The United States was the world's biggest consumer of new energy vehicles during the first three quarters of 2012, showed a report published on Thursday in south China's Hainan Province.

Some 31,081 such car sales were recorded in the United States in the first nine months of last year, a growth of 179.93 percent from the same period of the previous year, according to the industry report, released at the 2012 Global New Energy Vehicle Conference in Boao City.

The research shows that Japan, the world's second-biggest buyer, saw sales of new energy cars reach 17,513 units during the first three quarters of 2012, up by 103.24 percent from the previous year.

France has witnessed the fastest growth rate in new energy car sales, and the country sold 4,451 of the vehicles during the period covered, a growth of 211.69 percent from that of 2011.

The report points out that this sector is still in its infancy, a situation which requires more government support and the creativity of auto-makers to provide more choices for the consumers.

During the conference, a separate report by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has indicated that the new energy car industry faces a sluggish market in China, as only 8,159 of the vehicles were sold in the country in 2011. This was less than 0.04 percent of its total car sales.

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