Buy Green: A New Car Is a Green Car


 Keys to a green vehicle

Many car buyers are shifting to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. As Consumer Reports points out in a recent issue: “The best way to burn less fuel is to buy a car that gets better gas mileage.”

Any time you buy a vehicle — new or used — that gets better gas mileage than your present one, youre making a green move. Simply put, better fuel economy means lower greenhouse gas emissions. Thats why A New Car Is a Green Car is the theme of the National Automobile Dealers Associations Green Campaign.

While hybrid sales are soaring, green vehicles are not limited to hybrid technology. Dealerships across the country also sell fuel-efficient gasoline cars, diesels and flex-fuel vehicles. In fact, there are more than 100 gasoline models with EPA-estimated highway ratings of 30 mpg or more in showrooms right now. 

Well before $4 gas, auto dealers across the country began making their stores more ecofriendly. Not only do these efforts save money, they also draw in more green-minded customers and help rid the world of tons of greenhouse gases. With dealers investing nearly $1 billion in energy-saving updates so far, the move toward green dealerships has all the markings of an industry-changing trend. Read about this billion dollar makeover.

Buying a green vehicle from a dealership that has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint has its appeal. In fact, 30 percent of consumers say a company’s environmental practices impact their decision to do business with it, according to a 2007 survey by the Natural Marketing Institute. And as more dealerships go green, they will begin to better reflect the products they sell — light on energy and friendlier to the environment.

Sales Facts & Figures

Soaring gas prices helped hybrids take 3 percent of light-vehicle sales through May 2008, increasing from 2 percent during the same period in 2007. The overall light-vehicle market fell 11 percent. Hybrid sales should top 375,000 units this year, up from 350,000-plus.

 CARS MAKE UP 81.4 PERCENT of total hybrid sales, with 128,851 units sold through the first five months of this year — up from 117,749 (77 percent of hybrids) sold the year before. The Toyota Prius hybrid is the ninth-best-selling car in the United States, with 79,675 units sold year-to-date, for a 50 percent market share of all hybrids sold and a 4 percent gain from the same period in ’07.

 REGISTRATIONS FOR NEW HYBRID VEHICLES SURGED in 2007, totaling 350,289 — up 38 percent from the year before. Total sales of hybrid cars fell in May 2008, with a 28 percent decline from May 2007. The culprit? Temporary supply constraints, says Toyota. Hybrid cars recorded a 9 percent gain for the first five months of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

 TOYOTA PRIUS LED THE SEGMENT in ’07, with 179,178 total new registrations — 51.2 percent of hybrid market share. For the first five months of 2008, the Honda Civic hybrid posted a 22.7 percent gain, with 16,322 units sold and a 9.1 percent market share. The Toyota Camry hybrid sold 27,500 units for a 22 percent gain, and the Nissan Altima hybrid sold 4,242, more than doubling its 2007 sales.  

 BUT HYBRID TRUCKS SAW DECLINES, mostly because of supply issues and domestic models’ redesign. The only import-brand hybrid trucks, made by Toyota, were up 6 percent.

 MEANWHILE, THE SMALL-CAR SEGMENT rose more than 11 percent. Honda Fit sales were up 64 percent; Toyota Yaris, 50 percent; and Scion Xb, 59 percent. Suzuki SX4 sales surged 144 percent. Sales of Ford Focus rose 36 percent and Chevy Cobalt, 18 percent.

 THE MIDSIZE-CAR SEGMENT SALES remained unchanged from 2007. But domestic midsize cars — Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6, and Saturn Aura — saw increases greater than 20 percent, compared with the same period in ’07.

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