Why VW’s Diesel Problem is Good News for Hybrids

Dieselgate continues to be bad news for the diesel car business, but one segment is set to win.

Why VW’s Diesel Problem is Good News for Hybrids
Good News for Hybrids

"While “Dieselgate” continues to be bad news for the diesel car business, there is one set of cars that may see a sudden bump in popularity—hybrids and electrics.

For years hybrid sales have been on the decline. A combination of more affordable gasoline, better-performing diesels including Volkswagen’s now tainted TDI diesels, and an aging set of hybrids had a major impact on the market. According to Baum & Associates and HybridCars.com, overall hybrid sales are down nearly 19% year-over-year as a result of these factors.

In addition, most new hybrids are more expensive than their already expensive diesel counterparts. Prices for new hybrids and EVs generally run anywhere from 15% to 20% more than their gasoline counterparts. On the new car market, the most affordable hybrid will run you $20,000 while the most expensive can push you well into the $100,000 range. That’s a lot of money to pay for a typically-less-than-fun-to-drive car. While there are incentives to purchase these cars new, they don’t trickle down to the used car buyer.

That being said, as EPA standards adjust and tighten, it may be time to take a second look at hybrids and electrics—particularly on the used car market. Auto manufacturers have had millions of dollars of investment from the U.S. government to help move the development of hybrid and electric cars along. In California, automakers are required to sell a certain number of hybrids and electrics to offset their dirtier, fuel-burning automobiles—which means that there are many currently being driven on the road—and being turned into dealers when they come off lease. With the massive influx of money, technology has continued to improve making hybrids and EVs more enjoyable to drive and own.

In addition, according to NADA, many two and 3-year-old hybrids and EVs coming back to the dealerships are getting very low trade in rates. That’s pushing owners to look to the private used market, where you may be able to find a great deal. Even though hybrids only represents about 3% of the total U.S. automotive market, many analysts consider hybrids and EVs a place of growth. That’s making used hybrids and EVs very attractive. While there are some additional issues you need to consider if you are in the market for a used EV or a hybrid, (those we’ll touch on in next week’s post) there are great deals to be had on the used market.

Despite the fact that diesel has been dealt a major blow as a result of the VW scandal, the impacts on other alternative fuel automobiles could point to a potential boom in sales of hybrids and EVs. That means that now may be the right time to pick up a used EV or hybrid as those eco-conscious buyers look for alternatives to diesel.

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Abigail BassettAbigail Bassett

Digital media content producer/consultant & former CNN senior producer, now running CN'TRL : Cars, Tech, Real Estate & Luxury.

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