Drivers looking to ditch petrol or diesel power are more likely to choose hybrids than fully electric vehicles, according to one online car marketplace.’s analysis of its own website traffic shows hybrids are now the only type of vehicle seeing “consistently increasing interest” across 10 of Britain’s most populous areas.

The company compared search data for May 2020 and May 2021, which showed searches for hybrid cars rose dramatically across all 10 areas studied. Liverpool and Leeds saw interest grow by around 12 percent, while Birmingham and Manchester both saw interest more than double over the 12-month period.

Only in Glasgow and Nottingham did the growing interest in electric vehicles outstrip hybrids. There, searches for electric cars more than doubled, while searches for hybrids rose 58 percent and 35 percent respectively.

Toyota Prius

Of course, given the lockdown in progress during May 2020, you might expect search traffic to increase regardless, but hybrids’ market share has also risen. In May last year, hybrids accounted for 0.5 percent of BuyaCar sales, but that rose to 4.2 percent in 2021.

However, petrol remains the most popular fuel type for buyers across all 10 regions. In all 10 of the areas studied, found petrol-powered vehicles make up at least a third of all searches. In some areas, including London, Bristol and Nottingham, unleaded powered almost 50 percent of all vehicles searched for.

Car refuelling at the petrol station

Searches for diesel-powered cars were also up in six of the 10 areas, with Birmingham notching up a 57-percent uplift in interest for such vehicles. London and Leeds only saw marginal drops in demand, with interest down by single-figure percentages, but Nottingham and Liverpool both saw demand drop by more than a quarter.

Although the growth in searches does not necessarily translate to purchases, says the research gives us a glimpse into buyers’ “initial intentions”. The company claims this data suggests drivers want a hybrid, but eventually decide to go with the more familiar and often cheaper petrol or diesel option.

“With the exception of Glasgow and Nottingham, the increase in searches for EVs is still outstripped by those for hybrids,” said Christofer Lloyd, the editor of “This suggests that for most motorists looking to move away from the traditional petrol or diesel car, a hybrid is the most likely next step before the eventual adoption of a full EV.”

“This unique analysis opens a window on the initial intentions or hopes of online used car customers, while our actual sales data reveals that what they eventually decide to buy is almost always different. The other interesting aspect of our search data to note is the volatility we see in EV searches, which appear to follow no particular pattern.”

Renault Zoe range test
Got a tip for us? Email: