Hybrid new car buys per month doubled from 2023 to 2024. Toyota retiring petrol but sticking with hybrid for incoming efficiency standard law.

Oh what a feeling! Toyota petrol cars end of the road

Toyota says its petrol vehicles will be retired in favour of hybrid models due to demand (Supplied by Toyota Australia/AAP PHOTOS)

Nine popular vehicles will no longer be sold as petrol cars in Australia after Toyota announced plans to move to more environmentally friendly technology.

The major automaker revealed the change on Wednesday, announcing that customer demand for hybrid vehicles had become so strong that it would retire pure petrol versions of models including its RAV4 SUV, and Corolla and Camry sedans.

The move comes as sales figures from May show soaring interest in hybrid vehicles in Australia, and after the federal government passed laws to encourage the importation of more low-emission options.

Toyota Australia sales vice-president Sean Hanley said the change had been years in the making and was made after the company tried offering only hybrid versions of its Yaris Cross and C-HR SUV, and Corolla and Yaris hatchbacks.

“Our dealers will no longer offer petrol-only variants of any Toyota model where a hybrid-electric alternative is available,” he said.

“This is the next logical step in a hybrid-electric strategy we have been evolving and implementing since well before the first Prius arrived in October 2001.”

Toyota models that will only be available as hybrid vehicles include RAV4, Kluger and Corolla SUVs, with the final petrol models of the vehicles being delivered to customers who had already purchased them over the coming months.

Mr Hanley said petrol versions of the vehicles had been “price leaders” and cheaper than the more environmentally friendly models, but consumers were increasingly demanding more fuel-efficient versions of the cars.

“Across the models where customers have had the choice, the vast majority have chosen hybrid over petrol,” he said.

“This has reinforced our confidence in the future of hybrid-electric as the dominant powertrain of choice for most passenger cars and SUVs.”

The move could help drivers save on petrol costs, with data from the federal government’s Green Vehicle Guide indicating a hybrid RAV4 would cost $356 less to fuel than its petrol equivalent each year, and a Corolla Cross hybrid could save an average of $494 a year.

Toyota’s announcement comes after the figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries showed sales of hybrid vehicles had more than doubled in the first five months of the year compared to the same time in 2023, and had outsold electric vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid electric cars, which feature both electric and petrol engines, were significantly less popular than hybrid models but their popularity also doubled this year to achieve more than 6000 sales between January and May.

More low-emission vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars, were expected to be launched in Australia next year when the federal government introduces its New Vehicle Efficiency Standard that will set emissions limits on car fleets.

Australian Associated Press

Aussies more likely than ever to buy low emission vehicle – as long as it’s a big one

Almost one in four new cars bought in Australia is a low-emission vehicle, as hybrid and electric models claim a bigger share of the market.

Almost one in four new cars bought in Australia is a low-emission vehicle, as hybrid and electric models claim a bigger share of the market.

But Australia’s love for large vehicles is still on the rise, with SUVs dominating and ute sales continuing to grow.

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