New hybrid vehicle registrations went up 38 percent in 2007, bringing the total number to 350,289 according to the automotive research company RL Polk & Co.
Although the growth rate is exciting, hybrids still make up just 2.2 percent U.S. vehicles. The increase is attributed to rising gas prices (good Lord! $3.41 by my house and I know that's cheaper than most places) and the increasing number of options consumers have in the hybrid market. Now buyers can contemplate a Nissan Altima or a Lexus or a Tahoe, in addition to the Toyota Prius (although the hybrid technology of many SUVs is different than that of a Prius, still requiring a small amount of gasoline and not able to run solely on a battery like "full hybrid").
Another reason for hybrids' hotness is that the technology has proven itself. Consumers trust it. The Prius was the second mass-market hybrid (after the less-attractive Honda Insight) to go on sale nearly a decade ago in 2000 and it's still the best-selling hybrid, making up 51 percent of the hybrid market in 2007. Polk & Co expects hybrid sales to increase again this year, perhaps as much by 30 percent.
I don't drive a hybrid yet - if you drive one let me know what your experience has been!