It's a classic paradox, observes David R. Baker for the San Francisco Chronicle: bigger, thirstier vehicles sell better than smaller, more efficient ones, while the market for battery-powered vehicles, especially Teslas, also increases.
California light truck registrations, a category which includes sport utility vehicles, increased by 5.6 percent for the first six months of the year, "while passenger car registrations continued to fall, 10.1 percent below this time last year."
While this is on trend with national behavior, the numbers differ slightly, with US light truck sales increasing by 7.7 percent and US passenger car sales falling by 12.1 percent.
"While the market continues to shift in types of vehicles sold, we are experiencing consistent buyer behavior geared more towards larger vehicles. This increased demand continues to demonstrate consumer interest in purchasing larger, more convenient, family friendly vehicles to meet their transportation needs,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda.
"Registrations of electric and plug-in hybrid cars are growing quickly, together accounting for more than 6 percent of [California's] new car market," reports "Nearly as many electric cars were registered in the first half of 2018 — 33,015 — as in all of 2015."
And no company has benefited from that shift more than California’s home-grown electric automaker, Tesla.
According to data compiled for the association by IHS Markit, the number of new Teslas registered in California during the year’s first half jumped 139.4 percent, a bigger rise than any other automaker. That included 4,993 Model S sedans, 3,962 Model X SUVs and 12,674 of the company’s new Model 3 sedan.
Although Tesla has struggled to rev up Model 3 production at its Fremont factory, the car now outsells all other vehicles in its class within California.
Californians love their big vehicles (as do the majority of American auto consumers)
While the increase in electric vehicle sales is good news for the environment, the increase in light truck sales, which includes SUVs, vans and pickups, is partly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector having increased in 2015 and 2016 in California while overall emissions continued to drop.
Baker noted that total vehicle sales for the first six months of the year “dropped 2.2 percent, to 1,004,587." He also broke down sales in the light truck sector:
Sport utility vehicles accounted for 39 percent of all new registrations in California during the year’s first half, according to the dealers association. At this point last year, they represented 35 percent of the market. The market share for pickups and vans, together, held steady at 15 percent.
Electric and hybrid vehicle sales data
According to the dealers association, "combined hybrid and electric market share overall continues to increase, making up 10.2 percent of total new vehicle registrations. Looking closer at the data, plug ins and electric vehicle sales are both up more than 1.4 percent combined, while hybrid sales continued their long downward trend and are down .4 percent from last year."
Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape
Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan
Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.
How Infrastructure Communicates Values
The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.
Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations
Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.
Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park
State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.