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Prius Sales Suggest Californians Really Are More Eco-Friendly

• January 24, 2013 • 9:27 AM

When it comes to the environment, California car buyers are, if you’ll excuse the expression, walking the walk. In 2012, the top-selling car in the state was—wait for it—the Toyota Prius.

According to the California New Car Dealers Association, 60,688 Prius models were registered last year. Runners-up were the Honda Civic with 57,124, the Toyota Camry with 50,250, and the Honda Accord with 49,420. (The figures represent sales to individual consumers, not fleets.)

The website L.A. Observed notes that the Prius isn’t even on the top 10 list nationally. “We’re just that different,” writes editor Kevin Roderick.

Do I hear an objection? Don’t Californians drive more than people in most states, negating the fact we’re in cars that burn less fuel and give off fewer emissions?

Yes and no. According to the Index Mundi website, our average commute time is on the high side, at 26.9 minutes. But it’s lower than New York, Massachusetts and Illinois, and even a tiny bit lower than Georgia (27 minutes).

Many Americans spend endless hours in their autos; Californians are just more likely to do so in a more environmentally friendly vehicle. The Ford F-series pickup truck is the national best-seller. In California, it placed seventh.

Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ventura County Star.

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