It's long been considered in the auto industry that California sets the trends, which is why automakers often introduce innovative models in the Golden State before making them available across the country. If this is truly the case, Californians are telling car manufacturers loud and clear that hybrids are moving from exotic to mainstream as more Toyota Prius vehicles were registered than any other model in the state last year.
No doubt rising gas prices gave Prius sales a boost. Positive reviews by trusted consumer publications like Consumer Reports, which called the Prius the best new car bargain, certainly didn't hurt.
In 2012, Californians registered 60,688 new Prius hybrids. That accounts for nearly one out of every five subcompacts, according to the California New Cars Dealers Association. Prius edged out the popular Honda Civic, which came in second with 57,124 new vehicles registered.