Newly released sales figures from R.L. Polk reveal a record number of Alternative Fuel Automobiles (AFAs) rolled off dealer lots in 2007. In total, close to 1.8 million AFAs were sold last year, roughly 250,000 more than were sold in 2006. Sales of E-85 capable/flexible fuel vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles were up significantly while clean diesel vehicle sales fell slightly.
"Gas prices, consumer incentives, and the increasing number of AFA models available to consumers continue to play a role in the rising popularity of these vehicles," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "And while we're pleased these vehicles continue to grow in popularity, refueling infrastructure challenges may prevent the promise of these vehicles from being fully realized. For example, out of more than 170,000 refueling stations in the U.S. less than 1,500 offer ethanol."
In 2008, more than 70 models of AFAs are being offered. This is up from only 11 models in 2001. McCurdy added, "Each year the number of AFAs available to consumers is increasing. We're hopeful that soon we'll be able to add a new generation of plug-in hybrids and other promising technologies to this list."
Currently there are more than 12 million AFAs registered in the U.S. and automakers are hopeful that this year's sales may exceed 2 million. With more choices available than ever before automakers are optimistic that the popularity of these vehicles will continue to grow.
McCurdy added, "Automakers recognize that our actions speak even louder than our words. Last year we supported an aggressive nationwide increase in fuel economy standards that will increase fuel economy by 40 percent while at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new autos by 30 percent through 2020. We are hopeful that through the use of Alternative Fuel Autos as well as improvements to the conventional internal combustion engine we can meet the challenge of improving fuel economy, enhancing energy security and reducing carbon dioxide emissions while continuing to provide consumers with the vehicles they demand at an affordable price."