A record number of alternative-fuel vehicles were sold during the first quarter of this year, according to data from R.L. Polk. Company executives said the sale of alternative-fuel vehicles jumped 27 percent during the first quarter.
“There is little doubt that higher gasoline prices (and conversely competitive E85 pricing); more vehicle selection, more E85 pumps, and the attraction of having options when you pull up to the tank are all driving this flex fuel growth. Educational outreach programs from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) along with better marketing by car makers are all having an affect, said Wendell Shauman, ICMB chairman of Kirkwood.
That increase resulted in a total of more than 434,000 of those units being sold in the quarter. Polk reported that sales of E-85 ethanol vehicles spiked by 40 percent during the period, as compared with the same time frame a year ago. The figure for those units rose from 159,992 to 266,859. Sales of hybrid vehicles climbed 31 percent, going from 51,285 to 74,056, according to Polk.
“This success makes it all the more imperative that we keep working to make E85 availability a priority. There is little doubt that consumers are price driven, but E85 must be accessible as well. Consumers want competitive pricing and convenience,” Shauman said.”
It is interesting to note that that sales of clean diesel units slipped from 108,100 during the first quarter of 2006 to 93,012 for the same time frame this year. Officials went on to point out that more than 60 different alternative-fuel vehicles are currently are on the market. Additionally, more hybrid-electric, clean diesel and ethanol capable models also are in development.
balanced food and fuel ethanol energy security ffv