Saturday, April 27, 2013

America's top green car markets

America's top green car markets
Michael Strong , The Detroit Bureau – 3 days

One might associate green with lima beans, not Lima, Ohio, yet a new study finds that the small, Midwestern town ranks right up there with places like San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D.C. when it comes to shopping for cars.

A new study conducted by lists Lima as eighth among the top 10 U.S. cities with the most environmentally conscious car shoppers. Less surprising is that San Francisco tops the chart, while eight of the 10 communities are out West.

The list, in order, includes:

San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.Monterey-Salinas, Calif.San Diego, Calif.Portland, Ore.Eureka, Calif.Washington D.C.Honolulu, HawaiiLima, OhioMedford-Klamath Falls, Ore.Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.

“It is not surprising that California and other West Coast cities top the list with some of the greenest car shoppers. That part of the country has long led the charge in the green movement,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor, “With abundant charging stations, special perks for eco-friendly drivers in some western cities and robust infrastructure, the West Coast is well equipped to cater to the needs of eco-conscious drivers.”

However, Lima, a city of about 38,000 people situated between Toledo and Dayton, making the list may not be as surprising as one might think, if one digs a little deeper. Joe Shaw, general sales manager at Lima Auto Mall, a General Motors dealership told the Toledo Blade that it sells a lot of Chevy Volts.

“We do a lot of Volts, both pre-owned and new, ” he said. “We’re awaiting the Cadillac ELR, and that’s going to be a great car. It’s gorgeous. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Shaw told the newspaper that many of the Volt sales are to out-of-towners through their certified pre-owned program. The town is located on I-75, which makes traveling to the city easy. He also noted there are plenty of local residents interested in hybrid and green technology, including the Chevy Malibu Eco a “mild hybrid” using a 15-horsepower electric motor to assist the traditional gas engine.

“We have a lot of people asking about it. You’ve got a strong educational community, you’ve got a strong engineering community here,” Shaw said. “They’re concerned about green initiatives. You’ve got Rhodes State, OSU-Lima, University of Northwestern Ohio.”

The University of Northwestern Ohio boasts an alternate fuels technology curriculum. The school is one of the original six founding members of the National Alternate Fuels Training Consortium. The program focuses on hands-on training in M85 and E85, electric, propane, compressed natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen vehicles.

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