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Transportation and Mobility

If You Were Waiting Until Now To Get A Hybrid Or Electric Car, The Market Has Some Bad News For You

A man's hand is shown in close-up holding a gas pump as he pumps gas into a grey car. The man wears a worn-out brown leather jacket and blue jeans.
As gas prices soar, so does demand for hybrid and electric vehicles.
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Gas prices in Southern California are spiking to record highs. So maybe you’re considering replacing your gas-guzzler with an electric or hybrid vehicle. But good luck finding the one you want.

In the past, when gas prices have risen, car buyers have gotten a lot choosier about fuel efficiency. But Brian Maas of the California New Car Dealers Association says this is a bad time for choosy buyers: a shortage of the microchips that power all cars’ increasingly complex computer systems has choked the flow of new vehicles from assembly lines to dealership lots.

“In the current environment, dealers don’t have enough inventory regardless," Maas said. "What it means is there’s probably going to be more demand for highly-efficient vehicles, electric vehicles, etc. — but dealers don’t have many of those anyway.”

Maas points out hybrid and electric vehicles have already surged in popularity. In 2017, they made up 10% of all the new cars sold in California. Last year, it soared to 23%.

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High gas prices won’t turn buyers off of gas-only vehicles all at once — but Maas says if prices stay high demand for hybrid and electric cars could rise even more.

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