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Full-year 2014 U.S. new vehicle registration data suggest the recent decline in gas prices has impacted the mix of fuel type in new registered vehicles. Hybrid market share declined in 2014 for the first time since 2011, with hybrids now accounting for 3.1% of all new vehicle registrations. Diesel-powered vehicles and electric vehicles have continued to gain traction, albeit at a slow rate. Diesel share is now the same as hybrid at 3.1%, and electrics account for .4%. Two years ago, electrics made up just .1% of the industry. Gasoline-powered vehicles now comprise 79% of the market, their highest level since 2010 when their portion was 81.6% (part of the rise in the gasoline mix is due to the decline in flex fuel (gas/ethanol) vehicles).
Trended Fuel Type Mix for U.S. New Vehicle Registrations

Registration Type: Total
Some of the 2014 trends were accentuated in the final month of the year; in December, hybrid share plummeted to just 2.45%, its lowest level since January 2012, almost three years ago. On the other hand, December EV share climbed to .5%, almost twice its share a year ago.
Registrations of several popular hybrid models retreated in December (while the overall market climbed 10%), with the Prius (all versions) down 10%, the Fusion down 15%, the C-Max down 18%, and the Volt off 37%. In contrast, the most popular EV, the Leaf, surged 23%, and the Tesla Model S EV was up 8%. EV penetration was also helped by the recent arrival of several new models that were not on the market a year ago, including the BMW i3 (407 December registrations), the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (321 registrations), the Volkswagen Golf EV (192 registrations), and the Kia Soul EV (102 registrations). Although overall EV volume surged in December, December 2014 and December 2013 tallies remain small when compared to overall industry results.
As low gas prices continue in the U.S. market, IHS Automotive predicts there will be a gradual shift in demand from B- and C-segment vehicles to larger and higher fuel consumption alternatives. Because of this anticipated shift, and the need to meet existing fuel efficiency regulations, IHS ironically expects an increase in market share for fuel-efficient technologies already in the pipeline including downsized engines, turbo-boosted engines as well as stop-start functionality. Such moves will offset the losses in fuel economy as the market moves upstream in vehicle size. These anticipated shifts are described in greater detail in the recently-released IHS Automotive Whitepaper, “Globally Low Oil Price, Regionally Different Auto Industry Impacts.”
Tom Libby is manager, loyalty practice and industry analysis, IHS Automotive
Posted on February 24, 2015

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