Southern California environment news and trends

Survey says mileage is king for new car buyers

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

According to a new Consumer Reports survey, when it’s time to buy a new car, shoppers are placing more of a premium on higher gas mileage than on a vehicle’s overall quality.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the survey, which is the latest from Consumer Reports National Research Center of car owners, found that more than one-third (37 percent) of those polled said that fuel efficiency is the most important factor when buying a new vehicle. The second most popular choice, vehicle quality, lagged behind at only 17 percent, with safety just behind quality at third, scoring 16 percent of the vote.

Still, it’s mostly about gas mileage for new car buyers. Two-thirds of those surveyed expect their next car to have at least the same if not better fuel efficiency than their current mode of transportation. 60 percent of the respondents were willing to give up some size and vehicle capacity in exchange for that higher fuel efficiency rating.

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Electric vehicle sharing service finds success in San Diego

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rising gas prices continue to reap dividends for electric and hybrid industries. As we reported recently, Toyota reported a massive jump in Prius sales over the month of February, attributed in part to consumers fighting back against the cost of gasoline.

Now a report out of San Diego says that car2go, North America’s first all-electric car sharing service, has registered more than 6,000 users who have taken over 25,000 trips in the company’s 300 vehicles in just the first 100 days of availability.

"At a time when the cost of fuel is reaching record-high prices, San Diegans are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on fuel and for more cost-efficient modes of transportation; and car2go is a very logical choice for them," said Nicholas Cole, president and CEO of car2go in a company press release.

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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.

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