Europe continues to make progress on its emissions reduction target. Sales analysis for the third quarter of 2022 clearly shows that the trend is very positive for hybrid and electric cars.
It is not necessary to remember the tough objectives that Europe contemplates for the decarbonization of its automobile fleet. The old continent wants to become an emission-free oasis. Environmental policies favor the sale of electrified vehicles, and drivers, encouraged by these benefits, improve their share of registration figures. During the past quarter, Europe saw a considerable increase in the rate of hybrid and electric cars, reaching almost half of sales throughout the territory, as shown by the data collected by the ACEA.
Not all the member countries of the European Union are advancing at the same pace, although it is also clear that all of them are experiencing a clear phase of commercial expansion. Hybrids are positioned as an alternative that is increasingly requested by drivers, although it is worth noting the progress of electric ones. It was the niche that grew the most during the past quarter, reaching a commercial share of 11.9%. A figure that will soon be equated with sales of diesel vehicles.
As we have been saying, hybrids are already the second preferred option for European drivers. Petrol cars remain the preferred option with a market share of 37.8%. Although we speak of a high percentage of the total, the reality indicates that the percentage has decreased compared to the second quarter, where the share reached 39.3%. Diesel continues in free fall, falling another 4.7% to 360,596 units sold, representing a market share of 16.5%.
On the good news, plug-in hybrids remain stagnant in sales. Customers do not consider them a real alternative, so much so that between the second and third quarters of the year sales have fallen by 6%. The main countries have suffered losses in their sales, mainly France and Italy where the fall has exceeded double digits, 22.2 and 14.3%, respectively. In other countries such as Germany or Spain, the decline has been much less, with just 1% of sales.
If we add the shares of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, we discover that in Europe they represent almost half of sales, 43% to be more exact, while thermal, diesel, and gasoline cars still account for 54.3% of total sales. However, it would not be strange to think that at the end of the year the gap will be cut even more taking into account the progression so far this year. 2023 may become the first year in which electrified cars become the first purchase option for drivers.
Hybrids once again positioned themselves as one of the preferred options, reaching a market share of 26.2%. Plug-in hybrids reached 4,000 units sold, which represents a 5.03% market share. Finally, the electric ones returned to the bottom in percentage of sales, with 3.6% monthly and 4.1% in the annual accumulated. This means that we are almost 8 points below the European average, which shows the long way we still have to go.