The rising price of gasoline has created a greater demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, but the disaster in Japan could make those vehicles harder to find in Nebraska.
The top selling hybrid in the U.S. is the Toyota Prius which is 100% made in Japan. John Nus, a Toyota sales manager, says the availability of hybrids in the Midwest could dry up since at least three major Japanese auto makers have suspended operations.
“We’ve had very little communication at this point, so we’re are at question mark stage until Toyota can feed us a little more information about where we’re at,” Nus says. He says hybrid vehicle sales have tripled in recent months, but he says the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat in Japan could stall that growth.
“As far as availability of what we have coming and what’s going to be available to us to sell, it’s going to be very limited,” Nus says. “We’re talking, probably for the next two to three months, probably only another seven to ten vehicles in the Prius line.”
Average gas prices have climbed to $3.54 a gallon nationwide and $3.58 a gallon in Nebraska. The most expensive state for gas is Hawaii, where prices have already topped four-bucks a gallon.