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Toyota’s Hybrid Sales in Europe Pass 50,000-Unit Mark

Cumulative European sales of both Toyota and Lexus brand hybrid vehicles have passed the 50,000-unit mark. Sales of the Toyota Prius have reached almost 41,000 units since going on sale in 2000. Sales of the Lexus RX 400h and GS 450h have reached a cumulative total of more than 10,000 units in just 17 months of being on the market.

Toyota expects its annual European hybrid sales to reach 37,400 units in 2006, while overall sales are expected to exceed 1 million units for the Toyota brand and attain 45,000 units for the Lexus brand. At those numbers, hybrids would represent 3.6% of Toyota’s sales in Europe.

By comparison, Toyota’s sales of hybrids in the US from January-May 2006 represented 6.7% of its total sales (67,279 hybrids out of 1,000,524 total light duty vehicles sold).

Of the major global markets, Europe is thought to be the least prone to adopt current gasoline-hybrid electric technology due to the market dominance of diesels. Diesels can basically deliver gains in fuel economy equivalent to those offered by gasoline-electric hybrids when compared to a conventional gasoline car.

Reaching 50,000 hybrid sales is a clear sign that Europeans have taken to this exciting new technology. Hybrid has already established itself as an advanced solution delivering both power and environmental performance. Toyota is committed to developing a range of cleaner technologies including hybrid, clean diesel and alternative fuels.

—Thierry Dombreval, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe



So why not diesel-hybrids for Europe?


With the greater amount of city driving in Europe compared to the USA you'd think they would be more excited about hybrids and the people in the USA would be more excited about diesels. (yeah, yeah, emissions worries in the USA, cheap diesel fuel in Europe...)

Rafael Seidl

Micah -

diesel hybrids would be very heavy and expensive. The relative improvement due to hybridization would be smaller than for gasoline engines. Plus, both systems would produce high torque at low RPM, necessitating a heavier, more expensive transmission.

A more attractive scenario would be a severely downsized engine with VTG, spray-guided homogenous GDI and a power-centric mild hybrid (electric or pneumatic). This would surpass a turbodiesel of similar weight in both max. power and fuel economy, but also in cost.

Patrick -

cheap is a relative term. Diesel costs about $5/US gal here in Austria and even more in many other EU countries. Gasoline is taxed even more heavily, in spite of the lower energy density.

In the US, taxes are more closely aligned with energy density and substantially lower. That is the main reason why so much fuel is wasted there. Still, if emissions were not a barrier to sales (and they most definitely are!) and US consumers could be convinced of the merits of diesels (and they most certainly need convincing), diesel market share would never reach the current Europena levels of ~50% of new car registrations. The fuel economics suggest 10-20% market share at best, and even that would take perhaps a decade to achieve.


I was just thinking...if PHEVs become a popular choice of vehicle where will infrastructure taxes to maintain roads come from? In the US those taxes are primarily sourced from taxes on gasoline...maybe they'll have to start making every major road a toll road and increase registration fees & property taxes (but automotive fuel taxes are such a fair way of handling the matter since less fuel efficient vehicles tend to be heavier and wear out the roads more than lighter vehicles the extra wear and tear on the roads is handled by the extra fuel they consume and greater taxes they pay (in total not by portion)).

Ask electric vehicle owners in Oregon what happened to them when they tried to register their vehicles...

Rafael Seidl

The usual response from a country's treasury department would be to slap a new/higher tax or fee on those individuals that are getting out from under the old one, for the same reason that people rob banks: that's where the money is!

For example, in the Netherlands LPG used to be taxed more lightly than gasoline but owners of LPG vehicles had to pay twice the registration fee. Not sure if that is still the case toady.

The only contexts in which this clawing back of lost revenue does not happen are:
(a) the total sum involved is too small to bother
(b) the tax avoidance coincides with a policy goal and surplus revenue from other sources
(c) those avoiding the tax are sufficiently well organized/politically connected to nip any tax hike on them in the bud

In the case of PHEVs, (a) will initially apply. If they were to be successful, especially in Europe, you could quickly see an attempt to plug the revenue hole. Germany's finance minister has slapped taxes on biodiesel and talked about canceling the tax holiday on CNG in 2016 rathet than 2020 as previously promised. In that country, fuel taxes are the #2 source of income for the federal government.


Fuel taxes are a major source of revenue for governments around the world. In the US even with its low gas taxes I believe the taxes are still well beyond the cost of maintaining and building the roads. And we all know the quality of the US road network.

So you can imagine how much of the tax money from European fuel taxes goes into general revenue. Politicians of all stripes will fight hard to keep that revenue stream alive in the face of PHEV.

Sunny Tai

Despite Jeremy Clarkson's best efforts, its good to see the hybrids gaining acceptance.

allen zheng

The Interstate System in the US (and other major highways) are underwritten by general taxation. Gas taxes levied by the Fed, State, other, cover ~1/3 of all costs. the rest comes from the Fed Govt budget (taxes, bonds, borrowing). Toll roads often do pay for themselves, and sometimes finance other projects as well.
____Perhaps, the socialized (ironic) Interstate system should liberalize some sections, ie. close to cities/ burbs, with higher gas taxes, or high speed tolls. Add speeding detection equiptment and CCTV+hidden cop car parking spot by the highway.
____The govt at all levels face mounting deficits from retiring workers benefits, and the Socialism (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other) built into the federal govt. They will need all the savings and revenue they can get their hands on. Then you have the pork/earmarks/broadly distributed projects.....and the associated problems. They spend enormous amounts of funds that go no-where. One was the "Bridge to NoWhere"; would you not like to have that kind of money spent on biofuels? Another was the "Swimming pool in nowhere" (google quote above, add pork). That would have made a (or a few) good research grant(s).
____As much as $10 billion dollars of the defense budget (maybe more) go to inefficent manufacturing process. They (major defence contractors) contract/sub-contract out their components to all significant congressional districts. The bigger-more complex the project, the more districts involved, the harder politically it is to kill the program. This also adds to inertia, the inability to shift capabilities of new systems as needs arise. Making parts in 440+ locations is not efficent. At least they need to move around and consolidate locations/production centers. $10+ bilion could go to DARPA or Army Tank and Automotive or NASA, both could R&D&deployment of the technologies for the future like they have in the past (ie internet, microchip tech, combustion science). Another is that they spend enourmous amounts of capital (human and $) in sstems and then either chuck them/shelf them/reduce production run them. One is the B-2, the "Billion Dollar Bomber" The actual cost (per unit production) is aprox 1/3 that. The only thing is that they shut down production before the full run was completed, thus per unit cost was higher. They are about to do he same with the F/A-22. This is just what the Feds are capable of. Hope there are smarter heads over there.

Richard C Burton

so does anyone know approximately how much fuel the US Military consumes? how much pollution it causes(I'm assuming most of their vehicles are not EPA approved, to say the least)

Rafael Seidl

Richard -

"The Air Force consumed 3.2 billion gallons, or 12.1 billion liters, of aviation fuel in the 2005 financial year, which was 52.5 percent of all fossil fuel used by the government, Pentagon statistics show. The total Air Force bill for jet fuel last year topped $4.7 billion."


Richard C Burton

Found this answer to my question in the cite Rafael gave, tho the amount seems very low to me; "Although the share of national energy consumption by
the U.S. government and military is just 1.7 percent, every increase of $10 per barrel of oil drives up Air Force fuel costs by $600 million per year."

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