Plug-in hybrids gain ground in U.S. after losing favor to electric cars

But a funny thing happened on the way to obsolescence: Plug-in hybrid sales are climbing in the United States, in part because of the recent surge in gasoline prices. Automakers sold a record 176,000 such cars last year, according to Wards Intelligence, up from 69,000 in 2020. This year, sales of plug-in hybrids could reach 180,000, analysts said, even as the overall new-car market drops to 14.4 million from 15.3 million a year earlier, according to Cox Automotive.

All-electric cars have seized around 5 per cent of the new-car market, and most analysts and industry executives expect them to eventually surpass hybrids as automakers commit to eliminating tailpipe emissions, a major contributor to climate change. But hybrids – led by a growing selection of plug-ins – still make up about 7 per cent of sales, and that number could grow for at least a few years.