Last year provided some evidence that sales of hybrid vehicles are going to rise and fall with fuel prices.
Speaking last week at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson recalled the topsy-turvy year his company's dealers had selling hybrids.
In the first part of 2008, incentives were needed to move the Toyota Prius. But when gasoline hit $4 a gallon in July, the Prius was selling for over sticker price--when they were available. Now, Jackson said, with gasoline at $2 a gallon, AutoNation dealers have lots full of Priuses and other hybrids. He also said resale values of the Prius have plunged since last summer.
Overall, U.S. hybrid sales slipped about 10 percent last year. According to the Automotive News Data Center, 315,761 hybrids were sold in 2008, down from 350,430 in 2007.
(Source: Automotive News)