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Plug-in Cars May Account for 22% of U.S. Auto Sales by 2030

Plug-in cars such as Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf model and General Motors Co.’s Volt could make up 9 percent of U.S. auto sales by 2020 and 22 percent in 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Achieving that level of growth depends on rising gasoline prices and the cost of batteries coming down, the analysis company said today in an e-mailed statement. The price of electric cars, higher than three-quarters of autos currently being sold, is the most significant limiting factor, it said.

Next year “will see the launch of a large number of new plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle models around the world,” New Energy Finance Chief Executive Officer Michael Liebreich said in the statement. “It’s not just car companies who have a lot riding on their success. Utilities, oil companies, whole countries will feel the impact if there is rapid uptake.”

New Energy Finance said its “base case” scenario assumed retail gasoline prices per gallon of $3.34 in 2020 and $3.68 in 2030. A gasoline price of $5.48 in 2030 could spur electric cars to take 31 percent of the market, while a price of $2.08 would see that proportion fall to 14 percent, it said.

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