A recent study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates has found that 50% of prospective car buyers in the US are considering a hybrid model, down from 57% one year ago. By contrast, the level of interest surrounding new diesel models has risen sharply with 23% of respondents claiming they’re considering a diesel, up from 12% last year.

According to the study, the loss of interest in hybrids stems from consumer realization that hybrid cars are not as thrifty as initially perceived. J.D. Power’s Mike Marshall told reporters from The Detroit News that "the decrease in consideration of hybrids in 2007 may be a result of their more realistic understanding of the actual fuel economy".

More and more people are becoming aware that diesel cars can offer up to 30% better mileage than equivalent petrol powered cars and are often more frugal than even petrol-electric hybrids. Still, combined sales of diesels and hybrids account for only 5% of the US market but the trend is likely to change soon in the favor of diesels as more carmakers announce plans for a US diesel roll-out.