Auto industry data shows U.S. sales growth of hybrid vehicles outpaced the industry's average despite falling gasoline prices.
In past years, sales of alternative-energy vehicles rose and fell in sync with the fortunes of fuel prices. When gas prices rose, sales of hybrid vehicles also rose. When gasoline prices fell, demand for hybrids also fell, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
In the first quarter, however, that pattern turned around. Hybrid and plug-in vehicle sales rose 19 percent in January through March compared to the first three months of 2012. At the same time, gas prices have dropped to a national average of $3.56, off 35 cents from the a year ago, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report says.
Meanwhile, from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter this year, sales of all vehicles has risen 6 percent.
Hybrid sales have made a slight improvement in their market share, now accounting for 4 percent of all vehicle sales, up from 3 percent a year ago, Autodata said..