California has often been at the avant-garde of various trends in the U.S., and they appear to be leading the way when it comes to hybrids. According to the latest numbers by the California New Cars Dealers Association, the Toyota Prius was the best-selling car in the state in 2012, with 60,688 units registered. This compares to 57,124 units for the Honda Civic, its closest competitor.
Sure, gas prices climbed last year, giving an edge to hybrids, but the Prius continues to be a hit. Consumer Reports calls it the nation's best new-car bargain. "It's extremely reliable and roomy, rides well, has secure handling and is super-cheap to operate," the magazine writes in its February issue. How cheap? 49 cents a mile when everything is factored in. (source)
With Nissan planning 15 new hybrid models and other automakers launching new hybrids all the time, it seems like regular gas-electric hybrids have truly arrived. The next step will be for plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles to follow hybrid's path from "niche vehicles" to "mass market' over the next few years as the technology improves and prices fall.
For more on the success of the Prius: Toyota Prius: From Niche Oddity to Global Top 3.
Via USA Today
See also: Nissan to Launch 15 Hybrids by 2016