 will beat 2021,” said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book, in a release.

Average U.S. gas prices have risen 97 cents this year, and research shows that when prices are up, consumers start considering more efficient vehicles. In a recent Cox Automotive quick poll, 30% of consumers said they would either be "extremely likely or very likely" to consider an EV for their next purchase, which is significantly higher than the typical 5% to 7% range, according to Kelley Blue Book's ongoing Brand Watch study.

Moreover, it’s not just Tesla anymore. More than 60 different hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles, which appeal to more people, are now available in the U.S. Hybrids now account for roughly 25% of Toyota's total volume, 

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