Driving Us Crazy
Toyota last week unveiled a spiffy new version of its hybrid gas-electric Prius, which will get better gas mileage (55 miles to the gallon), emit fewer air pollutants, and give passengers more room than previous Prius models. The car will hit showrooms late this year as a 2004 model. Toyota also said it plans to eventually spread its hybrid technology throughout its fleet. But sales of Priuses are dwarfed by those of Toyota SUVs and trucks, which the company is aggressively promoting in the U.S. market. A recent report by Environmental Defense found that carbon dioxide emissions from Toyota’s fleet increased 72 percent during the 1990s, faster than any other automaker’s. “They’re getting all this great green press over the Prius, but their product strategy has moved into trucks big time,” said John DeCicco of Environmental Defense.