Alternative-fuel vehicle sales nearly triple, led by Volt and Prius

VoltSales of alternative fuel vehicles in the U.S. have nearly tripled so far this year over the same period in 2011, led by the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota's Prius. Through September, sales of battery-only vehicles and those with both battery packs and a gasoline engine grew to about 31,400 from 11,094 a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and reported by Business Week.

Sales of the Volt are up four-fold over a year ago, thanks in large part to GM's low lease rates, currently $299 a month.

"I'm utterly surprised people are not lining up to get one at that price," Jesse Toprak, an analyst at TrueCar.com, said in the Business Week story. "The annual fuel savings alone make this car very appealing."

Sales of Toyota's Prius hybrid line doubled to 18,932 last month, while combined sales through September grew to 183,340, surpassing the company's previous full-year record for the gasoline-electric car of 181,221 set in 2007.

In September alone, combined sales of all electric-drive vehicles, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-only autos, expanded 135 percent to 42,314 last month, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.