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Majority of Green Car Drivers Swapping For Gas, Study Finds

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Nissan Leaf in garage

Sorry, LEAF

Rough news for makers of green cars: an study has found that more green car drivers are going back to gasoline when it comes time to get a new car – the number of green drivers that got another green car was about 45% of the total, down from 60% in 2012. This is the first time that percentage was less than half of the total.

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Even worse, the number of those drivers who switched to SUVs, the Darth Vaders of the eco-car world, was 22%, almost double the same rate from 2012.

It seems that, now that gas prices are falling, so are green car sales.

“For better or worse, it looks like [green-car] owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds senior analyst. “…Fuel economy for [gasoline] engines has gotten a lot better in the past few years, and I think a lot of people feel they can do well enough with a compact or midsize SUV. It’s like: ‘Wait a minute, why should I pay more for a hybrid or an electric vehicle?’”

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Caldwell said that means that green cars either need bigger fuel savings or generous tax breaks to succeed. Another option, though, would be to just give up on green vehicles and try something else to cut pollution and fuel consumption.