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As our population increases, it’s imperative that we move toward driving vehicles that have minimal impact on the environment. Car manufacturers have received state and federal mandates that they must comply with to increase mileage while cutting CO2 emissions and reduce their reliance on petroleum-based products while seeking renewable sources of energy to power the vehicles.
To date, all of the major car companies have several hybrid cars on the market that are powered by both gas and renewable energy. Their whisper quiet operation takes some getting used to, instead of the loud revving of the engines in gas powered cars.
The first hybrid car was the Toyota Prius, which was first sold in Japan in 1997, then sales went worldwide in 2000. Like everything else, at first the technology was expensive to produce, but as time has gone on, the price has gone down significantly and made it more accessible to consumers. Now there are over fifty different models of hybrid vehicles sold worldwide. Toyota dominates the market, selling over 60% of the world’s hybrid vehicles.
When the first hybrid vehicles first came out, there was a great deal of concern that they didn’t have enough horsepower to handle fast driving or being able to drive long distances. The advances in the technology have rendered those objections obsolete.
Many major cities such as Los Angeles have switched from diesel-powered buses with truly noxious fumes to buses fueled by compressed natural gas. This reduces pollution, not only when it comes to air quality, but also noise pollution.
Making hybrid and electric cars more accessible is a challenge, however, especially in major cities where they don’t have access to charging stations, such as apartment buildings, or houses without garages. As time goes on and the technology evolves, cleaner energy vehicles will become more accessible to the masses.