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Electric, hybrid car sales up, California auto emissions down

Electric, hybrid car sales up, California auto emissions down
California vehicle emissions dropped from 2011 to 2012, in part because of increased adoption of electric and hybrid cars, like these new, fully electric BMW i3's arriving at the company's Port Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Jim Sulley / newscast)

California continues to lead the country in transportation efficiency, says the Green Innovation Index, a new study on energy use and emissions by the nonprofit group Next 10.

The Green Innovation Index shows statewide registrations of alternative fuel vehicles rising 16% from 2011 to 2012, at a time when all California vehicle registrations increased by only 1.5%.

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Those registrations included 91,000 alternative fuel vehicles, which now make up 2.3% of all vehicles registered in the state -- up from 1.6% in 2009 and .03% in 2000.

Electric vehicle registrations were up 20.6% over the same period.

Why does it matter? According to the study, transportation is responsible for 37% of all California's emissions. And two-thirds of tailpipe emissions comes from passenger vehicles.

The study concluded that increased adoption of lower-emissions vehicles is having an incremental effect on air quality -- small, but measurable.

"While overall emissions increased in 2012, transportation emissions declined 0.6 percent compared to 2011," the study said.

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