Will Plug-In Vehicle Sales Drop Off As Gas Prices Fall This Winter?
“Winter blend” gas is upon us and with it comes lower gasoline prices.
Typically, the “winter blend” gas is roughly 15 cents cheaper per gallon than “summer” blends.
What does this drop in gas prices mean for sales of plug-in vehicles?
Not a darn thing.
While some studies suggest that declining gas prices lead to lower sales of fuel-efficient vehicles, there’s simply not enough research out there to make that statement specific to plug-ins. Yes, conventional hybrid sales typically drop off when gas prices dip, but plug-in buyers are often buying for a different reason. Most are making that purchase not based on fuel economy, but on the fact that the vehicle has a plug. Lower gas prices have no direct tie to the plug, so we see it differently than the studies specific to just fuel-efficient vehicles.
Plug-in vehicle sales may indeed decline slightly as winter sets in, but that’s more or less due to the cold climate areas of this nation, where potential plug-in buyers opt to wait until the weather warms to make a purchase.
This is often done for the simple reason that first-time plug-in vehicle buyers would rather not immediately experience the range-sapping impact of cold weather. It’s a logical decision to hold off on buying until Spring. By doing so, plug-in buyers get some time to figure out how weather impacts their new ride before the harsh reality of winter is upon them.
So, if we see a drop in plug-in vehicle sales this winter, let’s not tie it to the cheaper “winter blend.” Though it may be easier to say that’s why sales have dropped, we just don’t believe it to be true.