- Soaring gas prices prompt consumers to heavily shop for EVs, hybrids and smaller cars.
- Electrified vehicle sales account for an increasing percentage of some automakers’ sales.
- Supply of hybrid vehicles ranks among the lowest by segment.
Gas prices hit an all-time high of a national average of $4.67 on June 1, driving consumers to consider electric vehicles, hybrids and smaller, more fuel-efficient gas-powered models.
According to a Cox Automotive analysis of shopping behavior on its Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader websites:
- Shopping for EVs soared 73% since January before gas prices started their rise.
- Shopping for hybrids rose 25% over the same timeframe.
- Shopping for more fuel-efficient gas-powered models, like small and midsize cars, rose 33% during that period.
The popularity of electrified vehicles was evident in May sales reports issued by some automakers.
- Toyota and Lexus combined sold more than 46,000 electrified vehicles, largely hybrids and plug-in hybrids. That was below the more than 58,000 sold last May because of inventory shortages, it represented a bigger percentage – 26% – of Toyota’s total sales.
- Kia reported sales of its Niro family of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV models posted best-ever sales in May, up 28% from the previous record set in 2021. Sales of Kia electrified models in total were up 132%.
- Hyundai sold 1,918 of its new Ioniq 5 EV in May.
- The smaller, more-economical Ford Maverick pickup truck outsold the larger Ford Ranger for the second month in a row, and more than half of the Mavericks sold in May featured the hybrid powertrain.
Despite increased shopping, consumers will have a hard time finding a hybrid due to scant inventory. As of mid-May, the days’ supply for hybrids was among the lowest at 23, compared to the overall supply at 35, according to Cox Automotive’s analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data. Inventory of compact cars was even lower at 19 days’ supply.
Michelle Krebs is executive analyst at Cox Automotive.