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SeaTac Drivers Love the Prius & It's Because of Uber

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Image: Dave Schappell

It's probably not a shock to learn that Seattle-area drivers are way ahead of the national average when it comes to hybrid cars. Per Gene Balk, we've got more than double the national average with 5 percent of all vehicles. Balk dug into the census data and Department of Licensing data to find out exactly where around the region we love these cars the most, namely the Prius, the car that defines the eco-friendly, liberal-leaning tendancies of our town. While he found high numbers in the places he expected (Vashon Island, North Seattle), the places where the highest concentration of Prius drivers are found were a bit surprising.

...The ZIP code that ranks No. 1 for the highest rate of Prius ownership is 98188, in SeaTac and Tukwila. The data show there are 414 Priuses for every 10,000 car-owning households, handily beating out the second-highest ZIP code, Seattle's 98115, which includes the Ravenna neighborhood. Well that seems...curious. What gives? Uber, that's what.

"It's very different now from the previous generation of Prius buyers," he said. "I get five to seven customers a week who are Uber drivers from around Tukwila and SeaTac asking about specials on Priuses — and I'm just one of 20 in our sales department." Since Uber incentivizes drivers to get the lowest cost per mile, it makes sense that drivers would invest in a car that keeps their miles-per-gallon down. Priuses can get over 50 mpg when driving in a city.

Per recently-released numbers, there are more than 9,200 Uber and Lyft drivers currently permitted in Seattle.

Balk notes that while the Eastside is a Prius dead zone, it's ahead of the local average when it comes to electric cars, with Sammamish drivers leading the way. It's also where you'll find the most Teslas, with Medina (of course) leading the way for ownership of the luxury electric vehicles.
· Prius hybrid-huggers have unexpected hotbed [FYI]
· How Many Uber & Lyft Drivers Are in Seattle? Over 9,000 [CS]