Skip to main content

New BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports cars are displayed before an official delivery in Munich in this June 5, 2014 file photo.

MICHAELA REHLE/REUTERS

Americans, for all their love of pickups and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), have embraced gasoline-electric hybrids at a rate that far exceeds Canadians – and those that buy them like them, with 83 per cent planning to purchase another or a plug-in hybrid, a recent University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study has found.

In 2013, 544,537 hybrid vehicles were sold in the United States, including 49,008 plug-in hybrids, the study notes. So 3.8 per cent of all light-duty vehicles sold south of the border were hybrids or plug-ins, versus less than 1 per cent of total sales in Canada, or about 15,000, according to figures provided by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Full sales numbers in Canada are a little tougher to get. DesRosiers does not have numbers with hybrid as an option, not standard as it is with the Toyota Prius.

Story continues below advertisement

In any case, it's fair to say Americans are snapping up hybrids at a rate three to four times greater than Canadians. One reason: Canadians buy vastly more fuel-thrifty small cars as a percentage of the total sales mix. Canadians are concerned about fuel economy and buy small cars with small engines. Canadians, however, are unwilling or unable to pay hybrid premium for fuel economy.

And unlike Americans, Canadians are apparently unwilling to pay $10,000 or more for a hybrid that will further limit the environmental impact of their vehicle beyond even the most efficient gasoline-powered car. Americans? The U of M study found that the main reason given for owning a hybrid is the environmental impact, and women are "more concerned than males about this aspect of hybrid ownership."

Indeed, 33 per cent of owners cited as a purchase reason a desire to reduce their environmental impact. Another 28 per cent liked the hybrid option for being less expensive in the long run, with 25 per cent saying they wanted to use less energy. And 38 per cent of female buyers, notes the study, chose a hybrid to reduce their environmental impact, versus 29 per cent of males.

Other findings

  • Only a tiny percentage of respondents reported any hybrid-specific problems (9 per cent of women, 6 per cent of men).
  • The biggest single problem? Battery replacement (4 per cent of women, 3 per cent of men).
  • More than one in five (22 per cent) current hybrid owners plan to replace their cars with a plug-in hybrid.
  • Sixty-seven per cent of those planning to replace a hybrid with another one cited a desire to reduce their environmental impact or use less energy as a reason for sticking with hybrid.

The study suggests that hybrid owners are a particularly happy bunch. Only a very small percentage (16 per cent) cited initial cost as a barrier to another hybrid. And nearly half of all hybrid owners (47 per cent) said there is nothing that would cause them to avoid another hybrid. The early adopters are also the truly committed.

So, the American hybrid owner is in love. Perhaps Canadians will be, too ... some day.

Like us on Facebook

Story continues below advertisement

Add us to your circles.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter