By Joe Petrowski
Legislatures love electric and hybrid vehicles, regulators love them and the media is fascinated by them. The only problem is that the consuming public seems unconvinced, given the latest monthly and year-to-date sales figures by category. Consider:
- The Ford F Series pickup truck remains the top seller for a 33rd straight year.
- Tesla has the most short sellers of any public company.
- Tesla sales were up 1%, while Nissan (led by the massive Titan truck) was up 14% year-over-year.
- Prius, once the darling of the “green team,” is down 12% in sales YOY.
- Light Trucks are neutral YOY.
- Hybrids are down 9% YOY.
- The Ford Fusion is down 23%.
- While sedans are down 2%, crossovers and SUV’s are up double digits.
- These crossovers, SUV’s and large luxury vehicles have replaced the traditional 4 door sedan as the family car.
What we can conclude from these trends:
- Those who think our current 14 million barrels/day petroleum based transport fuel demand will drop to 7 million barrels/day or less are confusing hope with reality. I would say 17 million barrels/day of petroleum-based transport fuel is a better 10-year projection.
- It will take 10 years to reach the 1 million electric vehicle target established by President Obama from the current 820,000 electric vehicle fleet; this is 13 years later than the original 2015 goal.
- If we are truly serious about climate change we will need to focus on natural gas vehicles for light trucks, vans and crossovers. A fleet of 2 million vehicles from the current roughly 250,000,000 would remove 40,000 tons of CO2 per year from total emissions in the United States.
In business there are time tested axioms like “don’t fight the fed” and “don’t ignore the tape.” We can add “don’t ignore the consumer.” Americans love their large cars, love the open road–always have always will!