Earlier this week, Toyota announced that it has sold 5 million hybrid vehicles worldwide, with 2 million of them sold in the United States. The most notable hybrid in the Toyota lineup is the Prius, which has become one of the world’s best-selling cars today and is sold in 80 countries and regions. Within the next two years, Toyota plans to release 18 new hybrids, as well as a fuel cell vehicle.
The global fleet of almost 20 hybrid vehicles has resulted in 34 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere than if they were traditional gas-powered vehicles; increased CO2 levels are a leading cause of climate change. Also, the automaker claims its hybrid vehicles have saved customers more than 3 billion gallons of gas.
“With more than 50 hybrid vehicle models from various manufacturers available in the U.S. today, hybrids on the road are saving nearly 500 million gallons of petroleum annually in this country,” said Tony Markel, senior engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in a recent interview.
Collaborative research between these organizations and the automotive industry started the development of the hybrid technology to help cut the nation’s reliance on gas. Toyota and Lexus make up 70 percent of the hybrid vehicle sales in the U.S., and 16 percent of sales for both brands. Currently, the Toyota Camry and Avalon hybrids, as well as the Lexus RX450h, are manufactured in North America, with plans to bring the Toyota Highlander Hybrid into the mix.