The Toyota Prius Hybrid
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: You probably wouldn't know it but this is National Alternative Fuel Autos Week. According to a new report Americans bought a record 1.5 million alternative fuel vehicles last year. That's 50 percent more than automakers expected. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, here's Sarah Gardner:

SARAH GARDNER: These alternative fuel cars and trucks accounted for 9 percent of U.S. sales last year.

That included everything from hybrids like the Toyota Prius to cars that can run on ethanol like the 2006 Lincoln Town Car.

Morningstar analyst John Novak believes next year, the numbers should be even bigger.

JOHN NOVAK: The general trend is toward more of these types of vehicles and you're gonna see more and more options from the automakers.

Analysts say high gas prices will fuel production and sales of these cars.

Thad Malesh at Automotive Technology Research Groups expects clean diesel to grow more popular the next few years and automakers will push it.

THAD MALESH: That's the way they can save the sales of these large SUVs and their light-duty pickups. There's a huge profit margin on these large vehicles. The manufacturers are simply not gonna let that go away.

As of last summer, the state of Texas led the nation in alt-fuel vehicles. California was a close second.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner