Traveling down to California as I frequently do, I increasingly notice more and more Prius hybrids on the roads. Though they continue to feel more dense in numbers in Portland, Oregon, It isn’t that hard to notice the unique little design of the main Prius and its siblings zipping along Calif. highways. New data from R.L. Polk confirms this popular Toyota car’s rising in popularity in the Golden State, with it ranking as the top in new vehicle registrations for 2012.
Polk reported that registrations across the entire Prius family, which includes the original model, Prius v, Prius Plug-in and Prius c, accounted for 61,893 vehicles total last year. There was no specific, measured rationale for why this was the case, be it environmentalism or fuel efficiency. Toyota speculated it being the latter and, given California’s gas prices, seems the likely motivator.
That the Prius ranks in this way continues to show how this hybrid is the leading example of the integration of green vehicle technology into mainstream America and beyond. The car, first introduced here in the United States in December of 1997 has, as of November of last year, achieved cumulative global sales of over 2.8 million.
In terms of global environmental impact on carbon emissions, it is interesting to note what Toyota talked about back late last year when it highlighted that all total its hybrids were over 4.6 million models sold. At that time it believed that since 1997 its growing number of hybrids on the road have reduced CO2 emissions “by approximately 30 million tons worldwide and approximately 9 million tons in Japan compared to the amount of emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.” It has also cut down on fossil fuel use by an estimated 2.9 million gallons of gas, compared to the amount used by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size.
Of course one can’t speak to the environmental benefits of the Prius without looking at one of the leading issues around why it isn’t as green, which is what to do with the vehicle’s batteries as they expire. Dumping them in landfills certainly isn’t the answer, so Toyota is increasingly exploring options which allow for reuse, which include using them for energy storage for building related needs.