In case you missed the memo, today is Earth Day -- a day that's meant to focus the world's attention on pollution, climate change, and other environmental issues.
Once upon a time, the auto industry was wary of being entangled in environmental discussions, afraid that it could never win arguments against eco-activists. But hybrids and electric cars have changed the terms of the debate. Now automakers happily insist that, yes, they're concerned about the environment, and they're working to make cars cleaner and more reliant on renewable energy resources.
Today, hybrids and EVs make up just a few percentage points of the U.S. auto market, but with more environmentally friendly options arriving every model-year, they're picking up speed. Where are these green cars likely to fare best? We're glad you asked.
The folks at Cars.com reviewed their site's search data, making note of visitors who searched for hybrids, electric cars, and other green vehicles. By keeping tabs on the locations of those visitors, analysts were able to compile a list of the ten U.S. metro areas where eco-friendly shoppers were most likely to live.
Most of those top-ten sites are ones you'd expect. West Coast cities figured prominently on the list because, as Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder notes, "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." You can probably guess the #1 spot without even scrolling down the page.
That said, there are a couple of surprises -- notably Lima, Ohio, which shows up at #8. Here's the full list:
10. Sacramento—Stockton—Modesto, California
9. Medford—Klamath Falls, Oregon
8. Lima, Ohio
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
6. Washington D.C.
5. Eureka, California
4. Portland, Oregon
3. San Diego, California
2. Monterey—Salinas, California
1. San Francisco—Oakland—San Jose, California
Are you in the market for a new car? Is "eco-friendliness" among the criteria on your checklist? Let us know in the comments below.