Southern California environment news and trends

Rising gas prices drive Toyota Prius sales spike

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Toyota Priuses on the Toyota Santa Monica lot

As American-made hybrids battle for respect (and sales), the numbers are looking great for Toyota hybrids. According to Bloomberg, the Japanese automaker saw an impressive across the board sales increase for the month of February. The statistic that really jumps off the page: sales of the Prius models (including the v wagon) jumped up 52 percent, the largest increase the company has seen in close to four years. Including all Toyota and Lexus branded hybrid vehicles, sales figures were up a full 60 percent.

As reported by Tree Hugger, this marked increase in sales coincides directly with soaring gas costs across the country, citing the AAA-determined average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $3.74 as of the last day of February. According to CBS, that’s much less than the Los Angeles average, which as of this week sat at $4.38 per gallon.

Green Car Reports notes that this surge in Toyota sales comes before they release the new Prius C subcompact, which at a base price of $18,950 is poised to help the company break even more sales records over the coming year.

“I like our positioning in the market,” said Bob Carter, Toyota’s group VP of U.S. sales via Bloomberg in something of an understatement. “We projected an increase in fuel prices as we moved into the spring. We didn’t expect fuel prices would move this quickly and this rapidly.”

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