(Image: AAP/Private Media)

Car sales in Australia have suffered enormously in 2020 -- unless you're selling hybrid vehicles.

The hum of an electric motor is now a familiar one in Australian cities as hybrid engines spread from their incarnation in the Toyota Prius to be available in everything from a Camry to a Cayenne. Sales in the first nine months of the year have doubled, from 20,000 last year to 40,000 this year.

Hybrids still use petrol of course. They're not a long-run solution for a clean energy future. Australia is unusual in the developed world for having no specific incentives to purchase zero-emissions vehicles.