Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Rise of the Hybrid

It's beginning. Hybrid sales have risen 81 percent last year to a total of around 83 thousand. There's probably 200 thousand or so hybrids on the road. The article linked to above tells us that within this burgeoning market, Ford, the only American manufacturer with a true hybrid commands only 3 percent of the market. 3 percent! That's miniscule especially considering that they are currently the ONLY manufacturer to offer a hybrid SUV. I have yet to see an ad for the Escape hybrid, and that's disappointing. They should be everywhere.

The limits of hybrids are that they only really work well with small vehicles, but if over 80 thousand a year can be sold with the price of fuel LESS than it is now, imagine how many will sell as more choices appear on the market, AND the price of fuel inexorably rises. With production at all time highs, no new large oil fields being discovered, and consumption at all time highs, it doesn't take a math genius to realize that every ounce being drilled is being swallowed at a fast rate. That means higher prices if Venezuela has a revolution, Iraq falls apart, Iran decides to stop exporting, revolution in Saudi Arabia, revolution in Nigeria, etc. A lot of possibilities for things to go wrong. Hybrids are going to be HUGE.

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