Sales of hybrid-electric vehicles in the United States slipped nearly 10 percent in 2008, as falling gas prices combined with a slowing economy to crush demand for the fuel efficient vehicles. In all, American drivers purchased 315,761 hybrid vehicles in 2008, down from 350,430 hybrids in 2007.
Toyota remained far and away the market leader in hybrid vehicle sales, selling 241,405 hybrids in 2008. Still, that was down some 12.5 percent from 2007.
Experts predict that relatively cheap gas prices and a recessionary economy will continue to stifle demand for hybrid vehicles, as Americans prefer larger, more powerful vehicles when fuel is inexpensive. To whit, despite the economy, sales of pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles increased in December relative to November.