updated 9/17/2007 6:31:00 PM ET 2007-09-17T22:31:00

U.S. sales of new hybrid vehicles were up 49 percent in the first seven months of this year, due largely to a boom in sales in the Midwest, an auto information and marketing company said Monday.

Oklahoma led all states with a 143 percent increase in registrations of new hybrid cars and trucks compared with January-July 2006, said Southfield-based R.L. Polk & Co. Hawaii was the only state to report a decline.

Polk said Americans registered 215,997 new hybrid vehicles in the 2007 period, compared with 144,721 in the same period of 2006.

Hybrid sales were up 57 percent in the Midwest, the most of any region. The Toyota Prius and the hybrid version of the Toyota Camry were the most popular models there. Hybrid sales rose 52 percent in the West, 49 percent in the Northeast and 42 percent in the South.

Lonnie Miller, director of industry analysis for R.L. Polk, said hybrids are a bright spot in a U.S. market that is otherwise down. Miller predicted total U.S. hybrid sales will exceed 300,000 this year, or more than 2 percent of all sales. U.S. consumers bought 254,545 hybrids in 2006.

Miller said hybrid sales are on the rise because of high gas prices and environmental concerns.

“The data indicates that hybrids have not hit plateau and that there is room for continued growth within the marketplace in all regions,” Miller said in a news release.

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