More drivers are choosing used hybrid cars than ever before.


If you’re driving a used hybrid or electric vehicle, you’re in good company. Buying a used hybrid is a growing trend!

Maybe you’re new to hybrid cars, or maybe you were an early adopter. If you count yourself among the relative few who owned and drove a hybrid in 2001, you were definitely an early adopter. Back then, your choices were a Honda Insight or a Toyota Prius and, if you really had hunted around, a General Motors EV-1 or a Toyota RAV4 EV.

This was also the year that CarMax sold its first used hybrid. (It was a silver Honda Insight, bought by a customer in Maryland.)

Fast forward to today! Drivers have bought nearly 100,000 used hybrids and EVs at CarMax. It’s pretty amazing when you think about how far the technology has come, and how these vehicles have proliferated, in less than 20 years. We’ve helped millions of car-buying customers over the years — and today, we’re helping more and more drivers to get behind the wheel of a used hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or EV.
CarMax 2001-2016 Hybrid Sales Growth Map | CarMax

US News & World Report recently revealed the most popular hybrid vehicles with American consumers; among the top six are the Chevrolet Bolt, Toyota Avalon, Ford C-Max, Lexus CT 200H, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf. Our sales are similar; CarMax customers seek out the Toyota Prius, Ford C-Max, Toyota RAV4 EV, and Ford Fusion hybrids. If you’re plugged into plug-ins, our customers really like the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3; both are on our list of 10 popular mpg-boosting electric and hybrid cars.

CarMax Hybrid & Electric Car Sales: Most Popular Cars | CarMax

If you live in California, it’s no shocker that West Coasters love their EVs and hybrids. Californians are on track to buy more used hybrids this year at CarMax than anyone else, anywhere else. By our count, nearly one in every four hybrids and EVs we sold in 2016 (and we sold nearly 23,000 of them, in more than 100 distinct models) went to a CarMax customer in California. Way to go, Californians!

Here are CarMax’s top 10 states for sales of these eco-friendly vehicles in 2016:

CarMax Hybrid & Electric Car Sales: Top 10 States | CarMax

And here’s where CarMax is selling lots of used hybrids so far in 2017:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Today, there are almost four and a half million hybrids and EVs on the road in the US! Clearly, electric vehicle and hybrid growth has taken off, and these vehicles, with all of their latest technologies, are here to stay. Some of the reasons for this growth include: 

  • Fluctuating fuel prices.
  • Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates. At this writing, the federal government is requiring automakers to increase the overall mpg ratings on its vehicles; there’s a CAFE mandate to improve fuel economy so passenger vehicles can achieve goals of 50 miles per gallon in the not-too-distant future. Hybrid technology can help automakers to reach these goals.
  • Technology innovation. As automakers refine and improve their hybrid and EV technologies, the benefit to consumers improves. Boosted battery power means more distance you can cover on a single charge. Five years ago, who thought a car like the Chevy Bolt could drive 238 miles before needing a recharge? Batteries weigh less today than in the early days, and less weight means more range. Use of more lightweight materials like aluminum will also help to boost range.

According to the US Department of Energy, driving a hybrid version of a gas-burning vehicle can significantly boost your miles per gallon. A 2016 Ford Fusion (2.5L gas engine, automatic transmission) delivers an average of 26 combined city/highway mpg; the 2016 Fusion Hybrid delivers an impressive 41 mpg (combined)!

CarMax Hybrid & Electric Car Sales: Fuel Saved | CarMax

The best hybrid cars and plug-in hybrid cars, including the top 10 hybrid cars of 2016, are already rolling on our streets and highways, and there are even more and better models on automakers’ drawing boards. There’s never been a better time to own and drive a hybrid or EV. We’re looking forward to selling more of these vehicles in the years to come.

In our next article, we’ll share results of our survey of nearly 2,500 hybrid and EV owners; we asked them why they chose a hybrid, and how they feel about driving one!

Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.