California’s car buyers are shifting their loyalties from the internal combustion engine to electric batteries—but ever so slowly. Despite car sales declining in the Golden State since 2016, the number of electric and hybrid cars sold continues to rise. In the first half of 2019, sales hit 51,750 and 48,861, respectively. That’s a 40% increase for both over last year.
Yet overall, the vast majority of car sales in California, one of the US’s most environmentally conscious states, remain gasoline-powered. Pure electric cars account for just 5.5% of California’s vehicle sales (or 13% when including all types of electrification), compared to 81% for petrol cars. But California is the US leader in electric vehicles (EVs). It plans to have 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 and accounted for about half of the 105,472 electric cars sold in the US in the first half of the year.