The words Texas and hybrids in a sentence are usually rare, or altogether part of a joke. But Texas is now seriously having another look at hybrids with rising gas price.
When we think of Texas, we think big petroleum companies and cheap gasoline prices. What you tend to see there are usually bigger cars than you would in congested cities. Most cars are domestic and yes, pickup trucks and SUV account for many of them. The idea of an electric car or alternative energy in this state that produces the greatest amount of petroleum than the rest is as foreign as the Star Trek Enterprise landing in front the White House. Yet somehow, Texans are taking a second look at hybrids.
Texas Offers Hybrids. Sales of alternative energy cars have risen over the past few years in Texas in ways not expected. For instance, Ford dealerships saw their electric and hybrid vehicles sales surged by 236 percent between 2011 and 2012 in the Houston region alone, which also covers a lot of ground around Austin. In San Antonio, Fusion Hybrid sales were up 120 percent, while six Toyota dealerships saw their sales of hybrid vehicles rise by 63 percent in 2012, representing more than 10 percent of the group’s new-vehicle sales, the Prius family and Camry and Highlander.
Detroit Has Hybrids. Ford and Toyota are not the only ones, GM dealers saw sales of their electric and hybrid offerings climb 33 percent during the same period, from 1,085 units in 2011 to 1,441 one year later. If sales went up drastically from 907 units in 2011 to 1,238 in 2012, the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle provided most of that increase.
According to Jerry Strain, marketing and advertising director for Jordan Ford: “I can almost promise you every one of those will be sold before they get here or within a few days of hitting our lot,” Strain said. “When we can get Ford to build and sell them to us, we already have the customers waiting for the car. They come, and then immediately they go.”
Are these signs of time or does this mean that we’ve hit a wall when even affordable gasoline Texas is getting uncomfortable with petroleum price hikes? We’ll let time but all suggestions point to Texans feeling the good old days of cheap gasoline are over.