The AutoTrader.com website is a popular destination for consumers looking for a good deal on a new or used vehicle or for consumers who just want to research prospective vehicles. Recently, the website gathered data about searches made for hybrid vehicles and the Toyota Prius came out on top. This should come as no surprise — the Prius is the most popular hybrid on the market today.
Other hybrids that consumers were searching for include the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Insight EX, Lexus HS 250h, Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD model, and the Toyota Highlander Limited with third-row seating.
While the Prius has remained at the top of the most-searched-for hybrids list for the last six months, there has been some movement between the next two places. The second and third most researched hybrids on AutoTrader.com have alternated between the Ford Fusion Hybrid four-door sedan, the Honda Insight EX five-door CVT, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid four-door sedan. However, the Prius has consistently remained in that top spot.
In addition to revealing details about the most searched for hybrids, AutoTrader.com also identified three new green car trends including the increase in highly fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicles coming to market. These vehicles include the 40-mpg Ford Fiesta, the Scion iQ and the Chevy Cruze.
Another growing trend is the use of turbo chargers to increase gas mileage instead of simply increasing a vehicle’s horsepower. However, AutoTrader warns consumers to ask their salesperson if the turbo on a vehicle is an efficiency turbo or a performance turbo. The average gas mileage generated with a performance turbo setup will disappoint consumers searching for better fuel efficiency.
The final trend noted by AutoTrader is the increase in luxury green vehicles, especially those that appeared at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Ferrari debuted its HY-KERS hybrid experimental vehicle at the show while Porsche displayed a 918 Spyder Hybrid, which may make it to market sooner than originally expected.
Although gas prices began to rise in the United States recently, they are nowhere near the record highs that were seen in the summer of 2008. According to AutoTrader.com, the site experienced the most hybrid vehicle-related traffic in May 2008. However, as gas prices stabilized and eventually fell, fewer people were researching hybrids.
It has only been two short years since many Americans were paying $5 for a gallon of gas, but that time is a distant memory for most. Hybrid vehicle sales are picking up, but Toyota and other automakers are no longer seeing a two- or three-month wait list for hybrid vehicle deliveries. Additionally, hybrid owners are no longer able to fetch a premium price for their used hybrids.
As the oil spill continues to pollute the Gulf and the summer travel season gets into full swing, it will be interesting to see what happens with gas prices. If they go up sharply, sites like AutoTrader may begin to see a new surge in hybrid vehicle searches. However, it is likely that the Toyota Prius will remain atop the list of most searched-for hybrids.