Toyota: Goal of 40% Increase in Hybrid Sales for 2007
Reuters reports that Toyota is aiming high with its gas-electric hybrids for 2007: They plan to sell 40% more (430,000 units) than they sold in 2006 (312,500 units, which was 33% more than in 2005). Production of Prius hybrid cars in Japan will go up to 280,000 units. Hybrid vehicle sales for Toyota are growing between 5 and 6 times faster than sales of gasoline-only vehicles and this rate could increase as Toyota announces new hybrid models, but compared to all of Toyota's vehicle sales, hybrids are still only about 5% (more than other companies, but still small -- the atmosphere doesn't care about percentage points, only absolute CO2 emissions matter).
What we would like to see from Toyota and other car makers: More affordable very fuel-efficient and low-emission hybrids, plug-in hybrids, all cars flex fuel so that they can run on cellulosic ethanol when it is available (the fuel sensors required for that are apparently only about $30 - no reason not to include them in all cars), diesel-hybrids with the latest emission technology (to run on biodiesel where available, of course) and, as soon as battery technology is ready, affordable electric-only vehicles. ::Reuters, via ::Toyota Targets 40% Jump in Global Hybrid Sales in ’07
Standard car article advice: Walk, cycle, carpool, take public transit, car-share, telecommute. Try to live close to the things you need and to where you work. But if you have to own a car, get the most efficient model that fills your needs, drive sanely, combine trips, keep it in good mechanical condition and keep your tires properly inflated.