PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- For car buyers in some corners of the country, Earth Day just doesn't end.
While this year's installment has passed, the folks at auto sales site CarGurus note that the demand for used hybrid cars is year-round for some portions of the United States. That's not terribly surprising, as the number of "green" low-mileage, hybrid and pure-electric vehicles has only increased in recent years as commuters drive less and live closer to work.
The Department of Transportation notes that U.S. drivers, who had been racking up a steadily increasing number of miles since the 1970s, started cutting back in 2008 and never returned to that peak. Meanwhile, traffic information service Inrix, notes that as gas prices started spiking in 2010, average commute times during peak hours dropped from more than four hours to less than two.
Meanwhile, DC Streets Blog and the Frontier Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund point out that Americans are driving roughly 6% fewer miles than they were in 2004.
If you're driving shorter distances less often, it makes sense that some car shoppers would prefer to invest in vehicles that don't burn up a whole lot of gas getting them from here to there. Last year, there were nearly 496,000 hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. -- the most ever and well more than the 261,500 sold in 2011. Meanwhile, the more than 96,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles sold last year was an 80% increase over 2012. According to CarGurus, 26% of all its used hybrid car listings are for the Toyota Prius alone, but a steady stream of hybrid offerings from Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and others are padding that lineup pretty quickly.
CarGurus took a look around the country and found the Top 5 markets for people seeking used hybrids. While Detroit, Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Cincinnati have little use for them -- generating less than 0.9% of all demand in each city -- there are other places in the U.S. that don't fear the cost, the potential battery replacement or the number of outlets they'll have access to for plug-in models. This is what they look like: