THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
Hybrid Owners of America says farewell
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Feb 2, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
When the Civil Society Institute formed the Hybrid Owners of America seven years ago, hybrid vehicles were viewed with apprehension and trepidation. Today, it’s a different story. Consumer Reports just declared the Toyota Prius to be the best value for your automotive dollar, when considering cost to operate, reliability, and performance. Then the California New Car Dealers Association announced that the Prius beat out all cars and trucks to become the best-selling vehicle in California for 2012. And with this, the Hybrid Owners of America says it’s time to retire. “Our work is done,” says HOA spokesperson Ailis Aaron Wolf and LA Car contributing editor. As the saying goes, the times they are a-changing. FAREWELL FROM HYBRID OWNERS OF AMERICA It's been quite a ride! When the Civil Society Institute launched the Hybrid Owners of America about seven years ago, a number of journalists heaped scorn on any suggestion that Americans (1) cared about smaller, more fuel efficient cars and (2) would ever actually buy and drive such vehicles. The reception we received was even rougher in March of 2005, when CSI launched 40MPG.org (which was folded into Hybrid Owners of America in 2012). Obviously, things have changed a lot since those days. A case in point: The rather startling news that the Prius was the best-selling car in California last year. Not number one among hybrid. Not number one among all highly fuel-efficient vehicles. No, the Prius was the number one vehicle of any kind. And that trend is not limited to California. Prius sales for the U.S. were the highest ever in 2012: 235,000 versus 135,000 in 2011—and even significantly increased from the previous one-year record high of 160,000 in 2008. The Prius clearly played a significant role in helping boost Toyota once again to the position of world's top automaker. With this significant news about the Prius and the news that hybrids made up three percent of market share in the U.S. in 2012 (up from 2.1 percent in 2011), hybrids are clearly a well-known and established commodity. Think back to 2006 when HOA was founded. The general public did not know much about hybrids and they were seen by many as an extravagance for those with money burn to indulge their green inclinations. Fast forward to today: Hybrids now play a key role in the lineups of almost every major automaker in the world. Just as importantly, hybrid technology—such as stop-start tech—is also being widely incorporated into standard combustion engine vehicles to make them more efficient as well. Hybrids have gone from the fringe of the American automotive world to the heart of the business. In a very similar vein, we were years ahead of the curve with 40MPG.org's campaign for higher MPG standards. We started out being scoffed at and dismissed as unrealistic dreamers, and ended up helping to bring about federal fuel efficiency targets that will end up exceeding 40 MPG. So, we'd like to think we played an important role in making some good things happen. As such, our work is done and Hybrid Owners of America is being retired in February 2013. We hope that you will continue to follow the important work of the Civil Society Institute. Ailis Aaron Wolf Hybrid Owners of America Civil Society Institute Editor’s Note: In addition to serving as the spokesperson for Hybrid Owners of America, Ailis Aaron Wolf has served as a contributing editor to LA Car.