Worldwide sales of Toyota’s Prius hybrid have passed the 1 million mark, the auto company announced Thursday. The world’s first mass-produced hybrid was introduced in Japan in 1997 and in other markets in 2000. While it was at the time a risky business venture, it didn’t take long for the word Prius — Latin for “to go before” — to become synonymous with popular hybrid technology (and yuppie environmentalism). Nearly 60 percent of the 1.028 million Priuses/Prii/Priora sold have been to customers in North America. Inspired to join the crowd? “This is a special vehicle, and as fuel prices keep rising, it gets more special,” says a Toyota spokesperson. “Right now, U.S. customers can get a Prius. Next month or the month after that, it’s tough to say.”